Blog Posts tagged "auctions"


National newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic were abuzz over the weekend with the news that a first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit had sold for a record price at auction. The book sold for £137,000 (about $210,500). To put this in perspective, the previous record price was £50,000. Why did this sale outperform expectations so astonishingly? Well, it might have had something to do with... [more]

Fight of the Century: Auction Houses vs. Dealers Editor's note (John Schulman): Greg Gibson of Ten Pound Island Book Co., a specialist in “wet books” (maritime books, manuscripts, ephemera, sea charts, etc.,) has for the past five years authored a weekly blog chronicling his life in the rare book trade. Because he is smart, observant, witty and outspoken, and because he is a gifted writer (the... [more]

Residents of Malton, a market town located in North Yorkshire, banded together and raised funds for the purchase of a rare inscribed copy of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. A number of the characters in the classic tale, which Dickens wrote in 1843, are believed to be based upon residents of Malton. Dickens was very close friends with Charles Smithson, a respected Malton lawyer, and the autho... [more]

Ken Kallin began collecting autographs, antique books, and other memorabilia in 1980 after an encounter with Bette Davis left him with five signed photographs of the star. Over the past three decades he has amassed 120,000 items and he will part with all but a few this coming Saturday when he puts his collection up for auction in order to aid his daughter. Kallin's daughter has a rare autoimmune d... [more]

Earlier this year, a German citizen purchased a thin brochure inscribed with the name “Brücke” for €5 at a local flea market. It turns out this was quite a find; the brochure was a catalogue for a 1912 travelling exhibition of the Die Brücke collective. Die Brücke ("The Bridge") was a German artists' group formed in 1905 by four architectural students in DresdenErnest Ludwig Kirchner, Fr... [more]

A rare 161-year-old book of recipes owned by Beatrix Potter is set to go to auction on Thursday. Also for sale is a collection of books and ephemera from Potter's husband William Hellis's personal effects. The cookbook is full of Hellis's family recipes, clearly handed down through generations, but there are several recipes that appear to be in Potter's own hand. Richard Westwood-Brookes, a repres... [more]

In July, I posted about a rare first English edition of Machiavelli's The Prince (1640) that the head of British auction house Keys found during a collection evaluation. Needless to say, Keys considered it a "very exciting find" and expected to bring in between £25,000 to £30,000 ($30,992 to $46,488) at auction. Unfortunately, bidders were not as enthusiastic and the book failed to sell. As a resu... [more]

Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the most renowned photographers of the twentieth century, considered by many to be the father of modern photojournalism and a "master of candid photography". From 1967-1997, the majority of Cartier-Bresson's beautiful black and white photographs were printed by Voja Mitrovic, a master printer at Picto, the famed Parisian photo lab. During the time they worked toget... [more]

First Edition Cover Art The very rare first edition of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which I previously posted about, brought in £30,000 ($46,737) at auction in London last week. The book was inscribed by 'Jack' Lewis and was originally estimated to be worth £19,000 ($29,600.10). Rare Chronicles of Narnia book sells for £30,000 [more]

Sketch leaf of piano exercises by Beethoven, once owned by Chopin (image via Sotheby's) André Meyer (1884-1974) assembled one of the most significant private collections devoted to music, which Sotheby's will be offering at auction in Paris on October 16 and 17. Comprised of manuscripts, printed music, paintings, furniture, sculpture, drawings, and musical instruments, Meyer's collection was acq... [more]

Jane Austen's Gold Ring, via Sotheby's Sotheby's London will be auctioning a ring that belonged to Jane Austen on July 10. The lovely gold and turquoise ring has remained in the Austen family and its provenance is substantiated by an accompanying note from Jane's sister-in-law, Eleanor Austen. The note was written to Jane's niece Caroline in November of 1863 and read: My dear Caroline, The enclos... [more]

'Observations in Midwifery' Percival Willughby Perceival Willughby's Observations in Midwifery, a rare book circa 1670, gives a unique look at seventeenth century midwifery&and it's not pretty. Willuhgby had been working as an obstetrician for 40 years when his 600+ page manuscript was written. In the book he recorded 200 cases with the intent to "inform the ignorant common midwives with such way... [more]

A 1924 first edition of Agatha Christie's Poirot Investigates was recently sold at auction for a whopping £40,630 ($63,195.90) because of its very rare dust jacket, on which the famed Detective Poirot is pictured. The collection of short stories was not Christie's first Poirot book, but it is the first to feature the detective's name in the title and a rare instance of his depiction. The drawing o... [more]

'The Emperor Napoleon in his study at the Tuileries', Jacques-Louis David A rare letter written by Napoleon written in English was auctioned off in an intense bidding war in Paris last Sunday, with Paris' Museum of Letters and Manuscripts taking home the letter for €325,000 ($405,000). The selling price was five times what was estimated prior to the auction. It is one of only three (surviving) ... [more]

Over the weekend the original cover artwork for Tintin in America (1932) sold at the Paris Artcurial auction for $1.6 million (1.3 million Euros), setting the new record for comic book art. The previous record had been set in 2008 by the sale of the same artwork for $973,000. The record for American comic book art was set last year when a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns (1986) sold for $4... [more]

A rare watercolor of the Brontë sisters is scheduled to be auctioned on Thursday by JP Humbert Auctioneers in England. The painting was originally set to be sold last month, but was pulled at the last moment as auctioneers tried to establish a more direct link to the supposed artist, Sir Edwin Landseer. The painting had been previously attributed by the National Portrait Gallery after four years ... [more]

On Wednesday, a rare book collection that would leave any modern art enthusiast drooling is set to be auctioned in Paris. The collection comes from a French couple identified only by their initials, R. & B.L., and is comprised of various works by countless modern masters- Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Braque, Chagall, and Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few. "This collection, in which Picasso plays a key ... [more]

Today, Swann Galleries in New York will be offering an original manuscript from the Salem witch trials as part of the Eric C. Caren Collection auction, entitled 'How History Unfolds on Paper'. The manuscript is the court indictment of Margaret Scott, a widow in her 70s who was accused and found guilty of "certaine detestable arts called witchcraft and sorcery." Scott was one of the last eight resi... [more]

It happens often, especially when you attend so many rare book shows, but this is one instance in which I really wish I had a lot of cash to spare! On May 8, Bonhams auction house will present Visions of Garcia, an auction of very unique Jerry Garcia memorabilia. The offerings are diverse and sound very cool. An illustrated catalog will be posted on Bonhams.com in the weeks preceding the auction,... [more]

In 1898 author Morgan Robertson published the novella Futility, in which the largest ship in history, the Titan, which was proudly touted as "unsinkable", hits an iceberg on its maiden April voyage and sinks. Sound familiar? The actual RMS Titanic experienced an eerily similar fate to the fictional ship fourteen years later on April 14, 1912. There are many distinctions between the sinking of the... [more]

An unpublished manuscript written by a fourteen-year-old Charlotte Brontë will go up for auction at Sotheby's London next month. The manuscript is of a mini-magazine entitled The Young Man's Magazine, Number 2, and tells a story of murder and madness. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby's specialist on Books and Manuscripts, said that the piece "provides a rare and intimate insight into one of history's gre... [more]

Today, a collection of over 600 rare bookswhat some are calling "the last great private library "will be auctioned off in New Zealand. The books were collected by Arthur Pycroft, a prominent Auckland naturalist and scholar. Pycroft earned his living as a senior manager of NZ Railways, but his passions were ornithology and natural history, which he delved into with dedicated research and during p... [more]

In 1998, a 13th century Greek Orthodox prayer book sold at auction at Christie's New York for $2 million. Why did it sell at such a high price? It's a palimpsest, an erased and overwritten document, and the true value of the book lays beneath the prayers, where one can make out the faint markings of a much older textthe only surviving copy of the essential works of Archimedes. The palimpsest had ... [more]

A first edition of D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, with an illustrated dust jacket, is expected to bring in between $28,000 and $40,000 when it is auctioned off by Sotheby's London on October 28. Even without the dust jacket, a first edition of the novel is valuable, going for about $1,600 depending on condition, because, out of the original 2,527 copies printed in 1915, 1,195 copies were destroyed a... [more]

As mentioned in a previous post, Heritage Auction Galleries' Rare Books Auction will take place on October 14th in Beverly Hills, and will offer a rare English copy of 'Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Stones'. There are a number of other noteworthy items, however. Some highlights include: *First edition of Jane Austen's first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in three volumes *First printing of thre... [more]

As previously posted about, in early December Sotheby's will auction off a very valuable and very interesting collection of rare books, including a first edition of Audubon's The Birds of America, which is considered to be the "world's most expensive book". Prior to the auction, the collection will tour and be put on public display in Paris, New York and London. Included in the public viewing will... [more]

Tomorrow, October 2nd, Adams Amsterdam will hold its rare books, print and art auction, which will feature live internet bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. Included in over the 800 rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, paintings, photographs and other art pieces being offered is the original 1964 manuscript for Ik Jan Cremer. The manuscript is part of a portfolio that includes original cover de... [more]


1790 Census Up For Auction

By Janine Moodhe

A rare copy of the United State's first census will be offered in Bonhams Rare Books and Fine Manuscripts Auction on October 4th. The census was conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, who at the time was serving as Secretary of State under Washington, and was therefore also the nominal director of the census (a title held by the Secretary of State for the first five censuses). This par... [more]

Seven Stories children's book museum, based in Newcastle, England, has recently acquired a number of rare original typescripts by celebrated English author Enid Blyton. The manuscripts were put up for auction two weeks ago as part of the estate of Blyton's late daughter, Gillian Baverstock. Although Blyton had an extensive bibliography and a career that spanned over five decades, few of her origi... [more]

A rare English language copy of Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Stones is set to be auctioned off on October 14th at Heritage Auction Galleries' Signature Rare Books Auction in Beverly Hills. The volume was edited by Aleksander Evgenevitch Fersman and published in 1925, and is the result of the substantial effort to list and photograph the Russian crown jewels, a task that began in 1922. It was ... [more]

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