Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2003 Issue

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

Bm2536

Great copies can still be found.

It was a privilege and a great pleasure to work with Bradley on the development of his Library and to share his knowledge and love of books. The unqualified enthusiasm and excitement with which this material is now being received by his fellow collectors testifies to his extraordinary achievement.
During the year before the sale, when the selected pieces from the Martin sale were touring major cities across the country, the upcoming auction got a fair amount of press. These write-ups were very positive and anticipatory about the coming of what was shaping up to be a major book and manuscript sale. For instance, articles about the tour and the upcoming Martin auction were featured in The Chicago Sun-Times (March 21, 1989); The Los Angeles Times (March 27, 1989); and The New York Times (December 21, 1988, and in “Auctions” by Rita Reif, June 2, 1989). I would quote these articles here except that they are all by and large formulaic and repeat, almost word for word, the Sotheby’s press release previously quoted in this article. Still, they do convey a mix of intrigue and wonderment at both the Martin collection and at the fact that viewing of select portions of it was then available to the general public in their specific localities.

However, like many book auctions the Martin sale was also one not without some controversy. Sotheby’s jockeyed with other auction houses for the Martin Library and walked away the victor, leaving some of the losing houses a bit worn in the battle and at times a bit bitter about certain aspects of the sale. An article entitled “The Imperfect Binding of H. Bradley Martin’s Rare Book Collection” by David Streitfeld that appeared in The Washington Post on June 6, 1989, deals with some of these slightly more divisive issues at length. The general subject is the last will and testament that H. Bradley Martin left behind, and the feelings of disappointment bordering on resentment which some interested parties (suitors, basically, who courted Mr. Martin when he was alive in the hope that they or their institutions would benefit once he decided to disperse of his book collection) expressed when they learned that the Martin Library was going whole to Sotheby’s, where it would be sold in parts to the highest bidder. Streitfeld’s article starts this way:
The numbers on H. Bradley Martin’s final tax return were typed without commas, and are so long and so large that it takes a moment to figure out exact amounts – like the bottom line, $51,640,912.43.

Where all this money will go can be deduced from the “Bequests, etc. to surviving spouse” line: $48,090,267.41. The source of his wealth, meanwhile, is explained in the entry for “Decedent’s business or occupation,” which calls him simply a “Collector.”

That is like identifying Picasso as a “Painter.”….

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.

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