“The 1989 auction of the Garden Collection is one of those landmark sales in the history of auctions that people still talk about,” said Gretchen Hause, director and senior specialist of Books and Manuscripts at Hindman Auctions. “For this copy of Darwin’s Origin, the condition certainly contributed to the extraordinary price that we saw, but I also think the mythology of the Garden sale and the fine provenance helped drive the price to the level we achieved.”
The second record-setting item was a copy of Some German Woodcuts of the Fifteenth Century, printed by the Kelmscott Press in 1897 and issued in 1898. Though copies of this work printed on paper regularly sell for prices between $1,500 and $3,500, this was the first and only copy of this work printed on vellum to appear on the market at auction, setting a new world record.
It sold in the Fine Books and Manuscripts sale on November 6, 2019. This copy was one of only eight printed on vellum. It also contained the signatures of William Morris, founder of the Kelmscott Press, and his private secretary, English Museum curator Sydney C. Cockerell, and was previously owned by socialite Edith Rockefeller McCormick.