Thursday, June 10, 2010

Auction Report: Recent Highlights

Before I head off for another day of RBS-fun, here are some recent prices realized from the various auctions over the past week (which I previewed here):

- The 2 June Christie's sale of Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books made £1,612,100, with 70 of the 90 lots selling. The top sellers were the manuscript on vellum of The Book of John Mandeville (£289,250); a very interesting Tudor-period manuscript tract on humanistic topics (£121,250, over estimates of just £25,000-35,000); Georg Braun's Civitates orbis terrarum (1618-1625), which made £97,250 (also beating estimates); and the copy of Darwin's Origin owned by Darwin bibliographer R.B. Freeman (£91,250). The Boccaccio made £58,850.

- The first round of Forbes' Churchill collection sales was also held 2 June, and made £577,062. Just 84 of the 144 lots sold. The highest price went for a very rare copy of Churchill's For Free Trade (1906) in the original binding, which made £39,650.

- At the 7 June Christie's sale of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts, the total was £681,500, with 266 of 354 lots sold. Kepler's Harmonices mundi libri V (1619) claimed the top spot, selling for £30,000. The 58-volume collection of c. 350 pamphlets, with 50 of the volumes uniformly bound, brought in £22,500.

- The 8-9 June Sotheby's sale of the Collection of Patricia Kluge brought in a whopping $15,158,176, but the numbers were with the furniture and artworks, not the books. The highest-selling book lot was a collection of Twain's works, which made $27,500. Full results here.

- Sotheby's London's 9 June sale of Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts on 9 June made £776,288. Full results here. The Bach manuscript beat out Schubert, making £70,850; the Franz Schubert autograph manuscript fetched £54,050; the 1821 Beethoven letter sold for £33,650.

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