Auction Update Review


Green Shoots

In an auction season that will confirm or cast doubt on the prospect for a traditional recovery all eyes this fall are upon the fortunes of the important auctions and dealers.  It is certain that doubts have been expressed before and as certain that the market has in time always healed, then advancing to higher highs.  This is the way it has been for as long as anyone can remember.   


This past week the Caren Sale of historically important materials in print laid down the first hash marks.  Swann held the sale and the results were remarkable.  While it’s only one event it’s a good beginning.  Between now and year’s end there will be close to two hundred sales.  For a few years it has felt like we’re in our own end zone.   The Caren sale places us mid-field, an encouraging start.


For the week 11 sales were reported, two in British Pounds, one in Euros and eight in dollars.  Turnover for the week was $3,453,387, 78% of the aggregate high estimate of $4,440,031.  Three thousand five hundred and twenty-three lots were offered and 2,864 sold for a robust 81% success rate.  This suggests estimates and enthusiasm were well matched.


Two sales reached or exceeded 100% of their aggregate high estimates:


Doyle New York, on September 13th, deftly sold books from the estate of Douglas Fairbanks.  The swashbuckling Fairbanks’ books carried an aggregate high estimate of $153,000 and brought $228,648 – 147%


Dorotheum continued their strong run reaching 103% of the aggregate high estimate for their sale of modern prints on September 12th.


For the week ahead the following sales are scheduled:


Monday Sept 19th     Christies:  Palais Abbatial de Royaumont;


Tuesday Sept 20th    Christies:  Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints including Property from the Estate of Ernst Beyeler;

                                      Christies:  Palais Abbatial de Royaumont continued;


Wed.  Sept 21st  Christies:  Old Masters, Modern and Contemporary Prints;

                                      Christies:  Palais Abbatial de Royaumont completing;

                                      Dominic Winter Book Auctions:  Printed Books & Maps, etc;


Thurs.  Sept 22nd     Bloomsbury Auctions:  Cookery, Gardening, Agriculture and Social History:  A Private Library;

                                    Freeman’s:  Fine Books and Ephemera;

                                    PBA Galleries:  Fine Literature;


Friday Sept 23rd      Alde:  Ancient and Modern Books – XIX century;

                                    Ferraton:  Books;

                                    Galerie Koller Auctions:  Old Master Prints, Books [A158]; 
Kapandji Morhange:  Classic Sale;


Saturday Sept 24th   Ferraton:  Books;
Galleries Bassenge:  The Estate of the Artist Christian Theunert [98a];
Gallerie Bassenge:  Architektural Photography [98b];
Galerie Bassange:  Photobooks [98c]

                                    Galerie Koller Auctions:  Old Master Prints, Books [A158];
Morton Casa de Subastas:  Books, Documents and Engravings [608];

Sept 25th    Bonhams:  Books and Manuscripts [19256]


All in all it was an encouraging week and looking forward, a busy week upcoming.


Bruce McKinney


18 September 2011


  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500