Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2006 Issue

Swann Americana Sale February 2nd

Chicagofire

An interesting Americana sale: lot 114


By Bruce McKinney

On February 2nd Swann Galleries conducts what is essentially a semi-annual auction of Americana. As was the case last year, the material is an interesting assortment of obscurity, rarity and condition that requires the auction bidder to read carefully. There are 310 lots. Only 73 of them have estimates that reach four figures. Sixty-six others have high estimates of $250 or less and Swann advertises their auctions on eBay where realizations of more than $250 are uncommon but where many of the new generation of collectors are learning to collect. This sale is of course much more than entry level lots. As the following 10 lots illustrate there is a complex assortment for almost every category of printed material for the Americana collector. These sales typically achieve a 90% sell through, a sure indication that estimates are set toward the low side.

Lot 8 is William Bartram's Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. This is the first English edition [1792] and not generally the edition collectors covet. However, this copy is in boards and that makes this copy unusual and attractive.

In the AED there are 25 records. They suggest the book has been widely reported and collected for more than a hundred years. This copy, uncut and in original boards is estimated $3,000 to $4,000 and seems interesting.
AE Footnote 1

Lot 11 is a 1782 Aitken Bible, an important book for collectors of American bibles. It is the first printing of this book in English in America. It lacks the title page, a very significant defect. There are other condition issues as well which require careful evaluation. The market for this book has been strong. In the AED there are seven records. They suggest a higher valuation but this copy lacks the title page and will be anathema to some collectors and dealers. Nevertheless it's interesting. It is estimated $8,000 to $12,000.
AE Footnote 2

Lot 28 is interesting. It's a color lithographed poster of Palo Alto and the Leland Stanford Junior University. It was issued by N. C. Carnell & Co. in 1888. On the East Coast 1888 passes for new while in California it is old. This lithographed poster, with 7 insets including views of the Quadrangle and maps is approximately 42x28 inches. It looks to be very collectible, a view that Swann shares as they have given it the entire back page of the catalogue, a meaningful endorsement. It is estimated $3,000 to $4,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

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