Friday, June 13, 2008

Auction Reports: Christie's & Bloomsbury

Christie's New York held a sale of Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, Including Americana yesterday, which brought in just about $2.5 million. Two of the major expected high spots (the signed, limited Ulysses and a Samuel Beckett collection) failed to sell, but there were some high prices realized:

- An Einstein manuscript diagramming his special theory of relativity sold for $230,500.

- A letter by George Washington written when he was president-elect made $194,500.

- A Kelmscott Chaucer in the original binding fetched $146,500.

- The first edition, first issue of Poe's Tales (1845) made $134,500.

- A John Adams letter from February 1801 (after Adams knew he had lost his bid for re-election) sold for $37,500.

Bloomsbury's Bibliophile Sale was, as I suggested, the place to get a bargain on some interesting if not particularly expensive items. Few lots exceeded the high estimates, and some sold for much less than expected (a 1649 Elzevir for £65, &c.).