• <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Kingsborough, Edward King. <i>Antiquities of Mexico: Comprising Facsimiles of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics…</i> London, 1831-1848. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Paul Revere. <i>The Bloody Massacre perpetrated In King-Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Reg. Boston, 1770.</i> $150,000 to $200,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Battle of the Alamo. <i>Suplemento al Diario del Gobierno de la Republica Mexicana.</i> (Núm. 326. Tom. IV.). Mexico City: Imprenta del Aguila, Dirigida por José Ximeno, 1836. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> The Declaration of Independence. The first book-form printing of the Declaration of Independence. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Treaty of Paris, Ratification. By the United States in Congress Assembled, A Proclamation … Annapolis, [Ca. 16-17 January 1784]. $800,000 to $1,200,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Declaration of Independence. The only known privately held copy of the celebrated William J. Stone facsimile for which provenance can be traced back to a direct ancestor who received it in 1824. $600,000 to $800,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Crockett, David. Autograph letter signed ("David Crockett") to George Patton, announcing his intention to travel to Texas. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Wytfliet, Cornelius. <i>Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum, Sive Occidentalis Notitia Brevi Commentario Illustrata.</i> Leuven: Johannes Bogaerts 1597. $35,000 to $50,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Schedel, Hartmann. <i>Liber Cronicarum cum Figuris et Ymaginibus.</i> Nuremberg, Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> New York Mets. Baseball from the first victory of the New York Mets. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph letter signed ("R E Lee") as Confederate commander, to Rabbi Max Michelbacher, declining to furlough Jewish Confederate troops for the high holy days. $150,000 to $250,000
  • <b>Bunch Auctions: Rare Books & Fine Prints. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Dickens, Charles. <i>A Tale of Two Cities,</i> first edition with inclusions. $18,000 to $26,000
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> John James Audubon. A la poupee color engraving on paper "Stanley Hawk." $6,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> [FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE] Dickens, Charles. <i>Oliver Twist</i>, London, 1838. 3 vols. $8,000 to $10,000
    <b>Bunch Auctions: Rare Books & Fine Prints. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Land indenture between William Penn and Thomas Gell, dated October 12, 1681, wherein Gell purchased 500 acres Pennsylvania farmland; signed by Penn. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Thomas Hart Benton, lithograph on paper "The Woodpile", pencil signed, original AAA certificate. $1,500 to $2,500
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Helen Dryden, <i>Vogue</i> cover design lithograph completed in hand watercolor, proof design for September 1922 issue. $600 to $800
    <b>Bunch Auctions: Rare Books & Fine Prints. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Fisher, John D. <i>Description of the Distinct, Confluent, and Inoculated Small Pox, Varioloid Disease, Cow Pox, and Chicken Pox,</i> Boston, 1829. $600 to $800
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> [Rare Dust Jacket] Crane, Stephen. <i>The Red Badge of Courage,</i> NY, 1896. $500 to $700
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> after Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920), chromolithograph on paper "Lunia Czechowska", signed in plate, artist's proof (A/P). $200 to $400
    <b>Bunch Auctions, Jan 22:</b> Samuel Arlent Edwards, color mezzotint on paper "A Visit to the Boarding School", pencil signed. $100 to $200
  • <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste: Books and Manuscripts. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> [MAGGIOLO, Vesconte] <i>Carta nautica manoscritta, bottega di Vesconte Maggiolo.</i> Italy, c.1550. Previously unknown extraordinary portolan chart. €50,000 to 80,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b><br>LA PÉROUSE, Jean-François. <i>Voyage de la Pérouse autour du monde.</i> Paris: L'Imprimerie de la République, 1797. €6,000 to 9,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> PEREA Y ROJAS, Daniel. The preparatory watercolours to the renown album <i>A Los Toros.</i> €4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste: Books and Manuscripts. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> MELA, Pomponio. <i>Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis.</i> Venice, 1478 [Bound with] DIONISIO il Periegeta. <i> De situ orbis…</i> Venice, 1478. €6,000 to 9,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> DE FELICE, Fortunato Bartolomeo. <i>Encyclopedie, ou dictionnaire universel raisonne des connoissances humaines.</i> Yverdon, 1770-1780. €4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> VECELLIO, Cesare. <i>De gli habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo.</i> Venice: Damian Zenaro, 1590. €3,000 to 5,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste: Books and Manuscripts. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> FALDA, Giovanni Battista; SPECCHI, Alessandro. <i>Il nuovo teatro delle fabriche…</i> [bound with] <i>ll quarto libro del nuovo teatro delli palazzi in prospettiva di Roma moderna.</i> 1665-1699. €4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> FALDA Giovan Battista. <i>Le fontane di Roma nelle piazze e luoghi pubblici della citta - Le fontane delle ville di Frascati nel Tusculano…</i> Rome, [1691]. €2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> FERRERIO, Pietro & Giovanni Battista FALDA. <i> Palazzi di Roma de piu celebri architetti disegnati… [1655 – 1677]. €2,500 to 3,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste: Books and Manuscripts. January 22, 2019</b>
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> VON JACQUIN, Joseph Franz. <i>Eclogae graminum rariorum.</i> Vienna: Strauss Sommer, 1813-1844. €2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> Prayer book according to the synagogical Ashkenazy rite in an elegant and precious silver binding. €3,000 to 5,000
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan 22:</b> BOCCACCIO, Giovanni. <i>Ameto.</i> Venice: Nicolo Zoppino, 1524. €3,000 to 5,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2007 Issue

<i>Magna Carta</i>, Valued at $20-$30 Million, Put Up For Auction

Magnacarta

This 1297 copy of the Magna Carta will be sold in December. Photo courtesy of Sotheby&#146;s.


By Michael Stillman

Unlike peace of mind, as depicted in the MasterCard commercials, no books or manuscripts are "priceless," at least not in the literal sense. They all have their price. However, a few are of such extraordinary importance and value as to be "priceless" figuratively. One such item will find its literal worth the week of December 10th in the auction rooms of Sotheby's New York. Up for sale that week will be a 1297 manuscript copy of England's Magna Carta. It is perhaps the most important document ever conceived by man.

The Magna Carta (Great Charter) represented the first official statement of the right to liberty. Sotheby's, with no exaggeration, refers to it as "the birth certificate of freedom." It arose as a result of conflicts between the unpopular King John and the English barons. Various issues of the day had placed the King in a weakened position, leaving him no choice but to assent to certain demands of the baronage. In 1215, King John placed his seal on the original Magna Carta. It contained numerous provisions, many now dated and repealed, but it also enshrined in law the most basic of rights, that of Habeas Corpus. This right prevented the King from arbitrarily imprisoning his subjects (at least those considered freemen). Those imprisoned were guaranteed the right to trial before a court of law, and judgment by their peers. No man, King included, would be above the law.

While the Magna Carta is an English document, it also served as an inspiration for America's Declaration of Independence, and the foundation for the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Oddly, after all of these centuries, the primacy of the right of habeas corpus is still being debated in America within the context of terrorist suspects.

The original Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, although it soon went through various revisions. Only four copies of the 1215 "edition" are known to still exist, all in England. There are also a few revised versions in England from the period between 1215 and 1297. However, it was not until 1297, during the reign of Edward I, that the Magna Carta was settled and officially adopted. It is this "final" version which is now being offered for auction. Fewer than twenty of these are known to exist, all in England with the exception of this copy and one owned by the government of Australia.

The copy to be offered by Sotheby's can be traced as far back as the late 14th or early 15th century. It had been in the possession of the Brudenell family since that time, probably through one of two ancestors who were notable lawyers. In 1984, the family sold it to the Perot Foundation, an American charitable organization headed by the Texas entrepreneur, billionaire, and two-time iconoclastic presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. The Perot Foundation soon placed it on display in the National Archives in Washington. The Foundation does not seek publicity, but is engaged in various charitable causes and presumably wants to make the funds tied up in this document available for such uses.

With other copies secreted away in institutional collections, Sotheby's notes that this is the only Magna Carta "ever likely to be sold." If you want one, you better plan on placing your bids now. How much it will cost is unknown, but one thing is certain - it will not come cheaply. Sotheby's has placed an estimate of $20-$30 million on the document. This is an unheard of figure in the world of books and manuscripts. Perot was reported to have paid $1.5 million for it in 1984, a princely sum at the time, yet still reaffirming that beneath whatever his personal oddities, there lies a smart businessman. Perhaps in another 33 years, $20 or $30 million will look like a bargain.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000
  • <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Fine Illustrated Books. 50 illustrated works across a range of subjects.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Present Perfect. Books & works on paper including Literature, Children’s & Illustrated, Sports & Pastimes, Modern Prints and more.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> The House of Romanov, marking the centenary of the tragic demise of the Romanov dynasty.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> CHAGALL & GOGOL. Les âmes mortes, 1948. Chagall’s first major illustrated book.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> GUSTAV KLIMT, eine nachlese, 1931. An important early monograph on Klimt.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> ELLIOT. Birds of North America, 1866. One of 200 2 vols sets, folio.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> PURCHAS. His Pilgrimes/Pilgrimage, 1625-26. 5 vols. Probably the greatest collection of voyages ever published.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> HUXLEY. Brave New World, 1932. Exceptionally fine first edition.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> KELMSCOTT PRESS. Poems of Shakespeare, one of 500, publisher’s vellum.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> LEROUX. Phantom of the Opera, 1911. First UK edition in fine S&S binding.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> INDIANA, Robert. The American Dream, one of 30 AP copies, 30 screen prints.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> BENOIS. Tsarskoe Selo during the Reign of Elizaveta Petrovna, St Petersburg, 1910. Deluxe issue.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> CORONATION ALBUM. Description du sacre et du couronnement de leurs Majestés Impériales, 1883. One of 200.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> IMPERIAL FAMILY. Signed original photograph of Tsar Nicholas II’s 4 daughters.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Souvenir du Couronnement de Leurs Majestés Imperiales a Moscou, 1896.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Leonard Baskin, <i>Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects,</i> Gehenna Press, 1983. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georg Heym, <i>Umbra Vitae,</i> illustrated by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, first edition, Munich, 1924. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Edgar Allan Poe, <i>The Raven,</i> special copy for illustrator Alan James Robinson, first book from Cheloniidae Press, 1980. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b><br>W.B. Yeats, <i>Poems,</i> illustrated by Richard Diebenkorn, accompanied by a suite of 6 etchings, 1990. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georges Rouault, <i>Cirque de l’Étoile Filante,</i> Paris, 1938. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> François-Louis Schmied, <i>Le Cantique des Cantiques,</i> Paris, 1925. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Frank Lloyd Wright, <i>Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe,</i> Berlin, Ernst Wasmuth, 1910. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Hans Bellmer & Georges Hugnet, <i>Oeillades ciselées en branch,</i> Paris, 1939. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Wassily Kandinsky, <i>Klänge,</i> first edition, Munich, 1913. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Charles Dickens, <i>The Nonesuch Dickens,</i> limited edition, 1937-38. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Rudyard Kipling, <i>Le Livre de la Jungle,</i> plates by Paul Jouve, engraved by F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1919. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georges Lepape, <i>Les Choses de Paul Poiret,</i> Paris, 1911. $3,500 to $5,000.
  • <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 230: Charles Bukowski. <i>South of No North.</i> Los Angeles, 1973. First edition. Signed. $1,500 to $2,000
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 244: Aldous Huxley. <i>Brave New World.</i> Garden City, 1932. First American edition. Signed. $2,500 to $3,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 10: Frank Lloyd Wright. “Fallingwater Side Elevation” Original Blueprint. $1,500 to $2,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 169: <i>Chicago’s Progress: A Review of the World’s Fair City.</i> Chicago: Bishop Publishing, (1933). $150 to $250
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 299: [Tanguy, Yves] Benjamin Peret. <i>Dormir dans Les Pierres.</i> Paris: Editions Surrealistes, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 276: Jean Hans Arp. <i>Arp: Eleven Configurations.</i> Zurich, 1945. $1,200 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 235: Joseph Conrad. <i>Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard.</i> New York: 1904. First edition. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 290: Umberto Brunelleschi. Louys, Pierre. <i>Les Aventures du Roi Pausole.</i> Paris: 1930. $1,200 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 700: X-Men No. 94. Marvel Comics, 1975. CGC 9.0. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 540: Travers, P.L. <i>Mary Poppins</i> [and] <i>Mary Poppins Comes Back.</i> Signed. New York: 1936. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 576: Mickey Mouse. 17 Big Little Books. 1930s-40s. $300 to $500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 429: Paracelsus. <i>Medicina Diastatica or Sympathecall Mumie.</i> London: 1653. $800 to $1,200
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Rare Books & Works on Paper. January 23, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Rossini (Luigi, artist & engraver). <i>Le Antichità Romane, ossia Raccolta della piu interessanti Vedute di Roma Antica,</i> 89 plates. £2500 to £3500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Four original hand-painted propaganda posters, (550 x 770 mm.), North Korea, 2009. £1200 to £1800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Plinius Secundus (Gaius). <i>Historia Natural,</i> 2 vol, Spanish translation, woodcut arms of Philip IV of Spain, Madrid, 1624; 1629 £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Nasmyth (James) & Carpenter (James). <i>The Moon,</i> FIRST EDITION, frontispiece and 24 plates, 1874. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Rare Books & Works on Paper. January 23, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> A group (12) of large size Chinese Cultural Revolution papercuts on red paper presented on white paper backing, featuring various slogans and images of General Mao. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Coronelli (V. M.). <i>Tran-Siselana,</i> copper engraved, hand-coloured, title cartouche with four winds and four monkeys, coat of arms, Venice, c.1692; and 8 others. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan 23:</b> Pouchkine (Alexandre). <i>Contes populaires Russes… traduits … par Alexandra de Holstein et René Ghil,</i> FIRST EDITION, n. 165 of an edition of 270 copies. £400 to £600

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