Thursday, April 14, 2011

Auction Report: Heritage, Sothebys, & Swann

Swann held a Fine Books and Manuscripts sale on 7 April, in 136 lots, of which all but 25 found buyers. As expected, the top lot here was indeed the deluxe copy of the Golden Cockerel Press Gospels, one of twelve copies printed on vellum and this copy inscribed by Eric Gill to Virginia Woolf. The hammer price of $132,000 nearly doubled the presale estimates of $60,000-75,000.

At Swann's 11 April Early Printed Books, including Armenian Books sale, all but 28 of the 273 lots were sold; the top lot was a copy of John Pine's The Tapestry Hangings of the House of Lords, representing the several Engagements between the English and Spanish Fleets in the memorable year MDLXXXVIII (1739), which made $16,800. The 1621 Armenian manuscript of the Gospels did not sell.

The Heritage manuscript sale (7-9 April in New York) saw some big prices: an archive of letters between Dwight Eisenhower and his brother Edgar sold for $56,762; a Thomas Jefferson letter to his daughter Martha made $50,787; and a George Washington letter to Robert Morris fetched $35,850 (as did a TR letter in which he uses the line "speak softly and carry a big stick"). A small collection of J.D. Salinger letters sold for $33,460. Full results for this sale are here.

Heritage's rare books sale (also 7-9 April) saw a Kelmscott Chaucer sell for $44,812, a 1497 Missal fetched $41,825, and a set of Peter Force's American Archives made $26,290. A first American edition of Moby-Dick sold for $29,875. Full results here.

Sotheby's New York sold Original Illustration Art from the Collections of Kendra and Allan Daniel on 11 April, in 193 lots. Full results are here, and the sale total was $1,330,634. Jessie Willcox Smith's "How Doth the Little Busy Bee" was indeed the top lot, making $386,500 (slightly above the estimates).

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