Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2003 Issue

The Historical Auction Series No.2 The H. Bradley Martin Sale 1989-1990

Bm2524

A weak court could cost a man his freedom.


In our first “Historical Auctions” article about the Murphy sale, this author said that:
[Starting in the nineteenth century] ...books were the talisman of literacy that was for the first time approaching “universal” status. Into this golden age of book collecting many of America’s best, brightest and ambitious pursued the collecting of books to complete their journeys from the nascent industrial America to extraordinary wealth and attainment in a single lifetime. Henry C. Murphy [the collector whose collection was the subject of the previous “Historical Auctions” article] was one of these men.

To this, I would add, unhesitatingly: H. Bradley Martin was one of these men, as well.

H. Bradley Martin, a grandson of Henry Phillips (one of Andrew Carnegie’s partners) was a man of great refinement who appreciated the finer things in life, foremost amongst them rare books and manuscripts, and whose independently wealthy lifestyle (he was an heir to a steel fortune) afforded him the means to pursue his passion for this world of antiquarian books and manuscripts. Martin was born in 1906 and died in 1988 at the age of 82. He was, according to John Marion, “one of the preeminent collectors of the 20th century, whose scholarship, taste and erudition have been admired by book collectors around the world.” [From a Sotheby’s New York press release, c. 1988.] “He [Martin]…followed in the tradition of such collectors as J. Pierpont Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Robert Hoe, and the diversity of his interests [was] reflected in the Library’s several extraordinary collections, each of which [was] so strong that it independently constitute[ed] a collection of enviable proportions.” [ibid.]

What the Sotheby’s press release refers to here is the phenomenal range of strong sub-collections within Martin’s massive overall collection, which was sold off in 9 distinct parts over the period of a year. Not only did Martin possess one of the finest Ornithological collections in private hands; he also owned superb and comprehensive collections of American, English, and French literature; Americana; Children’s Books; Illuminated Manuscripts; and Non-Ornithological Natural History, Science, and Early Printed Books. [Editor’s Note: the Americana part of the H. Bradley Martin sale, consisting of 48 lots, is available through the Æ Database by typing in “HBradleyMartin” in the Source Field. The vast majority of the Martin Americana records in the Æ Database are illustrated, adding a nice dimensionality and utility to them. Further, the remaining parts of the H. Bradley Martin sale will go into the Æ Database shortly.] The fact that continues to astound is that each of the distinct 9 parts of the H. Bradley Martin sale was so strong, and so full of items of both such significance and such rarity, that to even accumulate one of these collections in a lifetime would have been quite an achievement. The fact that Martin assembled 9 of these collections, virtually on his own, boggles the mind.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and<br>Works on Paper<br>Thursday 27th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Purchas (Samuel). <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes. In Five Books...,</i> 5 vol. including vol. 5: <i>Purchas His Pilgrimage,</i> first edition, Narcissus Luttrell's copy, 1625-26. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Neapolitan School (circa 1714-1734). Napoli, [Bird's-eye panoramic view of the Port of Naples], tempera on canvas, [c. 1714-1735]. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> An outstanding archive of printed and manuscript material of the 18th and early 19th centuries relating to Privateers, Bristol merchants and shipping, c.1750-1830 [the majority 18th century]. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and<br>Works on Paper<br>Thursday 27th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Australia.- New South Wales convict artist.- Browne (Richard). Memora, watercolour and bodycolour, [c. 1817-1820]. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Franco (Pierre). <i>Petit traité, contenant une des parties principales de chirurgie, laquelle les chirurgiens hernieres exercent…,</i> first edition, Lyon, Antoine Vincent, [1556]. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Shakespeare Head Press.- Shakespeare (William). <i>The Works...,</i> 10 vol., one of 12 sets on vellum, Stratford-on-Avon, 1904-06. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and<br>Works on Paper<br>Thursday 27th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>in our time,</i> number 90 of 170 copies on Rives paper, Paris, Printed at the Three Mountains Press and for sale at Shakespeare and Company, 1924. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Kieffer (René, binder).- Louys (Pierre). <i>Aphrodite.</i> Moeurs Antiques, one of 4 copies, original watercolours by Malassis & Giraldon, magnificent mosaic binding, 1910. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> DNA.- Watson (James D.) Autograph fair copy of 6 paragraphs from the chapter "Manner Appropriate for a Nobel Prize", 2004. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and<br>Works on Paper<br>Thursday 27th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Darwin (Charles). Autograph Letter signed to William Lonsdale, "My dear Lonsdale I return Mr Whewell's address the word rules should be changed into customs I think". £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Qu'ran Scroll, purported to have once been displayed above Shah Jahan's Peacock Throne, extending to over 16 metres, India [probably Delhi], [first quarter 17th century]. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Forum, May 27:</b> Faden (William). Battle of Brandywine in which the Rebels were defeated, September the 11th, 1777 by the Army under the Command of General Sr. William Howe, engraving, 1778. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Mary Anning. Autograph letter signed, to William Buckland, 24 November 1834. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Bolyai. <i>Scientiam spatii absolute veram exhibens,</i> Maros Vásárhelyi, 1832-1833, 2 volumes, half calf. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Vesalius.<br><i>De humani corporis fabrica,</i> Basel, 1555, modern crushed burgundy morocco. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Copernicus.<br><i>De revolutionibus orbium coelestium,</i> Nuremberg, 1543, later boards, Rostock duplicate. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Payan-Dumoulin. Profusely illustrated manuscript of fossils, France, c.1875-1979. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph letter signed, to his son Albert, 4 November [1915]. £10,000 to £15,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Alken (Henry), after. Salmon Fishing; Fishing in a Punt; Pike Fishing, three works, 1820. £600 to £800.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Early Images of Angling.- Hollar (Wenceslaus) Angling; River Fishing; and Salmon Fishing, after Francis Barlow, 3 engravings, [c. 1671]. £500 to £700.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Rolfe (Henry Leonidas). <i>Studies of Fresh Water Fish,</i> 1851. £500 to £700.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Morland (George), After. A Party Angling; The Anglers' Repast, a pair, mezzotints, 1789. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Pollard (James), After. Bottom Fishing; Anglers Packing Up, etchings with aquatint, 1831. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Angling's Age of Romance.- Sayer (Robert, publisher) & J. Bennett. The Angelic Angler, mezzotint, 1781; and another. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire.- London.- Roberts (Piercy). Patience at Paddington or angling in the Junction Canal, etching after Woodward, 1807; together with Woodward's 'Angling at Sadler's Wells', and another, 1794. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire - Cats Fishing.- Seymour (Robert). Waltonizing or - Green-land Fisherman, [c. 1830s]; together with 3 lithographs of cats fishing, [c. 1830s]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Portraits.- Zoffany (Johan), After. Master James Sayer, at the age of 13, mezzotint by Richard Houston, 1772. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Wilkinson (Norman). Come to Britain for Fishing, lithographic poster, [c. 1947]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Scottish Fishing.- Heath (William). Sporting in the Scottish Isles no. III. Salmon Fishing, 1835; and another. £150 to £200.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Simpson (Joseph). The Border Angler, drypoint, [c. 1927]. £150 to £200.
  • <b><center>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 31</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Aristoteles, <i>Logica vetus,</i> Manuscript, around 1250. Est: € 60,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Luca Pacioli, <i>Divina proportione,</i> 1509. Est: € 80,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Asger Jorn, Fin de Copenhague, 1957. Est: € 10,000
    <b><center>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 31</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Gospel of Mark, Manuscript, around 1180. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>J. de Theramo, <i>Consolatio peccatorum,</i> 1481. Est: € 25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>G. Braques & G. Apollinaire, <i>Si je mourais là-bas,</i> 1962. Est: € 6,000
    <b><center>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 31</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Latin Choral manuscript, around 1500. Est: € 25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>P. J. Redouté, <i>Choix des plus belles fleurs,</i> 1827-33. Est: € 25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Sonia Delaunay, <i>27 tableaux vivants,</i> 1969. Est: € 3,000
    <b><center>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 31</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1450-70. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>L. Moholy-Nagy, Bauhaus postcard, 1923. Est: € 5,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 31:</b><br>K. Price & Ch. Bukowski, <i>Heat wave,</i> 1995. Est: € 2,500

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions