Saturday, December 03, 2011

Auction Preview: December Sales

- PBA Galleries sold Fine Books on 1 December; results are here.

- Also on 1 December, Swann sold Americana and Ocean Liner Memorabilia. Sharing the top sale price of $24,000 were a collection of Joseph Dwight papers from King George's War, and a copy of the first newspaper printing of the Bill of Rights.

- At Sotheby's London on 6 December, a strikingly beautiful sale of Western and Oriental Manuscripts, in 56 lots. A 15th-century Spanish manuscript on vellum of Ludolf of Saxony's Vita Christi, in a contemporary binding, rates the top estimate, £80,000-100,000. Also see Lot 45, Walter Hilton's Scala perfectionis, with some gruesome penwork illustrations.

- Bloomsbury has a Bibliophile Sale on 8 December, in 611 lots.

- Swann sells Maps, Atlases, Natural History and Historical Prints on 8 December, in 373 lots (the very first of which is a beautiful Blaeu map of Bermuda).

- On 13 December, Sotheby's New York sells Fine Books & Manuscripts in 352 lots. Most of the attention is going to the collection of Raymond Chandler manuscripts, first editions, and association copies and to the original Apple Computer contract (est. $100,000-150,000), but the sale's certainly got a little something for everyone's tastes (if, perhaps, not everyone's wallet). The top estimate ($300,000-500,000) goes to a George Washington letter, perhaps a retained copy of the note he sent to the House of Representatives thanking its members for their congratulatory message to him upon his inauguration. The letter comes from the collections of the Bennington Museum. A previously unknown notebook of Rabindranath Tagore could fetch $150,000-250,000, and a set of Henry Popple's America septentionalis (1733-34) from the collections of the Ishpeming, MI Carnegie Public Library rates a $100,000-150,000 estimate (as we see the trend of institutions selling off important pieces continue). The sale also includes more documents from the James S. Copley library. Watch the winter issue of Fine Books & Collections for my rundown of this sale.

- At Bloomsbury on 14-15 December, Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Works on Paper, in 982 lots. A first edition of Graham Greene's Rumour at Nightfall rates the top estimate, £10,000-15,000.

- Bonhams sells Fine Books and Manuscripts on 15 December in New York City, in 290 lots. Fore-edge paintings, original illustrations by Maurice Sendak, and a small collection of documents relating to a Revolutionary War P.O.W. are among the highlights.

- Also on 15 December, PBA Galleries holds a sale of Americana, Travel, and Cartography, in 314 lots. The top estimate, $6,000-9,000, goes to a 32-volume set, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and published at Cleveland 1904-07.

- Sotheby's London has English Literature, History, Private Press, Children's Books & Illustrations on 15 December, in 162 lots. The big kahuna here is the unpublished Charlotte Brontë miniature manuscript, estimated at £200,000-300,000 (and coming from the collection of T.J. Wise). A first edition set of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey rates the next-highest estimate, at £70,000-100,000. A Second Folio (missing leaves A1 and A2) is estimated at £45,000-60,000.

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