Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2003 Issue

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

Bm2531

For the authors immortality has been their prize.

Martin’s proactive approach to the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts, together with his naturally scholarly nature, lead him from one subject to another, until eventually he had compiled a library that spanned a vast variety of subjects over six centuries and comprised approximately 10,000 volumes. Martin physically divided his library between his two homes: all subjects but Ornithology were housed in his (presumably quite ample) Manhattan apartment; the Ornithological items were kept in a library in his Charlottesville, Virginia, home. At the time that the Martin library went on sale in 1989, its approximate value was estimated at $30 million dollars or more.

As readers may have gathered thus far, the Martin sale was a complex one. On an elemental level, simply the logistical aspects of the Martin sale were fairly detailed, with the sale spread over a year and divided into 9 parts. Selections from all parts of the sale toured major American cities in the months leading up to the sale. [For those who must have all information, the formal full-title names for these 9 sales were as follows (and I warn you, they are a mouthful): Sale 5870/The Martin Library, Part I: Audubon/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/John James Audubon/Magnificent Books and Manuscripts (Tuesday, August 6, 1989); Sale 5871/The Martin Library, Part II: Magnificent Ornithology/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Magnificent Color-Plate Ornithology (Wednesday, June 7, 1989); Sale 5872/The Martin Library, Part III: Selby/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/The Original Watercolors for Selby’s Illustrations of British Ornithology (Thursday, June 8, 1989); The Martin Library, Part IV: French Literature/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important French Literature (Monday, October 16, 1989); Sale 5953/The Martin Library, Part V: Ornithology/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important Illustrated and Scientific Ornithology (Tuesday, December 12 & Wednesday, December 13, 1989); Sale 5971/The Martin Library, Part VI: American Literature/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important American and Children’s Literature (Tuesday, January 30 & Wednesday, January 31, 1990); Sale 5972/The Martin Library, Part VII: Americana/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana (Wednesday, January 31, 1990); Sale 5998/The Martin Library, Part VIII: English Literature/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important English Literature (Monday, April 30, 1990 & Tuesday, May 1st, 1990); and, finally, Sale 6036/The Martin Library, Part IX: Books and Illuminated Manuscripts/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important Books and Illuminated Manuscripts (Thursday, June 14, 1990).]

Each catalogue for each part of the sale was a work of art and scholarship onto itself, and each came complete with both a general introduction to H. Bradley Martin the man and to the particular collection in question for that part of the sale. It seems, for our purposes, unnecessary to quote from any of the particular introductions to parts of the sale except for the Americana part, the subject with which most Æ readers are most familiar and engaged. So here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction to the Americana part of the Martin library, just to give ourselves a flavor of that part of the collection.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions