Wednesday afternoon will see many of us paying close attention to the sale of an excellent, complete copy of Audubon's Birds of America at Sotheby's New York. The set is an early subscriber's copy, belonging to the Yorkshire Philosophical Society from publication until its sale at Sotheby's London in December 1946. Bookseller Charles Traylen purchased the set and sold it in turn to Joseph Verner Reed, Sr. of Greenwich, CT. In 1973 the Birds were bequeathed to Deerfield Academy, which sold them privately in 1985. Five years later the set sold again at Sotheby's London for £1,760,000 to the current consignor. Considering where prices have been recently, and the excellence of this set, the current estimate of $6–8 million seems a good benchmark. See also Selby Kiffer's "John James Audubon & The Double Elephant Folio."
- There are a few good book sales out there that may be of interest to some of you: at Johns Hopkins University Press, everything is 40% off with free media mail shipping using code HHOL; at the University of Massachusetts Press, paperbacks are 30% off with free shipping using code S754; at the University of North Carolina Press, all books are 40% off with free shipping above $75 using code 01HOLIDAY; at Harvard University Press, get 30% off all books using code HOLIDAY19. There are quite a few relevant books about books and book history at each, so ... have fun!
- Over on the Princeton Graphic Arts Collection blog, a look at a priced and annotated 1818 auction catalog of prints.
- The ABAA put out a theft alert for an inscribed copy of Churchill's My Early Life from an auction house in Derbyshire.
- The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden has received a gift to establish the Shapiro Center for American History and Culture, which will include programming, fellowships, a book prize, and more.
- Applications for the Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award are now available; submissions are due by 20 February 2020.
- From UVA, "The Old Card Catalog: Collaborative Effort Will Preserve Its History." Huge respect to all concerned with this great project.
- Jennifer Howard writes in a recent issue of Humanities on "The Complicated Role of the Modern Public Library."
- Over at Atlas Obscura, Sabrina Imbler on "How the Library of Congress Unrolled a 2,000-year-old Buddhist Scroll."
- From Randi Ragsdale for the HRC, "The Science Behind the Blaeu World Map."
- On the Cambridge University Library Special Collections blog, "The Polonsky Foundation Greek Manuscript Project: The Conservators' Challenge, Part I."
- The ABAA has launched a mentorship program that will match established antiquarian booksellers with those new to the trade.
- Penn has posted a finding guide to their collection of objects useful in teaching book history and material texts courses. I love this idea, and hope to be able to adapt it soon!
- Janine Barchas' The Lost Books of Jane Austen; review by John Mullan in the Guardian.
- Nicolas Barker's At First, All Went Well ... & Other Brief Lives and The Pirie Library; review by Rebecca Rego Barry on the Fine Books Blog.
- Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries on 17 December.
- History of Science and Technology at Sotheby's New York on 17 December.
- Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Olympic Manifesto at Sotheby's New York on 18 December.
- John James Audubon's The Birds of America at Sotheby's New York on 18 December.
- Americana – Custeriana – Travel & Exploration – Cartography at PBA Galleries on 19 December.