Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Big Declaration Day!

Well yesterday must have been a pretty exciting day at Christie's New York.

As expected, pride of place in the Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, Including Americana sale was Lot 66, the first Boston printing of the Declaration of Independence, printed by John Gill, and Powars and Willis (c. 17 July 1776). This edition, of which just six copies are known (MHS, Bostonian Society, BPL, UVa and two in private hands) is the same as that which sold at Skinner in November 2007 for $693,500 ... this particular copy - which is in notably better shape than the Skinner copy - was previously sold at Sotheby's in May 1990. Christie's had put an estimate for this sale at $450,000-650,000, and that proved low: the final price realized was $722,500. No word yet on the buyer.

Other things sold fairly well too: an archive of Edith Wharton materials made $182,500; Washington's manuscript map of Mount Vernon fetched $116,500; the early edition of Champlain's voyages $68,500; the complete first octavo edition of Audubon's Birds of America didn't sell, but the imperfect copy of the same, sold by the Montclair Art Museum went for $37,500; the Lincoln assassination reward poster sold for $40,000; and the 1846 anastatic copy of the Declaration of Independence sold for the low end of the estimate at $25,000.

The Ethan Allen letter to Crevecoeur I mentioned here, and another Washington manuscript, are not mentioned among the results.