Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Auction Report: Highlights and Upcoming

- At Christie's 1 June sale, the Hogarth prints once owned by Dickens made £22,500. The first edition A Christmas Carol sold for £17,500. At the 3 June sale, the Oriental Scenery set met expectations, realizing £241,250. The 14th-century illuminated Bible fetched £217,250. A Tchaikovsky music manuscript went for £97,250. The quartet of Blaeu maps did slightly better than expected, pulling in £85,250.

- Bonhams New York will sell Fine Books and Manuscripts on 10 June at 1 p.m. Highlights include a great deal of travel and exploration literature and Hawaiiana, plus a ton of modern literary works. Among the lots are a Mercator-Hondius atlas ($20,000-30,000), a first edition of Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625-6) ($30,000-50,000); and a first edition Great Gatsby (1925) ($80,000-120,000).

- On 24 June, Christie's New York will sell Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, Including Americana. The top spot is expected to belong to another copy of 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 has put an estimate for this sale at $450,000-650,000.

Other highlights from the Christie's sale include a George Washington manuscript topographical map of Mount Vernon ($100,000-150,000); another Washington manuscript from after the French & Indian War ($90,000-120,000); an early edition of Champlain's voyages ($60,000-80,000); the Ethan Allen letter to Crevecoeur I mentioned here ($50,000-70,000); a first octavo edition of Audubon's Birds of America ($50,000-70,000); another, imperfect copy of the same, sold by the Montclair Art Museum ($40,000-60,000); a Lincoln assassination reward poster ($35,000-55,000); an 1846 anastatic copy of the Declaration of Independence ($25,000-35,000 - I'll be very interested to see what this does).