Monday, November 09, 2009

Auction Report: PBA & Upcoming

At the PBA Galleries Americana, Cartography, and Travel & Exploration of 5 November, the highlight was a copy of the first English edition of Patrick Gass' A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery ... (London, 1808), which sold for $7,800. The nine volumes of the fourth and fifth series of Peter Force's American Archives (1837-1848), including a flawed copy of the folding Declaration of Independence (est. $20,000-30,000) did not sell, and the clipped signature of Billy the Kid (est. $10,000-15,000) was withdrawn.

Don't forget the Skinner sale in Boston on 15 November.

Some upcoming auctions at Christie's London:

- On 23 November they'll sell Fine Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Traditional Sports. Notable items from among the 314 lots include include two of Sigmund Freud's walking sticks (lot 139, $3800-5300); Leo Africanus's rare description of Africa, De Totius Africae descriptione, 1556, of which only two copies have sold at auction since 1975 (lot 235, $4600-7500); the first edition of Gervase Markham's important book on horsemanship, Cavelarice, or The English Horseman, 1607 (lot 54: est. $3100-4500); a selection of books by H.G. Wells with interesting original drawings by the author (including lot 74, $1600-2300; and lot 75, $910-1400; a nice presentation copy of Evelyn Waugh's Mr Loveday's Little Outing, 1937, inscribed by Waugh to the daughter of Earl Beauchamp who served as model for Lord Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited (lot 107, $1100-1500), and quite a few interesting Russian items including some very interesting Nabokov titles.

- On 24 November, Christie's will sell Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books. Designed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, this sale comprises 81 lots, including some lovely Darwiniana. Lot 46 is a copy of the four-volume Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle (London: 1839), estimated at $29,898-41,525; lot 47 is one of just 15 copies of Darwin's On the Connexion of Certain Volcanic Phenomena in South America (a paper delivered at the Geological Society in 1838 and published the following year, est. $19,932-29,898). Lot 48 is a beautiful copy of the first edition of Origin, estimated at $66,440-99,660.

But the expected high spots of this auction lie among the non-Darwin items. A 1547 illuminated manuscript of Olivier de la Marche's Le Chevalier délibéré (Lot 7, est. $581,350-830,500) with very interesting provenance is sure to be extremely interesting, as is Lot 5, a c. 1470 illuminated manuscript on vellum of Petrarch's Il Canzoniere and I Trionfi and related works (est. $498,300-664,400). A lovely colored Blaeu atlas (1649-55), lot 43, is estimated at $215,930-298,980. This is a small sale, but it's got some real gems.

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