Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2002 Issue

“Sold!,”A New Monthly Feature

The History of TexasCowan’s Lot 314


By Everett Wilkie

Americana Exchange in the course of a year reviews about 300 auctions from over twenty auction houses in both America and Europe. The results of those reviews are mounted on the AE web site in various forms, such as subject analysis and price results that are linked to full descriptions of the lots as they are found in the houses’ on-line catalogues. Those reviews are ongoing projects that are constantly updated.

The review here is of a somewhat different sort. Here we will review various lots and offerings in some recent auctions to ascertain trends, bargains, howlers, and any other sort of auction analysis that may be interesting, sobering, or perhaps amusing. This review will appear on the 1st of each month but will concern only printed materials (primarily books), although AE enters any type of printed or manuscript Americana in its auction database. Each review will go over auctions in the recent past. Not every auction will necessarily be included each time. This review is not intended to replace such auction house reviews as the Swann Trumpet, where auctions are reviewed in some detail.

Alternatively, previews of interesting upcoming sales will appear occasionally every month as separate articles.

Of the auctions that took place in the period 15 November-20 December 2002, the following are included: Waverly Auctions #186, “Americana”; Swann Galleries #1952, “Autographs”; Christie’s #1169, “Important Botanical Books from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society”; Hauswedell & Nolte #367, “Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Autographs”; Cowan’s Historic Americana Auctions, “Fall Historic Americana and Decorative Arts”; Sotheby’s #7859, “Fine Books and Manuscripts, including Americana”; Ketterer Kunst, #273, “Wertolle Büchern Auktion”; Pacific Book Auction Galleries (PBA) #252, “Fine & Rare Books with Artists’ Books”; and PBA #254, “Americana with Autographs, Manuscripts, and Archival Material.” (For a complete list of auctions posted to AE during that time, including complete prices realized for Americana, go to the AE website.) All cited prices include the buyer’s premium.

Although a good deal of various types of Americana were auctioned during the period, the area of Western Americana was fairly well represented. Despite its modern definition, Western Americana is an enduring field that has long been of interest to collectors and libraries as the concept of “the West” advanced from the eastern Atlantic shores to the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. The field was represented by individual items and by several runs of material. Some interesting contrasts emerged across the various auction lots.

A well-known work concerning the “West” as it was understood in eighteenth-century Europe was somewhat buried in the Hauswedell & Nolte sale as lot 295, “Karikaturen.” This lot consisted of a copy of the famous Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid (Amsterdam, 1720). The bibliography of this book is almost entirely unsettled.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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