Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2015 Issue

Western Americana: Bonhams Delivers the Goods in February

Select items from Bonhams' Feb. 9th sale of western Americana

Coinciding with the 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair taking place the same week, Bonhams is hosting an auction containing 151 lots of Important Western Americana: Property of a Collector in California on Monday, February 9th, 2015. Both events are taking place in San Francisco. With important works on western exploration, as well as the Gold Rush and Native Americans, this is a can’t miss sale for collectors and dealers focused on western Americana.

The sale opens with a significant amount of texts on the discovery of California, and the material ranges from the extremely rare and possibly worth over $100,000, to a less wallet-impacting $10,000 and under. Lot 3, Miguel Costanso’s Diario Histórico de los viages de mar, y tierra hechos al norte de la California… (est. $80,000-120,000), known as the suppressed report of the Portolá Expedition, is considered one of, if not the rarest of all known Californiana. The text contains details of the first exploration of Northern California by land and includes the discovery of San Francisco Bay. Another important Portolan item is also for sale. Lot 2, Estracto de noticias de Puerto de Monterrey…, attributed to Gaspar de Portolá himself (est. $30,000-50,000), is the first printed account of the founding of Monterey, itself the first European settlement in Northern California.

In terms of somewhat less expensive items, lot 1 is an interesting lot, especially for collectors of California maps. Miguel Venegas’ Noticia de la California, y de su conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente… (est. $8,000-12,000), is the first edition and first issue of the first history of California. While the text is mainly composed of information from Venegas’ 1739 work, this printing contains four maps of particular value. 

Other significant, standout items are numerous and varied. At Lot 6, the first printed laws of California are available as Felipe de Neve’s Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias… (est. $120,000-180,000). The copy included in the sale is a fine copy of the first edition and is extremely rare. These laws were the groundwork for California law until American occupation. Lot 18 lists James O. Pattie’s The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie of Kentucky, during an Expedition from St. Louis… (est. $30,000-50,000), being the first printed narrative of an overland expedition to California. And under lot 99, John Woodhouse Audubon, son of John James, is represented with his Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California (est. $80,000-120,000), including four hand-colored lithographed plates.

For material related to the California Gold Rush, Bonhams has highlighted several items in the sale’s press release. Lot 45, a Letter Signed by Johann August Sutter to John C. Fremont (est. $15,000-25,000), discusses the use of Sutter’s Fort during California’s annexation and was written less than a year prior to the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. Lot 50, J. Ely Sherwood’s California: Her Wealth and Resources; With Many Interesting Facts Respecting the Climate and People… (est. $15,000-25,000), is a rare first edition of one of the first publications on the discovery of gold and served as a guide for prospectors. One of the most fascinating items related to this period is lot 111. A nine-page manuscript, entitled “My Experiences as a Gold Digger” written by a man named Bret Harte (est. $10,000-15,000), is a gem of a firsthand account of what it was like during the Gold Rush.

As was said in the opening paragraph, material pertaining to western Native Americans are also a significant draw for the sale. Karl Bodmer, the renowned and important artist known for his depictions of the West, has a set of individual plates originating from the atlas that accompanies Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied’s Travels in the Interior of North America from 1841. They are available as lots 21 through 26, varying in estimate from $1,000-2,000 to $20,000-30,000. Additionally, George Catlin’s O-Kee-Pa: A Religious Ceremony; and Other Customs of the Mandans (est. $10,000-15,000), an account of his firsthand perspective of the Mandan ritual, is available as lot 143.

All in all, Important Western Americana: Property of a Collector in California looks to be a successful and important sale for western Americana. The entire sale’s catalogue may be viewed on Bonham’s website. To register, please follow the link available in the top left quadrant of the catalogue’s page.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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