July 28: Fine Books & Manuscripts at Potter & Potter Auctions

- by Thomas C. McKinney

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This month, Chicago-based Potter & Potter Auctions is hosting a July 28th sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts comprising 619 lots of diverse material. Books and manuscripts certainly make up a large portion of the sale, but photographs, posters and other mediums are also included. Autograph material is also a strong suit. The following are some standout items.

 

Is it inappropriate to say that the sale’s tour de force is Peter Force’s engraving of the Declaration of Independence? A rice paper engraving pulled from volume I of Force’s 1837-1853 series of books American Archives, this reprint was made using William J. Stone’s copperplate which was made by lifting ink directly from the original to create a perfect copy. Force’s reprints were authorized up to 1,500 sets, but many fewer copies were printed. This one is estimated $15,000 to $20,000 as lot 369.

 

In a total shift of subject matter, our next highlight is a WWI lithograph enlistment poster entitled “Destroy this made brute — Enlist,” which “played on the heartstrings of American men by summoning up deep-held fears of a German invasion. Lady Liberty, half-naked, lies in the arms of the German brute striding ashore, a cudgel emblazoned with the word “kultur” in his blood-smeared free hand.” Lot 383 carries an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.

 

Hugh Hefner may have passed away last year, but his memory lives on, and lot 445 allows its owner to perhaps know him better than most. Coming to auction is a large and revealing archive of Hefner’s early correspondence, with over 60 typed signed letters and autograph letters addressed to his lifelong friend and confidant Jane Borson. The archive is estimated $10,000 to $20,000. Other autographs worth noting are an eleven-page autograph letter signed from Fidel Castro to an aviator and arms smuggler (lot 358, est. $8,000 to $12,000); a framed display with items relating to Harry Truman and his Secretary of the Treasury, John Snyder (lot 344, est. $6,000 to $7,000); and a large, sepia toned, signed photograph portrait of Chester Arthur, circa 1882 (lot 329, est. $6,000 to $8,000).

 

Under the heading of literature, two first editions, both estimated $4,000 to $5,000, are ones you’re familiar with. Lot 72 is a first issue of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind in its original dustjacket, printed in New York in 1936. Further on into the sale, lot 121 is L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, being a first edition, second state copy. The publication is dated 1899, 1900.

 

These are but a few of the items coming to auction in Potter & Potter’s sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts, slated for July 28, 2018 at 10AM central time in Chicago. The sale’s catalog is live online now. Live, absentee and telephone bidding is also available.