Second, and even scarcer than the Edward, was lot 130 in the PBA #254 sale, a copy of J. K. Hyer and W. S. Starring’s Lahcotah: Dictionary of the Sioux Language (Fort Laramie, [1866)]. This crudely printed item is a Wyoming incunabulum, having been the first book printed in the area that became part of that state. Apparently printed on a US Army press at the fort, it was printed in no more than fifty copies, of which only five are extant. This copy, however, failed to sell on its estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
Third, and also in the PBA #254 sale among other Montana items in lots 183-188, was a piece of Western fun in lot 184, Helena’s Social Supremacy: Montana’s Center of Fashion, Refinement, Gentility, Etiquette, Kettle Drums, High Fives, Progressive Euchre and Mixed Drinks (Helena, 1894). This little 48-page book is supposedly part of the controversy surrounding the permanent capital of Montana. First fixed at the now abandoned town of Bannack while Montana was still a territory, the location of the permanent capital became a punching bag between some of the biggest political forces in the new state. Marcus Daly wanted it to be in Anaconda, which he practically owned. An arch enemy, William Clark, wanted it to be in Helena, which eventually won out in 1889 after both men spent an estimated $3 million each trying to influence the outcome. This delightful squib on Montana society recalls the contest and is a minor classic in the literature that surrounded the choice of Montana’s capital city. It sold for $126 on an estimate of $250-$350.
Many American males over 50 owned as a child several shelves of the venerable Zane Grey’s Western novels in the series published by Black. That popularity continues to be reflected in the auction rooms. PBA #254 sold a long run of Grey first and early editions in reasonable condition (lots 76-109). One of the items was his The Lone Star Ranger (New York: Harper, ), signed by Grey but in a facsimile dust jacket. In a twist that reminds one of advertisers who market “faux pearls” and “genuine facsimiles,” PBA spent much time describing the photocopied dust jacket and concluded that the book was “very good in a very good facsimile jacket.” The lot fetched $373.00. Over at Swann, the same title (New York, 1915), also signed but in publisher’s cloth, was grouped with a similar signed copy of his Tales of Fishes (New York, 1919). That copy also had problems: “ex-library with faults, sold as is.” Despite those problems, the pair fetched $100.00. One wonders what would have been the price if both of these, too, had been munified with facsimile jackets. Despite the constant emphasis put on condition, it would appear that spending some time at a color photocopier might pay dividends.
Versions of the Declaration of Independence, all of them expensive, were sold by Sotheby’s (lots 190-193). More interesting, however, than the fates of the various contemporary printings, all of which did well, were the fortunes of two facsimile lots, one at Sotheby’s (lot 192) and the other at the PBA #254 sale (lot 57). The former was a copy in fair condition of William J. Stone’s facsimile produced in 1823 and one of 36 vellum copies known. Stone’s work has proven important over the years as the original Declaration has faded; Stone’s facsimile is, in fact, now clearer than the original. This copy sold for $207,300.00 on an estimate of $100,000-$190,000, surpassed only by lot 190, the Newport, 1776, edition that fetched $367,000.00. In the sale was another facsimile, this one pulled by Peter Force about 1848 from Stone’s plate and found as issued in a volume of his American Archives. (These copies lack the Stone imprint.)