Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Other Interesting Items at Swann Sale

Earlier in the week I mentioned that a first edition of the Book of Mormon will be sold at Swann Galleries in NYC on 22 March as part of their Printed & Manuscript Americana sale. I got a chance to browse through the catalog today and found a few other items that I thought were particularly noteworthy (although most of the sale looks like it will be fairly interesting). All out of my price range, of course, but interesting nevertheless.

- Lot 18: The Aitken Bible - the first printing of the complete Bible in English in America (Philadelphia, 1782; 1781). With the rare general title page. One of fewer than 100 known copies of this work; the only Bible ever authorized by Congress. Estimate: $30,000-40,000.

- Lot 43: Report of the Committee, to Inquire into the Conduct of Brigadier Gen. J. Wilkinson (Washington, 1810). The official report of the congressional investigation into the Aaron Burr/James Wilkinson plot. Quite rare. Estimate: $1,000-1,500.

- Lot 81: First edition of Noah Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York, 1828). Pretty rough condition. Estimate: $8,000-12,000.

- Lot 115: Benjamin Franklin's Rules for Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One (London, 1793). First solo edition of this biting pamphlet (first printed in 1773), which attacks the British government's handling of the American colonies in the years leading up to the Revolution. Estimate: $300-400.

- Lot 126: First collected edition of The Federalist Papers (New York, 1788), in two volumes. In rough shape (covers detached, losses to backstrips, library markings), but nonetheless estimated to bring $40,000-60,000.

- Lot 254: Nathaniel Ames' An Astronomical Diary; or Almanack for the Year of our Lord Christ 1772 (Boston, 1771). With three engravings by Paul Revere. Estimate: $2,000-3,000.

- Lot 267: Thomas Paine's Common Sense, a February, 1776 printing (the later of two printed that year at Norwich, CT). Estimate: $5,000-7,000.

- Lot 321: George Vancouver's A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World (London, 1798). Includes the complete Atlas. Estimate: $40,000-60,000.

- Lot 336: Alexander Wilson and Charles Lucien Bonaparte's American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States (William Jardine, ed; London and Edinburgh, 1832), with 97 hand-colored plates. "Contains all of Wilson's works and the first 3 volumes of Bonaparte's continuation, with all plates re-engraved to scale by Lizars." What makes this set interesting is that it each volume is signed by noted American ornithologist John Cassin. Estimate: $2,000-3,000.