Auction Update Review


Breaking for Home

The martini shakers and brandy snifters are out, feet are up on desks and reservations, long ago made, are now about to be cashed.  It is that moment once again to celebrate getting through the season and to escape for a few weeks the bang and din of combat.  This year the fight is more pitched than usual because forces, larger than the market, by chance and on purpose, turn auction lots into mineshaft canaries – anxiously observed as harbingers of the season coming.


The news is mostly good although rampant austerity now grips the land.  The effects of the decline in 2008 that many hoped were temporary now seem embedded in collective thinking.  The field perseveres on a diet of beer rather than champagne.


Inveterate collectors and institutions continue their steady pursuit while dealers buy less on speculation.  The material, at many levels, is superb but the eyes to see are sometimes clouded by the rat-ta-tat of increasing lot volume, the apparent tapering of sales on listing sites, the aging of collectors and the sundry personal uncertainties that economic downturns randomly expose.  It is difficult to pull the trigger at the very time greater visibility and research tools are bringing more exceptional material to light.


For the week twenty-two auctions were archived; eleven denominated in dollars, five in British Pounds, five in Euros and one in Swiss Francs.  Seven thousand nine hundred and forty-five lots were offered and five thousand three hundred and forty-four sold for a 67% success rate.  The sales, befitting a market peaking into the holiday shut down, were robust:  $18,594,981 against the aggregate high estimate of all lots offered:  $19,435,979 or 96%.  Sotheby’s as is their December tradition, dominated the results with two sales, together 512 lots, which raised $10,103,642.


For the week six sales reached or exceeded 100% of the total of their high estimates:


Ader.  Autographs and Manuscripts on December 13th:  207%

Alde.  Library of an Amateur from Lyon on December 14th:  203%

Dorotheum.  Autographs on December 9th:  167%

Ader.  Juidaica, Paintings, Sculptures, Liturgical Objects, Books:  135%

Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts on December 13th:  112%

Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History, Children’s Books on December 15th:  103%


The following sales reached or exceeded one million dollars in total receipts:


Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts on December 13th:  $7,403,638

Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History, and Children’s Books on December 15th:  $2,700,004

Galeries Koller.  Modern Prints on December 9th:  $1,443,511

Swann Galleries.  Photographs on December 13th:  $1,048,132


For the holiday shorted week 5 sales are scheduled


Monday December 19th       Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan.  Photos and Graphics (17714) Christie’s.  Photographs (2495)
Christie’s.  Photographs (2542)
Cowan’s.  Online American History ending (243)


Wednesday December 21st Dorotheum.   Books and Decorative Prints (9169)


To all who have a holiday to celebrate or simply enjoy the time away from the bustle of daily life we wish you the very best for these fleeting moments and for the year ahead.


We ourselves will be away next week and will resume these weekly notes on January 1st.


Bruce McKinney


  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. <i>Nicholas Machiavel's Prince. Also, The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca…</i> Translated by Edward Dacres. London, 1640. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FILSON, John. <i>The Discovery, Settlement and present State of Kentucke: and An Essay towards the Topography, and Natural History of that important Country…</i> Wilmington, Del.: James Adams, 1784. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> ELUARD, Paul. <i>Un poeme dans chaque livre.</i> Paris: Louis Broder, 1956. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LEWIS, James Otto. [<i>Aboriginal Port Folio.</i> Philadelphia: Published by the Author, 1835-1836]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS]. BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin. [Southern Netherlands (Ghent or Bruges), c.1460]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MORE, Thomas, Sir. <i>The Workes ... wrytten by him in the Englysh tongue.</i> Edited by William Rastell. London, 1557. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. MORRIS, William. <i>Love is Enough.</i> Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 1897. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed as President (“A. Lincoln”), 24 February 1863. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> WASHINGTON, George. Address panel with autograph free frank signed ("G:o Washington"), as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, 5 August 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Beastly Baby.</i> N.p.: The Fantod Press, 1962. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FROST, Robert. Photographic reproduction signed and inscribed ("Robert Frost”), to R.V. Thornton, 1955. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Bug Book.</i> New York: Looking Glass Library, 1959. $500 to $700.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Book of Hours with Illuminated Miniatures, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Conradus de Alemania [Halberstadt the Elder], <i>Concordantiae Bibliorum,</i> Strassburg, 1474. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Christopher Marlowe, <i>The Jew of Malta,</i> London, 1633. Earliest extant edition of this antiauthoritarian Elizabethan play. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b><br>Sir Isaac Newton, <i>The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,</i> first edition in English, 2 volumes, London, 1729. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> John Rae, <i>Narrative of an Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847,</i> first edition, London, 1850. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Philip Pittman, <i>The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi…,</i> first edition, London, 1770. $10,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Cyanotype of an anatomy class at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1895. $300 to $400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Equine veterinary formulary, manuscript on paper, East Earl, Pennsylvania, circa 1860. $400 to $600.
  • <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> REGAMEY, Felix (1844-1906). Unique drawing showing Verlaine and Rimbaud in London, September 1872. €70,000 to 100,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LABORDE, Alexandre de (1773-1842). <i>Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Espagne.</i> Paris : 1806-1820. €20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> BOCCACE, Jean (1313-1375). <i>Il Decamerone…</i> Venise : Gabriele Giolito di Ferrari, 1542.<br>€ 12,000 to 15,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LAMBERT, Yvon (1936). Full collection of writings from <i>Une rêverie émanée de mes loisirs.</i> Paris : 1992 - 2018. €50,000 to 70,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> JOUVE, Paul (1878-1973) -- KIPLING, Rudyard (1865-1936). <i>La Chasse de Kaa.</i> Paris : Javal & Bourdeaux, 1930. €2,000 to 3,000