Auction Update Review

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Breaking for Home

The martini shakers and brandy snifters are out, feet are up on desks and reservations, long ago made, are now about to be cashed.  It is that moment once again to celebrate getting through the season and to escape for a few weeks the bang and din of combat.  This year the fight is more pitched than usual because forces, larger than the market, by chance and on purpose, turn auction lots into mineshaft canaries – anxiously observed as harbingers of the season coming.

 

The news is mostly good although rampant austerity now grips the land.  The effects of the decline in 2008 that many hoped were temporary now seem embedded in collective thinking.  The field perseveres on a diet of beer rather than champagne.

 

Inveterate collectors and institutions continue their steady pursuit while dealers buy less on speculation.  The material, at many levels, is superb but the eyes to see are sometimes clouded by the rat-ta-tat of increasing lot volume, the apparent tapering of sales on listing sites, the aging of collectors and the sundry personal uncertainties that economic downturns randomly expose.  It is difficult to pull the trigger at the very time greater visibility and research tools are bringing more exceptional material to light.

 

For the week twenty-two auctions were archived; eleven denominated in dollars, five in British Pounds, five in Euros and one in Swiss Francs.  Seven thousand nine hundred and forty-five lots were offered and five thousand three hundred and forty-four sold for a 67% success rate.  The sales, befitting a market peaking into the holiday shut down, were robust:  $18,594,981 against the aggregate high estimate of all lots offered:  $19,435,979 or 96%.  Sotheby’s as is their December tradition, dominated the results with two sales, together 512 lots, which raised $10,103,642.

 

For the week six sales reached or exceeded 100% of the total of their high estimates:

 

Ader.  Autographs and Manuscripts on December 13th:  207%

Alde.  Library of an Amateur from Lyon on December 14th:  203%

Dorotheum.  Autographs on December 9th:  167%

Ader.  Juidaica, Paintings, Sculptures, Liturgical Objects, Books:  135%

Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts on December 13th:  112%

Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History, Children’s Books on December 15th:  103%

 

The following sales reached or exceeded one million dollars in total receipts:

 

Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts on December 13th:  $7,403,638

Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History, and Children’s Books on December 15th:  $2,700,004

Galeries Koller.  Modern Prints on December 9th:  $1,443,511

Swann Galleries.  Photographs on December 13th:  $1,048,132

 

For the holiday shorted week 5 sales are scheduled

 

Monday December 19th       Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan.  Photos and Graphics (17714) Christie’s.  Photographs (2495)
Christie’s.  Photographs (2542)
Cowan’s.  Online American History ending (243)

 

Wednesday December 21st Dorotheum.   Books and Decorative Prints (9169)

 

To all who have a holiday to celebrate or simply enjoy the time away from the bustle of daily life we wish you the very best for these fleeting moments and for the year ahead.

 

We ourselves will be away next week and will resume these weekly notes on January 1st.

 

Bruce McKinney

AE

  • <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
  • <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