Auction Preview: Two Sales by Swann Auction Galleries

- by Thomas C. McKinney


The fall is historically a busy time for the auction industry, and October finds Swann Auction Galleries in the heat of it. With five auctions upcoming this month for them, we’ll be taking a look at two that pertain particularly to books, maps, and ephemera. Taking place the day this month’s AE Monthly releases, October 1, Art, Press & Illustrated Books begins bidding at 1:30pm EDT. The second sale, Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books, is scheduled for October 21 at 1:30pm EDT. Bidding for both sales is available in person, over the phone, and online.

With approximately ten and a half hours from the time of AE Monthly’s mailing (around midnight PDT) to the auction beginning for Art, Press & Illustrated Books, let’s get right into it. Here are some examples of what you’ll find for sale:

  • Lots 40-46, works by Marc Chagall, including the six volume The Lithographs 1922-1974. Lot 45, estimated $3,500-5,000.

  • Lots 65-74, works by Salvador Dali, including a first edition, number 20 of 25 numbered copies with two additional suites of plates of Pages choisies de Don Quichotte de la Manche. Lot 70, estimated $25,000-35,000.

  • Lots 187-192, works by Henri Matisse, including a limited edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses illustrated and signed by Matisse. Lot 191, estimated $3,000-4,000.

  • Lots 211-214, works by Pablo Picasso, including Jaime Sabartes’ Toreros containing 4 lithographed plates by Picasso, one in color. Lot 213, estimated $3,000-4,000.

The entire catalogue of Art, Press & Illustrated Books is available online at Swann’s website where you may also register if you wish to bid online.

The second sale mentioned previously is Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books, occurring on October 21. Here are some of the high profile lots included within it:

  • Lot 16, Single leaf from a paper copy of the 42-line Bible, circa 1450-55. This is a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible! It is hinged in a copy of A. Edward Newton’s A Noble Fragment; being, A Lead of the Gutenberg Bible, 1450-1455, with a Bibliographical Essay. Estimated $40,000-50,000.

  • Lot 29, Missale Leodie[n]sis ecclesie, 1502. Full-page woodcut of the Crucifixion at the beginning of the Canon of the Mass. Estimated $15,000-25,000.

  • Lot 262, Galileo Galilei’s Systema cosmicum . . . in quo quatuor dialogis de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico & Copernicano . . . disseritur, 1635. This is the first edition in latin of Galileo’s 1632 dialogue proving the validity of the Copernican heliocentric theory. Estimated $15,000-20,000.

  • Lot 324, Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica . . . Editio tertia aucta & emendata, 1726. Features an engraved frontispiece of Newton by George Vertue after Vanderbank. Estimated $8,000-12,000.

  • Lot 240, Georg Agricola’s De re metallica, 1556. Contains nearly 270 woodcut text illustrations. This is the first edition of the first systematic treatise on mining and metallurgy.

The entire catalogue of Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books is available on Swann’s website where you may also register if you wish to bid online.