The Cornelius J. Hauck "History of the Book" collection of more than 700 rare books and associated items is selling this week at Christie's in New York; the first two rounds of sales were completed yesterday, with a final session this morning. The items, which had been housed at the Museum Center of Cincinnati since 1966, are being sold to fund other operations and acquisitions.
Hauck's collection, which was created over the course of several decades in the middle of the twentieth century, was the subject of a New York Times profile last week, which notes "The sale features books in all forms, including ancient papyri fragments, Persian manuscripts, European books of hours and Hebrew manuscripts, as well as book-related curiosities, like the only known round bookbinding of the Renaissance, made in leather in 1590 by Caspar Meuser of Dresden for Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg." Another book of interest is a 1907 edition of a work "by William Blake, translated into German, that artisans of the Wiener Werkstätte bound with tanned frog skins."
If you didn't make it to Christie's for the viewing (or for the sale), you can see the items here in their online catalog (or order the paper version). They've really done a marvelous job with the catalog, which is probably the most many of us will get to see of these beautiful items (check this guy out!).
Reports coming out of the auction house during yesterday's session were very positive (at least for those who sell rare books). One person who'd been inside reported that most items were selling for 2-3 times their mid-estimated prices, with some estimates overshot by significantly more. I'll have updates on this as available.