Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2017 Issue

July at Forum Auctions: Two sales in 10 days, two more on deck

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Historically a quieter time of year in the book business, London-headquartered auction house Forum Auctions is bucking the trend by keeping the summer packed with sales: four in July, and two more in August. On offer this month is:

  1. An online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper, active now through July 5th.
  2. A traditional sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper in London on July 10th.
  3. A Forum Auctions Italy online sale of Libri Antichi e Rari ending July 13th.
  4. An online sale of Books and Works on Paper ending July 20th.

Catalogs are currently live online for the first two sales (hyperlinked above) and I’ll highlight a few lots from each below.

Beginning with the online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper, this specialist sale dedicated to the game of cricket contains 83 lots headlined by three of John Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack, a publication the professional cricketer launched the year after he retired in 1863. Lots 80-82 are single years of Wisden’s Almanack—1896 (estimated £15,000 to £20,000), 1869 (estimated £10,000 to £15,000), and 1916 (estimated £5,000 to £6,000). These are evidently big deals in the cricketing world. An additional highlight of the sale is a complete run of Cricket Scores and Biographies of Celebrated Cricketers, vols. 1 through 16, and dating from 1862 to 2003. The set is estimated £750 to £1,000 as lot 34.

Online sales often are made online-only because of a smaller scope and/or lower overall estimates (they are after all cheaper than putting on a full-fledged live auction), but Forum’s second book sale of July, Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper, is deservedly a live sale. Topping the estimates for the 475-lot sale are four lots from varying combinations of the Brontë sisters. Lot 335, estimated £60,000 to £80,000 is a three-volume set of 1847 first editions of Emily and Anne Brontë’s first novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey respectively. A stated two hundred and fifty copies were printed of these first editions, and Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only published novel as she died the following year.

Perhaps the most valuable single volume in the sale, lot 330, belongs to all three Brontë sisters, who in 1846 published their Poems, a collection of 61 poems, under their pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, respectively). The copy here is the first issue of the first edition of the first publication by any of the Brontës. The rarity of the book in this state is impressive: a thousand were printed by Aylott & Jones in 1846, but only two sold. Thirty-seven copies were given away to authors whom the sisters admired (and assumedly to friends and family as well), leaving 961 copies unsold. These remaining copies were purchased by the publishers Smith & Elder, who decided to reissue the work in 1848 under their name with a new title page and rebound in a green harp binding, meaning that only 39 copies of the first issue ever existed. The following lot, 331, is the Smith & Elder edition in its intermediate state—it has the green harp binding, but still bears the Aylott & Jones title page (Forum states these copies appear this way either due to binder neglect or because the Smith & Elder title page ran out)—which is also quite rare in itself. The original first issue of Poems is estimated £30,000 to £40,000, while the intermediate state in the 1848 binding is estimated £15,000 to £20,000. Adding to the value of the Aylott & Jones issue is an autograph letter signed by Charlotte Brontë addressed to the publishers discussing Poems.

Pre-dating the Brontë material by more than three centuries are two significant lots totally unrelated to one another. Claudius Galenus, also called Galen, was dubbed the “most famous physician of the Greco-Roman world whose writings have survived” by the Cambridge University Press. Lot 183 is Galen’s Opera [actual title in Greek] printed by the Aldine Press in 1525. Five folio volumes make the publication “one of the ‘biggest’ books printed” by the printers, and it is also one of the rarest of all Aldine editions with Forum stating that only two or three complete sets having been sold in the last 30 years. The set’s rarity is greatly increased by the fact that it had just a single first and last run. It is estimated £25,000 to £35,000.

The other 16th century highlight narrowly misses the cut for the incunabula descriptor. Printed in Basel in 1501 by Jacobus Wolff de Pforzheim, lot 167 is a rare illustrated edition of Aesop, which is also a first edition of Sebastian Brant’s additional 140 fables. The woodcut illustrations accompanying Brant’s works are described as “richer and more sophisticated than the rather naïve illustrations to the first part, which were based on Zainer’s cuts for the first illustrated edition” printed in Ulm around 1476. Estimated £15,000 to £20,000, Aesop’s Esopi appologi sive mythologi cum quibusdam carminum et fabularum additionibus Sebastiani Brant is a handsome folio and an early edition of one of the most famous storytellers ever.

Forum Auctions’ online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper is active now and ends Wednesday, July 5th, and their traditional sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper is scheduled for Monday, July 10th at 10:30 am British Standard Time. Both of the preceding links lead to the respective online catalogs where registration for bidding can be done. Also, don’t forget about two more online sales later in the month, Libri Antichi e Rari ending July 13th and Books and Works on Paper ending July 20th.

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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