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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.