Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2019 Issue

J. Fernando Pena joins Christies and they are lucky for it

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Fernando Pena

Fernando Peña, whose DNA is said to include ink, is making his mark again. To academics across the United States and Grolier Club members in New York who for ten years (2001-2011) could expect to find Fernando behind the reference desk under the vaulted ceiling in the classic Grolier Club library, they will soon find him again, this time alternatively at Christie’s, at his desk doing research on the rarest books, or coaxing and cajoling bids in the rooms and on the phone during Christie’s periodic auctions of uber-premium material. He knows the material and as importantly knows the bidders, many of whom long ago relied on his expertise when studying texts in the Grolier collection.

 

Following his years at the Grolier Club, he would build a CV more akin to the golden age of book collecting at the outset of the 20th century, when many of the finest minds found their life’s work in exculpating texts and unearthing the history of ownership from one prominent collector and collection to the next. From 2011 through 2019, Fernando was the Director of the Rare Books & Special Collections Program at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science of Long Island University, where he helped train the next generation of special collections librarians in the fundamentals of book history, archival theory, descriptive bibliography, and other tools of the trade. Fernando has served on the boards of the American Printing History Association, the Center for Book Arts, and the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association. His education was at Rutgers (MLS); Harvard (MA, ABD) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (MA) in Biblical Studies; and Stanford (BA) in Linguistics.

 

At Christie’s Fernando will be in his element. He completes a Books and Manuscripts Department in New York headed by Christina Geiger and comprising Senior Specialist, Peter Klarnet, and Associate Specialists Rhiannon Knol and Heather Weintraub. The entire team works under Meg Ford, International Head of Books and Science, who is based in London.

 

Fernando reflects, “I can’t tell you how excited I am by the opportunity to work with Christina, Meg, and the rest of the Books and Manuscripts team. My years of teaching at the Palmer School have been immensely gratifying, but I have missed working with books and manuscripts and especially with private and institutional collectors. I look forward to this new chapter at Christie’s. What an honor and a privilege!”

 

These days, the best people in the rare book field have mixed resumes including tough projects in increasingly ethereal positions. Fernando will be an important asset to the Books and Manuscripts Department at Christie’s. His contact details are:

 

J. Fernando Peña

Senior Specialist, Books & Manuscripts

Christie's

20 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10020

Phone: 212-636-2663

Email: jfpena@christies.com

Twitter: @ChristiesBKS

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jul 15:</b> Jessie Tarbox Beals, archive of signed photographs, 15 silver prints, c. 1930. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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