Saturday, October 30, 2010

November Auction Preview

- On 4 November, Sotheby's London will sell Travels, Atlases, Maps and Natural History books, in 214 lots. Top estimates (£60,000-80,000 apiece) go to Basilius Besler's Hortus Eystettensis (1613), called the "earliest pictorial record of flowers from a single garden", and an interesting composite atlas in four volumes from around 1740.

- Christie's Paris will sell Importants Livres Anciens, Livres d'Artistes et Manuscrits on 9 November, in 193 lots. The lot rating the top estimate is a fragment of Saint-Exupéry's manuscript of Pilote de guerre, which could fetch €120,000-180,000 (there's also much more Saint-Exupéry material in the sale). A first edition of Descartes' Discours de la Méthode is estimated at €50,000-70,000.

- The annual Skinner Fine Books & Manuscripts sale will be held on 14 November, in 686 lots. A 1776 Exeter, NH broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence is expected to be the top lot, estimated at $300,000-500,000. This is an interesting piece, having descended through a single family. Another interesting Revolutionary broadside is a copy of the Declaration for Taking up Arms (est. $40,000-60,000). There's a very interesting Thomas Jefferson letter sending a copy of his plan for UVa to a new college, a collection of Edward Curtis's works on American Indians (being sold separately), and Audubon's White Pelican (est. $50,000-75,000).

- Bloomsbury London will sell the second round of books from the Richard Harris collection of Natural History and Colourplate Books on 19 November, in 353 lots.

- On 23 November at Christie's London, Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts, in 91 lots. A collection of Alan Turing offprints rates the top estimate, at £300,000-500,000, but perhaps the lot that will attract the most attention is the original index cards of Nabokov's The Original of Laura, est. £100,000-150,000. Rating the same estimate is an example of the Apple 1, the first Apple computer (1976), with the original packaging, a letter from Steve Jobs, &c. There's also an Enigma Machine, which is pretty neat (est. £30,000-50,000).

- Sotheby's Paris will have a Books and Manuscripts sale on 24 November. I'll add a preview here when information is available. [Added: the catalog is now available here].

- Christie's London will sell Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts on 30 November, in 389 lots. The top lot is expected to be a J.K. Rowling manuscript poem about the (almost)-beheading of Nearly Headless Nick (cut from the manuscript of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), which could fetch £25,000-35,000.

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