Auction Update Review


The Auctions in High Cotton

Heading into the holidays auction houses around the world are completing their final sales ahead of the winter solstice.  This week twenty-three sales were archived:  thirteen in Euros, five each in British Pounds and US dollars.  Total turnover was a respectable $11,094,596 or 89% against an aggregate high estimate of $12,521,567 – a strong if not stellar performance given this is the crescendo of the season.  December, when auction realizations often explode, sets the table for the spring session and the year ahead.  This year the auction houses have labored under the twin constraints of international financial uncertainty and the ever-closer drumbeat of retiring dealers who are slowing their buying and sooner or later, will be consigning to the rooms.


For the week 14,562 lots were offered and 10,152 sold for a 70% success rate.


The following sales reached or exceeded 100% of their aggregate high estimates.


Piasa.  Autographs on December 6th:  168%

Piasa.  Modern Prints – Henri M. Petiet Prints and Manuscripts on December 8th:  128%

Ferraton.  Books, Manuscripts and Books on December 2nd:  119% 

Osenat.  The French Empire in Fontainbleau on December 4th:  113%

Keys Fine Arts.  Books Day 2 on December 2nd:  107%


Three sales had turnover of more than a million dollars:


Sotheby’s.  Western and Oriental Manuscripts on December 6th:  $1,548,039

Christie’s.  Prints on December 7th:  $1,138,375

Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan.  Prints and Illustrated Books on December 6th:  $1,021,614


The following sales are scheduled over the next nine days:


December 12th Alde.  Library of Amateur from Lyon (17899)


December 13th          Ader.  Autographs et Manuscripts (11571)

                                    Alde.  Ancient and Modern Books (17320)

                                    Mealy’s Auctioneers.  Important Irish & English Literature, Manuscripts & Maps (121311)

                                    Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts (N08811)

                                    Swann Galleries.  Important Photobooks & Photographs (2265)


December 14th          Bloomsbury Auctions.  Books, Autographs and Prints (ROMA-68)

                                    Bloomsbury Auctions.  Books, Manuscript, Maps and Works on Paper (35863)

                                    Bonhams.  Entertainment Memorabilia including Animation Art (19431)
Dominic Winter Book Auctions.  Books and Maps (12142011)

                                    Mealy’s Auctioneers.  Important Irish & English Literature, Manuscripts & Maps (121311)



December 15th          Alde.  Autograph letters and Manuscripts, Music (17321)

                                    Bonhams.  Fine Books and Manuscripts (19427)

                                    Dominic Winter.  Children’s Winter Book Auctions (12152011)

                                    PBA Galleries.  Americana – Travel – Cartography (469)

                                    Profiles in History.  Icons of Hollywood (121511)

                                    Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History, Children’s Books (NO8812)

                                    Swann Galleries.  The Complete Poster Works of Roger Broders (2266)


December 16th          Christie’s.  The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor:  Fine and Decorative  Art & Film
 Memorabilia, including costumes (2634)
Profiles in History.  Icons of Hollywood (121511)


December 17th          Christie’s.  The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor:  [online auction) (23616)
Profiles in History.  Icons of Hollywood (121511)           


December 19th          Christie’s.  Photographs (2495)

                                    Christie’s.  Photographs (2524)


December 21st           Dorotheum.    Books and Decorative Prints (12111)


Best wishes,


Bruce McKinney


  • <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