Monday, March 31, 2008

Upcoming Auctions

Quite a few big, exciting auctions coming up soon. A sampling:

- On Wednesday (2 April), Christies New York will sell the Kenyon Starling Library of Charles Dickens, an absolutely remarkable collection of some two hundred lots of Dickensiana. Notable highlights include a manuscript leaf from The Pickwick Papers in Dickens' hand ($150,000-200,000); and a presentation copy of Oliver Twist, in exquisite binding and inscribed to William Harrison Ainsworth ($200,000-300,000). The total sale is estimated to bring in $1.8-2.8 million.

- Sotheby's will hold a sale of Presidential and Other American Manuscripts on 3 April; the highlights here are a whole slew of Lincoln manuscripts, including a letter written from the White House in April 1864 in response to a petition from 195 children calling on Lincoln to free the slaves. That letter alone is estimated to sell for $3-5 million).

- Bloomsbury New York has two major sales this week: on 5 April they'll auction Important Printed Books and Manuscripts, and on 9 April they've got an American Civil War sale. The first will include a composite manuscript, "consisting of a compendium of discretely produced manuscripts, originally from more than one codex, that were assembled in the 13th century to provide the entire corpus of works that make up the Aristotelian Organon ('The Instrument') ($200,000-250,000), several important incunabula, an Isaac Newton manuscript page ($35,000-40,000), a first edition of Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects ($20,000-30,000), and some very nice sets.

The Civil War sale will include some very notable broadsides, an official facsimile printing of South Carolina's act of secession ($20,000-30,000), a convention delegate's copy of the final Confederate constitution ($50,000-70,000) and a lovely copy of Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War, containing 100 original silver albumen photographs ($130,000-150,000).

I'll keep an eye on these and report on any interesting results.

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