Reference Books on Manuscripts from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books
Item 89 offers the seven volumes of perhaps the most spectacular book auction ever, the Estelle Doheny sale at Christie's from 1987-89. Estelle was the wife, later widow, of oil tycoon Edward Laurence Doheny. He discovered oil near Los Angeles around the turn of the century, and eventually amassed a fortune in oil in Mexico. Mrs. Doheny began collecting books in the 1920s at the instance of Frank Hogan, an attorney and major book collector himself (and Mr. Doheny's counsel when he was charged during the Teapot Dome scandal). She obviously enjoyed book collecting and had the funds to do so on a grand sale. Her collection would grow to include some of the most valuable of works imaginable, including a Gutenberg Bible. By 1940, her collection had grown too large for her to house, so she created a library, named for her husband, at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California. She would continue to contribute books to the library until her death in 1958. Ultimately, the St. John's Seminary would prove to be an odd place for such a collection, which also included such items as numerous Mark Twain books and letters and signatures of most signers of the Declaration of Independence. In other words, it contained mostly secular material. Maintaining and insuring it was costly and its use in such a library limited, so the decision was made to sell the collection at auction (Doheny's gift stipulated that the library could not sell her collection until at least 25 years after her death). The sale ran from 1987-1989, took place at several locations, and the items are described in seven volumes here offered, including six of descriptions and the seventh an index and price list. All told, the auction took in over $37 million. 600 (US $878).
Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books is found online at www.fritsknuf.com, telephone 0033 (0) 254 722 656, email email@example.com.