Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Auction Report: Bonhams (and an Adams pamphlet)

The big story, if not the biggest seller, out of the Bonhams New York sale of Books, Maps and Manuscripts on 15 December was Charles Dickens' toothpick, which sold for $9,150. Full results of the sale are here, and other highlights include:

- A fourth folio Shakespeare (1685), which made $103,700.

- A very rare pre-publication presentation copy (in a really nice binding) of a John Adams work, Letters ([London, 1786]), a collection of letters between Adams and Dr. Henrik Calkoen. This copy was presented to Adams' cousin, Ward Nicholas Boylston. It sold for $109,800.

Interestingly, there are not very many copies of this pamphlet at all, and since there were a couple different issues, it's not clear exactly how many of this particular version there are. Here's what it looks like to me: there's one here at MHS (a presentation copy to Adams' brother-in-law Richard Cranch, and obtained for us by Jeremy Belknap through a trade with Cranch); two at the Boston Athenaeum (one with the bookplate of Adams' grandson Charles Francis, the other in the Washington collection, sent to him by Benjamin Lincoln in 1788 - the record for that one is here), one at Princeton, and one in the British Library. The Washington copy is bound with other pamphlets; the Princeton copy is in marbled paper wraps, and ours at MHS was rebound in the 1960s. ESTC lists another at the American Antiquarian Society, but I don't find it in their online catalog.

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

I was just reading about Ward Nicholas Boylston at the MHS this afternoon.

What a dick.

I doubt that's the type of comment you like to encourage on your blog, and I hope for a higher tone on mine as well. But really.