• <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>Winter in der Schweiz,</i> 1921. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Evelyn Rumsey Carey, <i>Pan American Exposition / Niagara / Buffalo,</i> 1901. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Arnost Hofbauer, <i>Topicuv Salon,</i> 1898. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Job,</i> 1896. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Georges de Feure, <i>Le Journal des Ventes,</i> 1898. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Cycles Perfecta,</i> 1897. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Edward Penfield, <i>Orient Cycles / Lead the Leaders,</i> circa 1895. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Adrien Barrère, <i>L’Ideal du Touriste,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Willem Frederick Ten Broek, <i>New York / Wereldtentoonselling / Holland – Amerika Lijn,</i> 1938. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Dwight Clark Shepler, <i>Sun Valley / Union Pacific.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Sascha Maurer, <i>Flexible Flyer Splitkein / Smuggler’s Notch,</i> circa 1935. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Louis Bonhajo, <i>Vote / League of Women Voters,</i> 1920. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Abraham Lincoln Endorsement Signed, March 16, 1865. Framed with a lithograph of Lincoln by Dwight C. Sturges.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Thomas Edison Stunning Signed Portrait.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Franz Liszt Signed Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Subscription for Portraits of the Presidents Signed by J. Q. Adams, Polk, Jackson, Buchanan, and Writers Dickens, Bryant and More!
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Vinson Supreme Court Signed Presentation Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Collection of Three Financial Items.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Rare Sigmund Freud ALS Related to Sexual Issues.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> New York Yankees team signed baseball c.1937 including Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Gomez and others.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Salvador Dali Original Drawing in <i>Dali</i> by David Larkin.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Charles Wilson Peale, Association Miniature of Dr. Ebenezer Crosby after Charles Willson Peale. Gouache on ivory miniature attributed to Peale.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> William McKinley Signed Oversize Photograph Incredible 20"x24".
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Margaret Mitchell Signed <i>Gone With The Wind</i> -- First Edition.
  • <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Measure for Measure</i> (extracted from the First Folio). London, 1623. Sold for $52,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $47,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams: </b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. Sold for $43,825.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $1,912.50.
    <b><center>Bonhams<br>Consignments invited (2020)</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. Sold for $150,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. Sold for $15,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. Sold for $175,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. Sold for $131,325.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> BOOLE, GEORGE. <i>An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.</i> London, 1854. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHANNON, CLAUDE and WARREN WEAVER. <i>The Mathematical Theory of Communication.</i> Urbana, 1949. Sold for $27,575.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2012 Issue

Is Top Book Auction Price for 2012 about to be Revealed?

Audbirdchris2012

From Audubon's Birds of America.

Even as we close out the Top 500 auction prices from the book world for 2011 (see article in this month's issue of AE Monthly), we may already have a preview of number 1 for 2012. Of course we don't know what may yet appear with the full year still ahead, but barely three weeks into the new year, an item will be hammered down for likely three to four times the highest price paid in 2011, maybe more. At least, that's what we can expect if estimates, and past history, are any guide.

On January 20, Christie's will be auctioning a copy of the most expensive printed book to ever be sold at auction, the double elephant folio edition of John James Audubon's Birds of America. It is an absolutely spectacular book, even more a work of art than a book of science, though that was its primary role when published in the first half of the 19th century. Audubon was a great artist, not an impressionist or abstract painter, but a master at reproducing birds in great and accurate detail. In the 1820s, he put together a plan to draw the birds of America. He set out to finding specimens to paint. He sought out publishers in New York and Philadelphia, and when this failed, located one in London. Audubon determined to present his images life size where possible, necessitating the large, double elephant folio size of this work. Ultimately, that would make it so expensive he could not make any money. Audubon did not achieve financial success until he later reprinted his work in the smaller, less expensive octavo size that was within the financial means of many more potential customers. However, that is a story for later, not today.

Audubon went out and drummed up a list of pre-publication subscribers. He realized this would take a long time to complete, estimating 14 years. So, he determined to send out his printed drawings in installments. The buyer would collect the pages as they arrived, and bind them in a book once received. This process went on for years, though it completed a little earlier than Audubon estimated. The printing began in 1827, and was completed in 1838. At the end, he was still broke, but as noted earlier, he would make his fortune in the 1840s after releasing the smaller edition.

Interestingly, Birds of America is not a particularly rare book. There are books you can buy for a few hundred dollars, maybe less, with only a tiny percentage of the number of copies known to exist as there are of the Birds. There were 161 subscribers to the set, but Audubon undoubtedly printed some extras. There are estimates that around 200 copies were probably printed. Most are still around, though many were either broken up of are missing parts. In 1973, Susan Low did an inventory of the known copies of the double elephant folio edition and located 119 complete copies, 108 in institutions, and 11 in private hands. Those numbers have changed little since. With the discovery of one more copy, there are now known to be 107 copies in institutions, and 13 in private hands. Since 1973, 24 copies have been sold at auction, but 14 were sold sheet by sheet, many lacking some of the plates, and another was missing a volume.

This edition has twice set the record for the highest price ever paid for a printed book at auction. In 2000, Christie's put up the copy of original subscriber George Lane Fox. This is the one that had escaped Susan Low's 1973 inventory (she described it as missing). Against an estimate of $3-$4 million, it sold for $8,802,500. It was a record at the time. However, in 2010, Sotheby's, as part of the sale of Lord Hesketh's library, offered another copy of the first edition. This copy had belonged to the eleventh subscriber, Henry Witham. Lord Hesketh purchased it in the 1950s (when it was still somewhat affordable) for £7000. Against Sotheby's estimate of £4-6 million, it sold for £7,321,250, or around $11.5 million in U.S. dollars. That, too, was a record for a printed book. In between these auctions, the Providence Athenaeum copy sold at Christie's in 2005 for a “mere” $5,616,000.

The copy to be sold by Christie's this month, it is believed, once belonged to William Henry Cavdendish, the Fourth Duke of Portland. The earliest bookplate is that of the Sixth Duke, so it is possible it was the Fifth or Sixth Duke who originally brought it into the family, but it is believed to have started with the Fourth. He was not a subscriber, but is believed to have purchased a bound copy sometime after the work was completed in 1838. If it did belong to the Fourth Duke, he would have purchased it no later than 1854, as that is when he died.

Will this latest copy to be offered fly past the high estimate, as the previous record holders did, to set a new record, or will nervous economic times hold its price down? Stay tuned. We will know soon enough.

If you wish to compete for this book, you can find all of the details on Christie's website by clicking this link.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Signed Abraham Lincoln Civil War era document appointing Green Clay of Kentucky as Secretary of the Legation of the United States at St. Petersburg, Russia, July 15, 1861. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Bambi (1942) animation cel, inscribed Walt Disney's Bambi and signed Walt Disney. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Snow White animation cel, with Walt Disney signature on mat, lower right. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Civil Rights Era Archive relating to U.S. Deputy Marshal Dick Bagby (1933-2003) of Dallas, TX, including letters from President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General. $1,400 to $1,800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson autograph letter, unsigned, regarding a special presentation cane sent via General John Moore McCalla to Gov. George Breathitt of Kentucky. January 18th, 1833. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Four (4) Presidential signed 17th/18th Century Books - two signed by Millard Fillmore, and two signed by James Buchanan. $1,000 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson signed military commission document conferring on George Washington McLean the rank of Second Lieutenant of Marines. Signed January 4, 1834. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Three (3) Southern Maps, including two (2) Antonio Zatta 1778, one (1) South Carolina 1796. $600 to $800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Black Forest German Forestry Apprenticeship Certificate issued to Carl Heshel by Von Fahnenburg, the Forest Master from the Royal District, February 1, 1824. $500 to $550.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Harper Lee, <i>TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,</i> signed 40th anniversary edition. NY: HarperCollins, 1999. $300 to $350.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Archive of twenty-five (25) items related to the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Sixteen (16) 20th Century Celebrity Autographed Books, including Paul Newman, A. E. Hotcher, Leonard Bernstein, Clint Eastwood, Norman Rockwell, Groucho Marx, Johnny Cash, and more. $300 to $350.
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> <i>Byblia in vulgar ultimamente impressa,</i> illustrated, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Milio (Agostino). <i>Nuovo dialogo delle devozioni del sacro monte della Verna,</i> FIRST and ONLY EDITION, illustrated, 4to, Stamperia Ducale, Florence, 1568. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> First English edition, NUMBER 23 OF 2000 COPIES, , 4to, Egoist Press, Paris, 1922. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Dumas (Marlene). <i>Doornrosie,</i> lithograph printed in colours, signed, 370 x 440 mm, 1989. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Japanese Culture.- Kimbei (Kusakabe). Two albums of hand tinted albumen prints, each with 50 photos, each photo c.140 x 95mm, [late 19th century]. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Miró (Joan) ARR. <i>Personnages sur Fond Noir,</i> NUMBER 38 OF 75 COPIES, lithograph, signed and dated, 305 x 445mm, 1948. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Ray (Man). Autoportrait, photolithograph, initialled and inscribed by artist, ONE of 100 COPIES, 200 x 160mm, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Wou-Ki (Zao). L'tang / The Pond, etching aquatint, number 2 of 3 only, signed by artist, 260 x 230 mm, Paris, Editions Galanis, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Autographs & Memorabilia<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> De Amicis (Edmondo). Postcards signed by Italian author and journalist Edmondo De Amicis, February 1897- August 1907. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Live Aid.- Live Aid 1985 souvenir programme, signed by Bob Geldof, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Freddie Mercury, and others, 1985-1991. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. Black and white, landscape photograph ft. all the Heads of Government of the British Commonwealth who attended the 1944 Prime Ministers' Conference in London, signed by all.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Walt Disney Production.- Dopey, original animation cel from Snow White approx. 180 x 180mm., Walt Disney Enterprises, 1937. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Liszt (Franz). Carte-de-visite photograph by J.Ganz of Brussels of Franz Liszt, signed, 10 x 6.4cm, c. 1880. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Fermi (Enrico). Autograph letter signed to Professor Tullio Levi Civita, 8vo, Florence, 9 May 1925; w/an autograph note from Professor Civita, 7 March 1934 (2). £1,800 to £2,200.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> [Paine, Thomas]. Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America… Philadelphia: R. Bell, 1776. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Autograph letter signed, to Joshua Reed Giddings, 21 May 1860. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Oakley, Annie. <i>A Brief Sketch of Her Career and Notes on Shooting.</i> [N.p.]: ca. 1913, Signed. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Washington, George. One autograph letter signed & 3 letters signed to General Alexander McDougall, September 1777. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Mather, Cotton. <i>The Wonders of the Invisible World. Being an account of the tryals of several witches...</i> London: 1693. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> James, Benjamin.<i><br>A Treatise on the Management of the Teeth.</i> Boston, 1814. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Astronomical manuscript.- Kalendarium cum Tabulis Astronomicis; and other astronomical texts, [?Northern Italy (possibly Verona or Bologna), c.1470]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Melville (Herman). <i>Moby-Dick; or The Whale,</i> first American edition, New York, 1851. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Malta.- Binding.- Sovereign Military Order of Malta.- <i>Gli Statuti della Sacra Religione di S. Gio: Gierosolomitano…</i> Rome, Giacomo Tornieri and Giacomo Ruffinello, 1589. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Britain.- Jansson (Jan). <i>Novus atlas, sive theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> vol.4 only [Britain and Ireland], 56 double-page engraved maps, Amsterdam, 1659. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,</i> second (first published) edition, 1866; and 2 others from the series. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>Novelas Exemplares,</i> rare at auction, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1615. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). Printed programme for the New College School, Oxford, production of The Hobbit, signed by Tolkien, 1967. £4,500 to £5,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Thucydides. <i>The hystory, writtone by Thucidides the Athenyan, of the warre, whiche was betwene the Peloponesians and the Athenyans,</i> first edition in English, 1550. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Wesley (John). Autograph Letter signed "My Dear Sister [?Mary Stokes], exhorting her to write more often and dealing with her problems, 1773. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Leaf from an illuminated book of hours with the Four Evangelists, illuminated by the workshop, or a close follower of the Maître de l'Échevinage. Northern France (possibly Rouen), c.1480. £2,000 to £3,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions