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 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.
In the end, not making a decision was a decision. [Streitfeld, ibid.]