Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2015 Issue

Sotheby’s Fine Books and Manuscripts on 19 June in New York

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Most, if not all, auction houses have general and subject sales.  A subject sale has one or more focus; general sales include material across a spectrum of categories and subjects.  Subject sales excite more interest but occasionally general sales shift into a higher gear to focus on high points.  In the upcoming Sotheby’s sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts we have a general sale with many of the highest points in the printed works pantheon.

 

Here is how Sotheby’s briefly describes the sale:

 

Our 19 June sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana will feature incunabula from the Jewish Theological Seminary, including a complete Book of Esther from the Gutenberg Bible, 1455. Americana includes a very fine contemporary broadside of the Declaration of Independence, a rare first book printing of the Declaration and a very desirable copy of Williams’s Bloudy Tenent, 1644, the first copy to appear on the market since 1984. Other highlights are Edwin Booth’s copy of Shakespeare’s Second Folio, 1632, and a collection of 5 original gouaches by Bemelmans for his Madeleine series.

 

As sales go it’s a small sale.  Merely 151 lots but the numbers quickly explode.  Twelve lots have high estimates of at least $100,000 that together total $4,910,000.  The first lot is 8 leaves comprising the entire Book of Esther from the Gutenberg Bible with a high estimate of $700,000.  Other religious lots dominate the first part of the sale.  At lot 40 we have the opportunity to invest in a first edition of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.  It’s a good book, actually 3 volumes, with a high estimate of $120,000.

 

In this kind of company it’s impossible to leave Shakespeare out.  Unfortunately his entry is an association copy of a great book forever connected indirectly to the type of character the man himself might have described as “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain.”  This is lot 85, Edwin Booth’s copy of a 1632 Second Folio.  His brother was John Wilkes Booth.

 

Number 99 is a sammelband relating to the American Revolution including the first book printing of the Declaration of Independence.  The high estimate is $500,000.

 

For they who have not yet spent their money lot 100 will test your means and your desires.  It is the king, queen and prince of the sale, a very early printing of the Declaration of Independence for Massachusetts.  The high estimate is $2,000,000.

 

One cannot have a serious sale and fail to include Benjamin Franklin.  His entry, lot 105, is a letter he wrote in 1787 to a dear friend – detailing the thus and sundries of revolutionary and everyday life.  The high estimate is $120,000.

 

Of course, where Franklin goes, Jefferson is sure to follow.  Lot 117 is estimated to a high of $120,000.  It’s his signed personal copy of the 1791 first edition of the United States Census.

 

Washington weighs in with lots 144 and 145, both of which breach the $100,000 level.  Washington’s hand is child-like but his written documents bring significant money.

 

The last of the lots estimated to reach $100,000 is Roger Williams’ The Bloudy Tenent, lot 150 and printed in Cambridge in 1644.  This is very early, one of the first books printed in British America.  

 

There is of course much more.  Greta Garbo is the subject of lot 48, lot 77 Louis Pasteur on the subject of rabies and lot 124 a signed carte-de-visite photograph of Lincoln.  But these lots and more than 130 others are left flailing in the shallow water, they all solid, noteworthy and serious but not quite reaching the six figure level.  You can of course change this.  There are many serious candidates.

 

Here is a link to the sale.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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