Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2022 Issue

May 4-11: Fahrenheit 451 and other signed material at AntiquarianAuctions.com

Highlighted material from AntiquarianAuctions.com's US sale #11

AntiquarianAuctions.com, an online rare book auction house, has been in business since 2010 under the leadership of antiquarian bookseller Paul Mills. In spring 2020, just as the pandemic was prompting a global shutdown, the American side of the business, led by Adam Langlands, launched with the objective of hosting sales with material specifically geared towards American collectors’ interests. With now ten auctions completed, their US Auction #11 opens at 2:30 pm eastern time on May 4th and bidding concludes at 12:30 on May 11th.

There’s a nice variety of material included here, with many signed editions and reasonable estimates. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

A signed, limited issue (this is copy #4 of a stated 200), first edition of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 is the headline item of the sale. Being sold now by the original owner, this copy was purchased in 1953 via mail order. AntiquarianAuctions describes it as an “enigma” because this limited issue carries with it several unanswered questions about its origin:

  1. Who came up with the idea?
  2. How many were actually printed? The current count is 215 copies!
  3. As the issue was not widely advertised, how, if at all, was it marketed?

A very interesting first edition to say the least, this copy of Bradbury’s most famous work is estimated $13,000 to $18,000 as the first lot of the sale. If this item is out of your price range, another Bradbury first edition, Dark Carnival, is being sold as lot #3 with an estimate of $1,200 to $1,800.

I’m personally only familiar with L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, because I have a friend who finds cults fascinating. Certainly a polarizing figure during his lifetime, he is evidently also collectible.  Up for sale as lot #2 is a signed, first edition of Slaves of Sleep, a science fiction novel that appeared originally in an 1939 issue of the magazine Unknown. It is estimated $1,500 to $2,500.

Pivoting to a completely different genre of material, Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains is another interesting, signed and inscribed first edition being auctioned. Written by Dr. Charles A. Eastman in 1918, the author had a fascinating life. Born in a buffalo hide tipi in Minnesota in 1858, he seemed destined to participate in the final Sioux uprisings of the 1870s. However, fate and his father intervened, and he eventually graduated from Dartmouth College and Boston University’s medical school. I highly recommend reading the longer biography included in the lot’s description. As lot 33, Dr. Eastman’s work is estimated $1,500 to $2,000.

The last highlight of this preview is a complete suite of the 158 prints, the frontispiece, and the title page from the limited edition of Henri Matisse’s artist’s book Dessins, Themes et Variations. The text leaves with several illustrations, being Louis Aragon’s accompanying essay, are missing from this sale. This particular set was used as the artwork for the reproduction issued by Dover Publications in 1995, so the plates have been annotated in the margins. They are, however, suitable for framing. As lot 171, Matisse’s prints are estimated $2,000 to $4,000.

Where information is available, AntiquarianAuctions.com goes above and beyond in providing lengthy and detailed descriptions for the items they auction. Two hundred and forty-nine lots make up Auction #11, and they are well worth your time in perusing. The entire catalog is available for preview here. If you plan on bidding, please ensure that you register beforehand.

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
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000

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