Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Streeter Sale Smashes Estimates

I'm not sure yet just how many records were set this week at Christie's with the sale of the Frank S. Streeter Library, but some of the realized prices are little short of staggering. Presale estimates were battered into the ground by what had to have been some very intense bidding battles. I haven't read any firsthand dispatches from the auction yet, and so far the only press story I can find is in the Vancouver Sun (here), so bear with me. That said, I think the prices tell their own story. Since there were so many highlights of this sale, I'm going to focus on the lots which realized upwards of $100,000*:

- Lot 60: William Bourne's A Regiment for the Sea: Conteyning most profitable Rules, Mathematical experiences, and perfect knowledge of Navigation, for all Coastes and Countreys: most needefull and necessarie for all Seafaring men and Travellers, as Pilotes, Mariners, Marchants, &c. London: [1574?]. Called the first printed original treatise on navigation by an Englishman, this was the first copy to appear at auction in more than thirty years. Presale estimate: $50-70K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 101: Samuel de Champlain's Les Voyages de la Nouvelle France occidentale, dicte Canada faits par le Sr Champlain Xainctongeois, Capitaine pour le Roy en la Marine du Ponant, & toutes les Descouvertes qu'il a faites en ce paos depuis l'an 1603. Iusques en l'an 1629. Paris: chez Pierre le Mur, 1632. This copy includes the first map of the "entire Great Lakes network." Presale estimate: $90-120K. Sold for $264,000.

- Lot 109: Louis Choris, Voyage Pittoresque Autour de Monde, avec des portraits de sauvages d'Amérique, d'Asie, d'Afrique, et des iles du Grand Ocean; des Paysages, des Vues Maritimes, et plusieurs objets d'histoire naturelle; Accompagné de Descriptions par M. le Baron Cuvier, et M.A. de Chamisso. Paris: Imprimerie de Firmin Didot, 1822-[?1823] with Choris' Vues et Paysages des Régions Équinoxiales, recueillis dans un voyage autour du monde, avec une introduction et un texte explicatif. Paris: Paul Renouard, 1826. Presale estimate: $50-70K. Sold for $156,000.

- Lot 124: Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium with Rheticus, De libris revolutionum Nicolai Copernici Narratio prima. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566. The second edition of Copernicus, this copy with a very interesting provenance (once owned by Henry Briggs, Henry Gellibrand and John Wells, all early English Copernicans). Presale estimate: $60-90K. Sold for $180,000.

- Lot 126: Martin Cortés, The Arte of Navigation, Conteyning a Compendious Description of the Sphere, with the Making of Certayne Instruments and Rules for Navigations: and Exemplified by Many Demonstrations. Translated from Spanish into English by Richard Eden. London: Richard Jugge, 1572. Second edition in English, with a rare map of "The Newe Worlde." Only one copy of another early edition (1584) of this title at auction in the last thirty years. Presale estimate: 70-100K. Sold for $120,000.

- Lot 135: Alexander Dalrymple, A Collection of Charts and Memoirs. London, 1771-72. An atlas of Pacific charts, as well as Dalrymple's writings on Pacific voyages. Presale estimate: $20-30K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 148: J.F.W. Des Barres, The Atlantic Neptune, published for the use of the Royal Navy of Great Britain... under the Directions of the Right Honble. the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. London, [1774-1779]. Four volume atlas of the eastern seaboard of America, described as "the most splendid collection of charts, plans and views ever published." Presale estimate: $400-600K. Sold for $779,200.

- Lot 166: Sir Robert Dudley, Arcano del Mare. Florence: Giuseppe Cocchini for Jacopo Bagononi and Antonfrancesco Lucini, 1661. Second edition of this, "the first sea-atlas compiled by an Englishman, the first atlas to show the charts constructed on the Mercator projection, the first to show prevailing winds and currents in the principal harbors, and the first to give magnetic declination." Presale estimate: $250-350K. Sold for $824,000.

- Lot 174: The East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, on One Hundred and Eighteen Plates: Containing a Complete Collection of Charts and Plans, &c., &c. for the Navigation not only of the Indian and China Seas, but of those also between England and the Cape of Good-Hope; Improved and Chiefly Composed from the Last Work of M. D'Apres de Mannevillette; with Considerable Additions, from Private Manuscripts of the Dutch, and from Draughts and Actual Surveys Communicated By Officers of the East-India Company A New Edition, Containing One Hundred and Five Charts. London: Robert Laurie and James Whittle, 1799. A collection of navigation charts "for navigating all the coasts which might be encountered between England and the East Indies. Also included were charts for navigating between England and the Cape of Good Hope." Presale estimate: $25-35K. Sold for $144,000.

- Lot 178: Martín Fernández de Enciso, Suma de geographia que trata de todas las partidas y prouincias del mundo: en especial delasindias. Y trata largemente del arte del marear: juntamente con la espera en romance: con el regimiento del sol y del norte: nueuamente hecha. Seville: Jacob Cromberger, 1519. "The first book printed in Spanish relating to America, the first practical guide to sailing in American waters and the first navigational manual printed in Spain." This copy once owned by Marqués de Caracena, the Spanish Governor-general of the Netherlands. Presale estimate: $60-90K. Sold for 288,000.

- Lot 185: Lewis Evans, Geographical, Historical, Political, Philosophical and Mechanical Essays. The First, Containing an Analysis of a General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America; And of the Country of the Confederate Indians: A Description of the Face of the Country; the Boundaries of the Confederates; and the Maritime and Inland Navigations of the several Rivers and Lakes contained therein. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and D. Hall, 1755. An important pre-independence American map. Presale estimate: $90-120K. Sold for $168,000.

- Lot 197: Luke Foxe, North-West Fox, or, Fox from the North-West Passage... Following with briefe abstracts of the voyages of Cabot, Frobisher... Mr. James Hall's three voyages to Groynland. London: Printed by B. Alsop and Tho. Fawcet, 1635. First edition, with the rare map of Foxe's Arctic explorations which exists in "but one or two copies." Presale estimate: $40-60K. Sold for $132,000.

- Lot 198: Fracanzano da Montalboddo, Itinerarium Portugallensium e Lusitania in Indiam et inde in occidentem et demum ad aquilonem. Translated from Italian into Latin by Archangelo Madrignano. Milan: J.A. Scinzenzeler, 1508. First edition in Latin of "the first printed collection of voyages, and one of the most important collections of voyages ever printed." Presale estimate: $60-80K. Sold for $192,000.

- Lot 217: Galileo, Dialogo... sopre i due massimi sistemi del mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano. Florence: Gian Battista Landini, 1632. First edition of Galileo's defense of Copernicanism. Presale estimate: $40-60K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 218: Antonio Galvano, The Discoveries of the World from their first originall unto the yeere of our Lord 1555. Edited and translated by Richard Hakluyt. London: G. Bishop, 1601. First edition in English, by Hakluyt. First complete copy sold since 1971. Presale estimate: $40-60K. Sold for $114,000.

- Lot 228: Hieronymus Girava, Dos libros de cosmographia. Milan: G.A. Castiglione and C. Carron, 1556. Includes a world map and a description of Brazil. Only one other copy sold at auction in the last thirty years. Presale estimate: $30-40K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 232: Juan Gonzales de Mendoza, The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China, and the situation thereof: Together with the great riches, huge Citties, politike governement, and rare inventions in the same. Translated from Spanish into English by Robert Parke. London: Printed by I. Wolfe for Edward White, 1588. First edition in English of this history of China; this copy inscribed by Thomas Cavendish. Very rare. Presale estimate: $12-18K. Sold for $216,000. The estimate on this one seems off by an order of magnitude, no?

- Lot 243: Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or over Land, to the most remote and farthest distant Quarters of the earth at any time within the compasse of these 1500 yeeres: Devided into three severall parts, according to the positions of the Regions whereunto they were directed. London: George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, Deputies to Christopher Berber, 1589. First edition of this great collection of English voyages, with the world map. Presale estimate: $40-60K. Sold for $456,000.

- Lot 253: John Harrison, A Narrative of the Proceedings Relative to the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea. London: Printed for the Author and sold by Mr. Sandby, 1765. A pamphlet regarding the second sea trial of Harrison's fourth marine chronometer (Harrison you'll remember from Dava Sobel's delightful book Longitude). Last copy sold was in 1973. Presale estimate: $8-12K. Sold for $114,000.

- Lot 254: Harrison and Maskelyne, The Principles of Mr. Harrison's Time-Keeper, with Plates of the Same. Published by Order of the Commissioners of Longitude. London: W. Richardson and S. Clarke for John Nourse and Mess. Mount and Page, 1767. Includes the ten folding engraved plates. Presale estimate: 25-35K. Sold for $228,000.

- Lot 280: Thomas James, The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James, in his intended Discovery of the Northwest Passage into the South Sea. Wherein the Miseries indured both Going, Wintering, Returning; and the Rarities observed, both Philosophicall and Mathematicall, are related in this Journal of it. London: Printed by John Legatt for John Partridge, 1633. First edition with the map of James' Northwest Passage explorations. Presale estimate: $25-35K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 294: Johannes Kepler, Astronomia nova ... seu physica coelestis, tradita commentariis de motibus stellae martis, ex observationibus G. V. Tychonis Brahe. [Heidelberg: E. Vögelin,] 1609. The first edition of Kepler's key work. Presale estimate: $150-200K. Sold for $204,000. One of the few at the high end which is even close to its estimate.

- Lot 295: Kepler, Harmonices mundi libri V. Linz: Johann Planck for Gottfried Tampach, 1619. Another key Kepler work, containing his third law of planetary motion. Presale estimate: $100-150K. Sold for $144,000. The first of the $100K+ items not to surpass the high estimate.

- Lot 297: Kepler, Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae restauratio continentur. Ulm: Jonas Saur, 1627. First edition of Kepler's astronomical tables, with the folding world map. Presale estimate: $90-120K. Sold for $120,000. Just something about Kepler, I guess.

- Lot 322: Marc Lescarbot, Nova Francia: Or the Description of that Part of New France, which is one continent with Virginia. Described in the three late Voyages and Plantation made by Monsieur de Monts, Monsieur du Pont-Grané, and Monsieur de Poutrincourt, into three countries called by the French men La Cadie, lying to the Southwest of Cape Breton. Translated from French into English by Pierre Erondelle. London: George Bishop, 1609. First English edition by this Champlain rival. The Boies Penrose copy. Presale estimate: $50-70K. Sold for $144,000.

- Lot 325: Lewis and Clark, History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed during the years 1804-5-6. Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1814. First edition, with map; in an early binding. Presale estimate: $100-150K. Sold for $288,000.

- Lot 327: Ian Huygen van Linschoten, His Discours of Voyages unto ye Easte & West Indies. Devided into Foure Bookes. Translated from Dutch into English by William Phillip. London: John Wolfe, 1598. First edition in English, this copy extra-illustrated with plates from the original Dutch edition. Presale estimate: $30-40K. Sold for $156,000.

- Lot 349: Peter Martyr, The Decades of the newe worlde or west India, Conteyning the nauigations and conquestes of the Spanyardes, with the particular description of the moste ryche and large landes and Ilandes lately founde in the west Ocean perteynyng to the inheritance of the kinges of Spayne. Edited and translated into English by Richard Eden. London: William Powell, 1555. "First edition in English of the first collection of voyages printed in English, and the first work to contain narratives of English voyages." This copy owned by British explorer Roger North, later Boies Penrose. Presale estimate: $80-120K. Sold for $768,000. This one astounds me.

- Lot 359: Pedro de Medina, Regimento de navegacion. En que contienen las reglas, declaraciones y avisos del libro del arte de navegar. Seville: Juan Canalla, 1552. First edition of Medina's work, with map of the Atlantic. "Medina's work was intended for ship-born pilots rather than study on land and Drake carried a copy during his circumnavigation." Just one copy sold at auction in the last thirty years. Presale estimate: $30-40K. Sold for $192,000.

- Lot 386: Bartolome Garcia and Gonçalo de Nodal, Relacion del viajé par orden de Su. Magd. y Acverdo del Real Consejo de Indias ... al descubrimiento del Estrecho nuevo de S. Vicente. y reconosimio. del de Magallanes. Madrid: Fernando Correa de Montenegro, 1621. First edition, with the extremely rare map. "[F]amously rare work which even in the 1860s was described by Sabin as 'one of the rarest books of its class.'" An account of the first circumnavigation of Tierra del Fuego by the Nodal brothers. Presale estimate: $20-30K. Sold for $108,000.

- Lot 426: Samuel Purchas, Purchas his Pilgrimes. In five bookes. London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625, with Purchase his Pilgrimage. London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1626. Five volumes of Purchas' collected voyages, a continuation of Hakluyt's work. Called "very fine," in a "near contemporary goatskin binding." Presale estimate: $50-70K. Sold for $576,000.

- Lot 462: Johann Schöner, Opera Mathematica. Nuremberg: J. Montanus and U. Neuber, 1551. Includes eleven woodcut volvelles and a "full-page cut of Schöner's terrestial globe." The first edition of Schöner's star catalog. Presale estimate: $20-30K. Sold for $120,000.

- Lot 465: Willem Corneliszoon Schouten, The Relation of a Wonderfull Voiage made by William Cornelison Schouten of Horne. Shewing how South from the Straights of Magelan, in Terra Del-fuogo: he found and discovered a newe passage through the great South Sea, and that way sayled round about the world. Translated from Dutch into English by William Phillip. London: T. D. for Nathanaell Newbery, 1619. First edition in English of this voyage, "the first time Cape Horn was rounded from the East." The Penrose copy. A rarity. Presale estimate: $30-40K. Sold for $168,000.

- Lot 482: Capt. John Stevens (ed.), A New Collection of Voyages and Travels: with Historical Accounts of Discoveries and Conquests In all Parts of the World. None of them ever before Printed in English... For the Month of December, 1708. To be continu'd Monthly. London: printed, and sold by J. Knapton, J. Round, N. Cliffe, E.Sanger, and A. Collins, 1708. A collection of first editions in English of seven key voyages, mostly translated from Spanish or Portuguese. King George II's copy. Uncommon complete. Presale estimate: $20-30K. Sold for $102,000.

- Lot 501: Vicente Tofiño de San Miguel, Coleccion de cartas de America publicadas por la direction de trabajos hidrograficos. Madrid, 1800. A collection of sixteen maps from the Spanish Atlas Maritimo Español. Presale estimate: $25-35K. Sold for $120,000.

- Lot 524: Henry James Warre, Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory. [London:] Lithographed, Printed & Published by Dickinson & Co., [1848]. First edition, with colored plates, of a series of views of the Northwest by a pair of British "observers." Thomas W. Streeter's copy, left to his son Frank (he of this sale). Presale estimate: $100-150K. Sold for $192,000.

- Lot 534: Edward Wright, Certain Errors in Navigation. Detected and Corrected ... With many Additions that were not in the former Editions. London: Joseph Moxon, 1657. Third edition enlarged, with a Mercator world map and two additional maps. Rare early edition. Presale estimate: $40-60K. Sold for 264,000.

I think that's all. If I missed some, or if I made an oops, let me know.

* Note to self: next time check to see how many fall above the arbitrary cutoff point; had I known how many lots realized more than $100K I think I would have raised the bar for inclusion here. But I digress, and this list is interesting anyway. Further note: these prices, as reported by Christie's, include the buyer's premium and have been rounded to the nearest dollar.


Francesca Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francesca Thomas said...

AAh there are some lovely books there. I was surprised to see the Copernicus (124), as I am right now still reading "the book nobody read - by Owen Gingerich.

I'll be writing my review of Gingerich's book - when I get around to finishing it. Have a few others that I need to finish as well.