Auction Update Review


A Busy Spring becomes a Busy Summer

For the week ending Saturday June 9th, 2012 15 auctions were archived; 4 denominated in US dollars, 1 in British pounds and 10 in euros.  Ten thousand three hundred and thirteen lots were offered and 6,876 sold for a 67% success rate.  Total turnover was $4,553,276, sixty percent of the aggregate high estimate of all lots offered.  The spring marathon continues but there is a sense of shallow breathing.


One sale reached 100% of the total of their high lot estimates:


Bruun Rasmussen.  Books and Manuscripts on June 6th:  129%


No sales breached the one million dollar level.


Four sales sold at least 80% of their lots:


Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books Internet bidstart May 31st and ended June 7th:  98%

Bruun Rasmussen.  Books and Manuscripts on June2 6th:  93%

Swann Galleries.  Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, and Ephemera on June 7th:  88%

Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan.  Prints and Illustrated Books on June 1st:  85%


The market is healthy but the mood somewhat somber.  Spain is preparing to step back from the brink of default with a 100 billion euro package from the EU, the Greeks are casting ballots on Tuesday in what is widely viewed as a second referendum on EU participation, and the Chinese government this past week lowered bank rates to stimulate economic activity.  Meanwhile the failure of the recall vote in Wisconsin has people wondering about the benefits of tea.  It turns out that auction sales of books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera are altogether a trailing indicator and they are walking close behind elephants that recently had a hearty meal.


For the week ahead 21 sales are scheduled:


Monday June 11th Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics [81].  4,868 lots


Tuesday June 12th    Bonhams.  Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photos [20137].  164 lots

                                    Christie’s.  Masterworks of Italian Photography 1945-1975 from the Collection of Paolo Morello [4225].
  150 lots

                                    Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots


Wed. June 13th         Christie’s.  Books [5334].  219 lots

                                      Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots

                                    Rupert Toovey and Co.  Prints [1047].  9 lots


Thurs.  June 14th      Ader.  Letters and Manuscripts, Autographs, Collection of E. H. and diverses [18348].  328 items

                            Books – internet bidstart 6-7 [19].

                                    Bloomsbury Auctions.  Books and Manuscripts [35931].  728 lots

                                    Gonnelli Casa d’ Aste.  Prints [483].                                         

                                    Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books – internet bidstart 6-8 [201224]

                                    Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots

                                    Swann Galleries.  American Art / Contemporary Art [2281].  282 items


Friday June 15th        Gonnelli Casa d’ Aste.  Photographs [487].

                                    Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts [NO8864].  195 lots

                                    The Romantic Agony.  Books [48a].  593 lots


Saturday June 16th   Clars Auction Gallery.  Art and German Literature Books [61612]

                                    The Romantic Agony.  Books [48b]


Sunday June 17th     Bonhams.  Period Art and Design [20110]

                                    Clars Auction Gallery.  Art and German Literature Books continuing [61612].


Sailing deeper into summer the sales continue unabated.  Every year, for the next ten, the volume of lots will increase.  This summer seems unusual but it simply reflects the new normal.


Bruce McKinney


June 10th, 2012

  • <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
  • <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>