On Thursday, May 20, Books and Manuscripts at Freeman's, in 132 lots. A draft typescript letter from JFK to Winston Churchill, with Kennedy’s annotations, rates the top estimate at $35,000–50,000. John Gould’s Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans, the second edition (1852–1854) is estimated at $20,000–30,000, as is Audubon’s Canada Goose from the Double Elephant Folio Birds, and a set of the first octavo edition of Birds (1840–1844), deaccessioned from the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. For the lithography fan, a copy of Alois Senefelder’s 1818 history and manual, Vollstandiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey, is estimated at $6,000–9,000. One of your blogger’s favorite pieces of American printing, a copy of the second issue of the 1744 Cato Major translated by James Logan and printed by Benjamin Franklin, is estimated at $5,000–8,000.
Also on Thursday, The Einstein Archives of Ludwik Silberstein at RR Auctions, in 48 lots. An October 1946 letter from Einstein to Silberstein in which Einstein writes his famed equation E = mc2 in the first line is expected to fetch more than $400,000. Silberstein, it should be noted, was a Polish-American physicist who wrote textbooks on relativity and debated with Einstein over the theory. Several other Einstein letters are included in this sale, but there are also letters by Max Planck, Bertrand Russell, and others.
Rounding out Thursday’s sales, Rare Pulps and Collectibles at Heritage Auctions, with 586 lots on offer. The April 1931 first issue of The Shadow, the first “hero pulp,” had been bid up to $57,500 by Sunday. There are many examples of such pulp series as Weird Tales and Doc Savage; the catalog makes for a very vibrant browse!
On Saturday, May 22, Kolbe & Fanning sells Important Numismatic Books, in 459 lots. The Fuld-Bass set of Thomas L. Elder coin sale catalogs, comprising some 264 copies, is estimated at $10,000.