Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

Don Heald: A Perspective

Discussions

Donald Heald [left], Jeremy Markowitz [right]

With all this in mind, and on short notice when recently in New York, I called Donald and asked if I could come by.  “Absolutely,” and a time was appointed.  Arriving at a stylish [Georgian] brownstone on the Upper East Side, I was buzzed into the world of Donald Heald, a private club setting where books long ago declared themselves masters of the house.  Around them, Jeremy Markowitz, right hand man and whet to Donald’s blade, brought me up to Donald’s office, the entire second level where the old man, like a bee in late spring honeysuckle, was ensconced in a library a king could wish his own.

Reminding Donald of our conversation years before, he began by asking a few questions about my collecting and then launched into a journey through the collecting of important books, gracefully interweaving my interest, Hudson Valley material, that he had in stock.  When books touching my focus chanced among his exceptional copies of exceptional books, he seamlessly slipped them in: condition rarities, association copies, and in one case, a terribly special large paper pre-press copy of Bartlett’s American Scenery (an otherwise very nice and quite common two volume set). His copy struck me as a lightning rod of discernment, a stellar example, a metaphor for the Heald approach to collecting, a one of a kind.

The conversation veered toward condition, and books came down in piles to illustrate differences, relevance to collecting subjects, the depth of color, the width of margins, exceptional bindings, and provenance, the explanations seemed both clear and logical, from my own experience differences difficult to discern in the perpetual twilight of dealer and auction descriptions.  Copies on specific and often special papers, their stories and a copy's importance, how it fits, and why  - altogether suggest the complex alchemy of a collection that will be crucial when in future, these books, today inhaled, become the coherent collection disgorged. Books always return to the market, if not quickly, then a generation or two later, when even libraries tire of the burden.  And when they do, these logically connected, best, and unique copies, if the architect has done their job, will be prized —for as the market affirms year after year, the best do best:  in a nutshell, the Heald perspective.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.

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