In the News

New, Expanded Paperback Edition of "Rare Books Uncovered" to be Published

Few collectors are as passionate or as dogged in the pursuit of their quarry... read more

Exhibit Exploring Franciscan Imagery Opens at the National Gallery of Art on Feb. 25

Washington, DC—One of the most innovative Italian books of the early baroque period, the... read more

Quinn's Honors Black History Month with Feb. 22 Auction of African American Art and Memorabilia

Falls Church, VA - On Thursday, Feb. 22, Quinn’s Auction Galleries will pay tribute... read more

Early Printed Books on Chess, Astronomy, Medicine & More at Swann March 8

New York—Swann Galleries will offer an auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel... read more

African American History Highlighted in Skinner Auction

Boston, MA—Skinner, Inc. Significant and wide-ranging participation by museums interested in adding to their... read more

Daniel Crouch Rare Books Move Heaven and Earth at TEFAF Maastricht 2018

Daniel Crouch Rare Books will exhibit at the 31st edition of TEFAF Maastricht, with... read more

"The Mummy" and London Vampires Highlight Horror Movie Posters at Heritage Auctions

Dallas, TX - Rare movie posters from classic American horror flicks, including the only-remaining... read more

NY Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz to Speak at the Ephemera Fair, March 17-18

Few things beat the combination of a leisurely morning spent with a cup of... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Feature

Look Beyond Books

Cashing in on Beat Ephemera

Bank check for $100 from Jack Kerouac to himself

Courtesy of PBA Galleries.

Rumor and contention still swirl about the Kerouac estate, leading to a brisk trade in memorabilia related to the Beat poet and novelist. Kerouac, who died at age 47 in 1969, wrote this check to cash in 1959. Just two years earlier, On The Road had galvanized readers, earning praise as “a major novel” and thrusting Kerouac to celebrity status. But Kerouac’s fame was as overwhelming as it was sudden, and he struggled with alcoholism and ambiguity about his status as a Beat Generation figurehead. Other Kerouac-related auction lots have courted controversy over the years, such as a letter from Neal Cassady thought to have inspired a rewrite of Kerouac’s most famous novel. The two estates tussled over ownership, and the letter was withdrawn from auction in December 2014.

PBA Galleries, $480 / January 15, 2015

The Mystery of the Brass Plates

Pair of brass plates celebrating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes appeared in four of his novels and 56 stories. The storied detective has become a beloved pop culture icon, and this status is reflected in two brass plates sent to auction last fall. The plates are at the center of their own literary mystery—though possibly presented to Vincent Starrett, whose Studies in Sherlock Holmes was released in 1940, it is unclear what exactly they celebrate and why. The first plate references the “Baker Street Irregulars,” a literary society that named itself after fictitious characters in the Holmes books. The second plate is particularly intriguing: it is inscribed “Lambie & Barroman,” names shared by key witnesses in a 1909 murder case followed and even written about by Doyle.

Heritage Auctions, $7,187.50 each / October 8, 2014

Hot Jacket Art

“Burning Man” cover art illustration for Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 burned bright in literary consciousness when it was published in 1953. The classic novel, which follows a fireman tasked with burning books in a dystopian society, was released with a cover illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini, who created a man made of flame. Mugnaini was an Italian illustrator and animator who drew covers for many other Bradbury novels, including The Martian Chronicles. This item was Bradbury’s own and a worthy addition to any collection of his work.

Nate D. Sanders, $5,120 / September 25, 2014

Courtesy of Leslie Hindman.

Our Mutual Friend

Plaster bust of Charles Dickens

When this bust was cast and inscribed in 1869, Charles Dickens was the most significant literary figure in the world. Dickens had become prominent 30 years earlier with The Pickwick Papers and went on to become famous for his gripping serial fiction, his commentary on the social conditions of Victorian England, and his profitable public readings. This bust, which was cast by Sumner & Co., was likely designed during Dickens’ series of “farewell readings”—a tour that was cut short by his declining health and his death in 1870.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, $1,250 / November 5, 2014

They Gave a Damn

Final shooting script for Gone With the Wind

Courtesy of Profiles in History.

Of Gone With the Wind collectors, there are many. Anything related to the book or the movie will draw a crowd. When the film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War saga premiered in 1939, it was hailed as one of the best films of all time. But its road to the big screen was rocky indeed, involving multiple screenwriters, three directors, and a worldwide search for an actress worthy of playing fiery Scarlett O’Hara. Producer David O. Selznick made history when his film premiered to over 300,000 fans in Atlanta and won ten Academy Awards. Though the actual authorship of the screenplay is hotly contested, that didn’t stop Selznick from binding the final shooting script and presenting it to numerous members of his cast and crew. This one is inscribed to MGM studio publicist William R. Ferguson.

Profiles in History, $24,600 / October 20, 2014

This Ad Contains Multitudes

Broadside advertising Walt Whitman’s books

Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Walt Whitman may have been a bohemian, but the acclaimed poet also knew how to sell books. Known as America’s “first great poet,” he scandalized early audiences with his frank and earthy depictions of sexuality in books like Leaves of Grass. In 1872, he designed a large advertising placard he called a “show bill” to promote his books in bookstores. The poet’s popularity fuels a strong market in first editions ($305,000 is the current auction record for his work), and for those buyers, this broadside is breathtaking bonus material.

Sotheby’s, $43,750 / December 2, 2014

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