Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Franklin Proves Recession-Proof (Auction Report: Sotheby's)

This morning's Fine Books and Manuscripts sale at Sotheby's New York (full results here) saw a whopper of a sale: the collection of three early American almanac volumes, including one of just three known copies of Ben Franklin's first issue of Poor Richard's Almanac (1733) and the only known copy of Birkett's Almanac (also 1733), smashed presale estimates ($100,000-150,000) into the ground, selling for $566,500.

The almanacs have been owned by the Berwick (PA) Historical Society for decades, but were only discovered in January when the almanac collection was examined. The society will use the proceeds to "take over and restore Jackson Mansion, which currently houses City Hall," according to local media reports.

No word yet on a buyer - if I hear, I'll update this post.

In other news from this sale, the Lewis & Clark account sold for $68,500 (not meeting estimates); A. Edward Newton's copy of Walton's Compleat Angler fetched $86,500; an 1865 reissue of McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America made $80,500; the Shakespeare fourth folio did not sell.