Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rare Canadiana Among Streeter Lots

Canadian newspapers are (not surprisingly) taking a particularly Canada-centric perspective on the upcoming Streeter Sale (Christies, NY, 16-17 April). Streeter's library "documents both the history of exploration from the 15th century onwards, and the technological advancements devised to achieve these accomplishments," Christies notes.

The Edmonton Journal notes that the library contains many works of importance to Canadian history, including first editions by Champlain, Mackenzie, and Vancouver. Also included is an illustrated 1846 edition of Sketches in North America, drawn up by two British spies as they traversed the Oregon Territory (the boundaries of which were then much in dispute). This last, "now considered one of the most beautiful books ever published about the Pacific Northwest," has a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-150,000.

A J.W.F. DesBarres atlas, The Atlantic Neptune (4v., 1774-9), with extremely accurate depictions of the eastern seaboard of North America, is expected to fetch $500,000 or more. The catalog description of this alone is spectacular. And these few are only the beginning. Purchas, Lewis & Clark, Peter Martyr ... 552 lots, and all highly valuable and desirable works on travel or exploration.

Frank M. Streeter, (1918-2006) worked in the financial industry after serving in the navy during WWII; he advised New York Tribune publisher John Hay Whitney. This is going to be a tremendously fascinating sale, and one for which I think I might have to get the catalog just to have as a useful reference source.

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