Auction Update Review


A Busy Spring becomes a Busy Summer

For the week ending Saturday June 9th, 2012 15 auctions were archived; 4 denominated in US dollars, 1 in British pounds and 10 in euros.  Ten thousand three hundred and thirteen lots were offered and 6,876 sold for a 67% success rate.  Total turnover was $4,553,276, sixty percent of the aggregate high estimate of all lots offered.  The spring marathon continues but there is a sense of shallow breathing.


One sale reached 100% of the total of their high lot estimates:


Bruun Rasmussen.  Books and Manuscripts on June 6th:  129%


No sales breached the one million dollar level.


Four sales sold at least 80% of their lots:


Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books Internet bidstart May 31st and ended June 7th:  98%

Bruun Rasmussen.  Books and Manuscripts on June2 6th:  93%

Swann Galleries.  Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, and Ephemera on June 7th:  88%

Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan.  Prints and Illustrated Books on June 1st:  85%


The market is healthy but the mood somewhat somber.  Spain is preparing to step back from the brink of default with a 100 billion euro package from the EU, the Greeks are casting ballots on Tuesday in what is widely viewed as a second referendum on EU participation, and the Chinese government this past week lowered bank rates to stimulate economic activity.  Meanwhile the failure of the recall vote in Wisconsin has people wondering about the benefits of tea.  It turns out that auction sales of books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera are altogether a trailing indicator and they are walking close behind elephants that recently had a hearty meal.


For the week ahead 21 sales are scheduled:


Monday June 11th Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics [81].  4,868 lots


Tuesday June 12th    Bonhams.  Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photos [20137].  164 lots

                                    Christie’s.  Masterworks of Italian Photography 1945-1975 from the Collection of Paolo Morello [4225].
  150 lots

                                    Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots


Wed. June 13th         Christie’s.  Books [5334].  219 lots

                                      Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots

                                    Rupert Toovey and Co.  Prints [1047].  9 lots


Thurs.  June 14th      Ader.  Letters and Manuscripts, Autographs, Collection of E. H. and diverses [18348].  328 items

                            Books – internet bidstart 6-7 [19].

                                    Bloomsbury Auctions.  Books and Manuscripts [35931].  728 lots

                                    Gonnelli Casa d’ Aste.  Prints [483].                                         

                                    Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books – internet bidstart 6-8 [201224]

                                    Kiefer – Buch- und Kunstauktionen.  Books and Graphics continuing [81].  4,868 lots

                                    Swann Galleries.  American Art / Contemporary Art [2281].  282 items


Friday June 15th        Gonnelli Casa d’ Aste.  Photographs [487].

                                    Sotheby’s.  Fine Books and Manuscripts [NO8864].  195 lots

                                    The Romantic Agony.  Books [48a].  593 lots


Saturday June 16th   Clars Auction Gallery.  Art and German Literature Books [61612]

                                    The Romantic Agony.  Books [48b]


Sunday June 17th     Bonhams.  Period Art and Design [20110]

                                    Clars Auction Gallery.  Art and German Literature Books continuing [61612].


Sailing deeper into summer the sales continue unabated.  Every year, for the next ten, the volume of lots will increase.  This summer seems unusual but it simply reflects the new normal.


Bruce McKinney


June 10th, 2012

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.