Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Auction Report: Highlights & Upcoming

The auctions are coming so fast and furious these days I'm having a hard time keeping track of them all!

- The 23 November Christie's London sale of Fine Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Traditional Sports made 502,912 GBP (full results here). Sigmund Freud's walking sticks (lot 139, $3800-5300) made $7,876; the Leo Africanus's, De Totius Africae descriptione, 1556, of which only two copies have sold at auction since 1975 (lot 235, $4600-7500) sold for $6,218; Gervase Markham's Cavelarice, or The English Horseman, 1607 (lot 54: est. $3100-4500) fetched $3,109; the presentation copy of Evelyn Waugh's Mr Loveday's Little Outing, 1937, made $2,694. The book high spots were two lots of Pushkin, which each made $22,758 (Lots 304 and 305).

- At today's Christie's sale of Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books, Lot 5, a c. 1470 illuminated manuscript on vellum of Petrarch's Il Canzoniere and I Trionfi and related works (est. $498,300-664,400), made $578,707. Lot 44, Bartolommeo Dalli Soneti's Isolario (c. 1485/6), the first printed edition of the first maritime atlas, sold for $151,201. Lot 46 the four-volume Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle (London: 1839), made $35,211; lot 47 (one of just 15 copies of Darwin's On the Connexion of Certain Volcanic Phenomena in South America) sold for $26,926. Lot 48, a beautiful copy of the first edition of Origin, made $171,085 (better than doubling its estimate on the 150th anniversary of its publication.

Lot 7, the 1547 illuminated manuscript of Olivier de la Marche's Le Chevalier délibéré (Lot 7, est. $581,350-830,500), and Lot 43, the colored Blaeu atlas (1649-55), did not sell.

Upcoming Sales (in addition to those previewed here):
- The De Orbo Novo Collection: Exploration in the New World, 1492-1625 at Bloomsbury New York, 3 December. 81 lots.
- The William E. Self Library at Christie's New York, 4 December. 197 lots.
- Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana at Christie's New York, 4 December. 258 lots.
- The Wolfgang A. Herz Library: Important Voyages and Travels at Christie's New York, 9 December. 340 lots.
- Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby's London, 8 December. 257 lots.
- Capture the Imagination: Original Illustration and Fine Illustrated Books at Bloomsbury New York, 9 December. 365 lots.
- Bibliophile sale at Bloomsbury Godalming, 10 December. 459 lots.
- Fine Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby's New York, 11 December. 276 lots.
- Books, Maps, & Manuscripts; Historical Photography at Bonhams New York, 15 December. 562 lots.
- English Literature, History, Children's Books & Illustrations at Sotheby's London, 17 December. 182 lots.

Many interesting things in these sales, and I hope to be able to preview them before they happen, time permitting. I really am starting to dislike the new Sotheby's catalogs, which are slow to load, hard to sort and hard to link to. Christie's definitely wins that battle.