Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2003 Issue

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

Bm2548

A great book, an incredible association copy.

Streitfeld goes on to interview and quote from various sources, including some who believe that it would have been against Mr. Martin’s wishes to sell and/or divide his library and some who simply bemoan the fate. “It’s very sad, and it’s a real loss for art historians, ornithologists, historians, and other scholars,” says Carole Slatkin of the New-York Historical Society. The key complainant seems to have been a Miss Gillian Kyles, who acted for nearly four years as Martin’s private librarian for the ornithology collection. So upset was she by the planned sale that she took the step of writing to the executors of the Martin estate, arguing vociferously against the planned sale. “The patrician nowadays – the so-called patricians – seems to be behaving like their yuppie counterparts,” says Kyles. “They aren’t safeguarding the future, which is what the rich did in the past.” To quote Streitfeld again, “Solidly in Klyes’s corner is [Stephen] Massey, the Christie’s rare book expert and a longtime luncheon companion of Martin’s. ‘It’s incorrect to break up the Selby drawings and sell them in this fashion,’ he says. ‘I would go back to Mr. Martin’s stand – he didn’t break them up in his time, why should they be broken up when he’s gone?’”

From this seemingly logical argument, however, Streitfeld goes directly to Martin’s will, which seems to provide incontrovertible evidence to the contrary about his intentions as it makes no specific provisions against dividing or selling any part or parts of his library or collection. Martin’s lawyer John Shroyer is quoted as having advised Mr. Martin that lacking a specific protective provision for the book collection, it would be passed as a general asset to the estate to be sold, and he describes Martin as understanding and assenting to this situation. There are two final quotes worth repeating here on this topic. One is from John R.B. Brett-Smith, “an old friend of Martin’s and a fellow collector who [according to Streitfeld] strives for a balanced view. ‘If Bradley had wanted the thing kept together, he should have so specified it. It’s a very great pity that they’re not being kept together, but one can understand that Sotheby’s for commercial reasons and the executors out of their duty to the estate really have no choice.’” The last word on the subject is eloquently stated by Streitfeld himself:
Martin may have been prey to an occupational hazard among book collectors. He apparently had talks with various institutions about donating certain items, but nothing was ever finalized. He couldn’t force himself to make a decision about his collection, friends and associates have suggested, because he couldn’t bear the thought of parting with any of it.

In the end, not making a decision was a decision. [Streitfeld, ibid.]
In terms of how the Martin sale did, it was as, if not more, monumental than had been expected, with the yield for almost all of its parts far exceeding even optimistic expectations. Sotheby’s had modestly estimated that the collective sales would bring in approximately $30 million dollars. The actual yield for the cumulative sales was an astounding $35,719,750. Further, no one sale did shabbily: Part I (Audubon) yielded $4,308,700; Part II (Ornithology) yielded $5,778,300; Part III (Selby), $1,568,600; Part IV (French Lit.), $1,717,100; Part V (Ornithology), $2,019,600; Part VI (American & Children’s Lit.), $3,538,700; Part VII (Americana), $4,394,775; Part VIII (English Lit.), $6,299,700; and Part IX (Illuminated Manuscripts, etc.), $6,094,275.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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