Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Auction Report: Christie's

Today's Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts sale at Christie's London had much promise, many of the top-shelf items failed to sell. The sale brought in £2,280,125, but 31 of the 91 lots failed to sell (including the collection of Alan Turing offprints (for which Google pledged $100,000 this morning on behalf of Bletchley Park - bidding reportedly reached £240,000, but the reserve was not met; a private sale is now possible). Also not finding a buyer were the original index cards of Nabokov's The Original of Laura, est. £100,000-150,000.

The top seller was a (mostly) 10th-century French manuscript of Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, previously owned by Sir Thomas Phillipps. It made £421,250, while a copy of Claudius Ptolemy's Cosmographia (Ulm: 1482) fetched £217,250. A 15th-century German literary sammelband made £205,250. The Apple 1, the first Apple computer (1976), with the original packaging, a letter from Steve Jobs, &c. sold for £133,250, and the Enigma Machine made £67,250. A first edition of Smith's Wealth of Nations fetched £157,250.

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