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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Doyle@Auction

Diverse Documents

Doyle offers a wide variety of collector’s pieces for its November sale. By Peggy Carouthers Peggy Carouthers lives in North Carolina and is the editor of custom content at Journalistic Inc.

In the auction world, Doyle is known as a house presenting a wide range of antiquarian items within its two major book sales each year. Previous sales have contained every kind of rarity, from a Babylonian cylinder to more traditional books. At this year’s Rare Books, Autographs, and Maps sale at Doyle on November 7, collectors will find a wide range of items, with pieces from many fields and in many price ranges.

Typescript leaf of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1919-1921), including words in Joyce’s hand. $60,000-90,000. Courtesy of Doyle.
George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio (1845), printed by James Ackerman in New York, $100,000-$200,000. Courtesy of Doyle.
Robert Thornton’s New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus Comprehending … the Temple of Flora, or Garden of Nature (1799-1807). $60,000-80,000. C Courtesy of Doyle.

Several letters will be auctioned, including an autograph letter in French by the Marquis de Sade, dated March 12, 1793 and estimated at $4,000-6,000. At the time the four-page letter was written, Sade’s name had appeared on a list at Marseilles of émigrés who had fled the Revolution and thus were under suspicion. In the letter, he states that his name should not have been on the list solely because he had been late in supplying his certificate of residence.

“The accusation would have put him at a considerable degree of risk” said Edward Ripley-Duggan, vice president and director of rare books, autographs, and photographs at Doyle. “He had a hard time getting it struck down. It’s a fascinating letter because this role—as a stalwart of the revolution—is not what one usually thinks of as associated with him.”

Another autograph letter written by Lady Emma Hamilton, best known for her romantic involvement with Lord Nelson, is estimated at $3,000-5,000 and dated from 1797.

A single typescript leaf of James Joyce’s Ulysses consists of page twenty-three from the printer’s typescript manuscript for chapter twelve of the book. Estimated between $60,000-90,000, the leaf contains approximately sixty-five words in Joyce’s hand, as well as many smaller emendations. It is accompanied by a note on Shakespeare and Company stationery with a handwritten inscription by Sylvia Beach describing the leaf.

In Americana, two copies of George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio will be auctioned, both from Frank T. Siebert’s collection. One is the expanded edition printed in London by Chatto and Windus in 1875, featuring six additional unnumbered plates ($50,000-80,000). The other was printed in 1845 by James Ackerman in New York, and is valued at $100,000-200,000. Only five copies of this edition have been sold at auction since 1967.

“This is the first American edition, first issue, and it was essentially a pirated work,” Ripley-Duggan said. “Ackerman was profoundly put out that Catlin had elected to have it produced in London and wanted to prove an American publisher could do just as well and printed it unbeknownst to Catlin and without his authorization.”

Robert Thornton’s New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus Comprehending … the Temple of Flora, or Garden of Nature, the large folio first edition printed by Thomas Bensley between 1799-1807, is to be auctioned and is estimated at $60,000-80,000.

“This is one of the greatest of all English floral color plate books and one of the greatest plate books of all time, period,” Ripley-Duggan said. “It is an unusually complete copy with two additional plates not usually found in addition to the twenty-eight requisite plates.”

These items represent a small sample of what Doyle’s November sale will have to offer. With such a range of printed and written materials, there will be many that will be prime additions to any collection.

Peggy Carouthers lives in North Carolina and is the editor of custom content at Journalistic Inc.