Arctic Exploration, Bondiana, Arthur Szyk Letter: Auction Preview

Image: Sotheby's

Variant plates from the author's unique copy of H.E. Dresser's History of the Birds of Europe (1871–1896), offered at Sotheby's this week.

Here are the auctions I'll be watching this week:

On Wednesday, September 20, Kestenbaum & Company sells 211 lots of Fine Judaica, including an illustrated 1926 letter from Arthur Szyk to French senator Anatole de Monzie, which starts at $10,000. Heinrich von Mayr's 1838 plate book of Middle Eastern scenes opens at $8,000, and a large 19th-century silver megillah case with Esther scroll starts at $7,000. The sale includes a large number of lots focused on Jews in the American Civil War.

At Forum Auctions on Thursday, September 21, an online sale of Books and Works on Paper in 251 lots. A large-paper copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Complete Writings (1900) with an inserted letter from Hawthorne to Henry Bright rates the top estimate at £800–1,200. A copy of the 1649 octavo edition in English of the Alcoran of Mahomet is expected to sell for £600–800, as are a copy of Willi Geiger's Tauromachie (c.1925) and White Kennett's copy of a 1556 Estienne edition of the psalms.

Lyon & Turnbull sells 274 lots of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs on Thursday, including a 1702 Gottfried Leibniz letter to William Wotton, which is expected to sell for $14,000–18,000. A partial copy of Shakespeare's Fourth Folio (1685) is estimated at £10,000–15,000, and a 1656 Oliver Cromwell letter to his son Henry could sell for £6,000–8,000.

Sotheby's sale of Travel, Atlases, Maps, Photographs & Natural History ends on Thursday; the 265 lots include a portfolio of about 130 sketches from James Clark Ross' expedition to the Antarctic in 1839–1843, which is expected to reach £200,000–300,000. A set of 14 daguerreotypes of the officers from the 1845 Franklin expedition, directly from the Franklin family, has been estimated at £150,000–200,000. Three ornithological works are estimated at £70,000–90,000: Dresser's History of the Birds of Europe, this being the author's unique copy; John Gould's Monograph of the Trochilidae; and a third edition copy of Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands.

At PBA Galleries on Thursday, 557 lots of Fine Literature – with Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror – Mysteries & Thrillers – Beats & Counterculture. Sharing the top estimate at $7,000–10,000 are a copy of the signed limited first edition of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (1929) and an inscribed copy of the first edition of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems (1956). A signed copy of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven (1971) is estimated at $5,000–8,000.

Ending on Friday, September 22, Sotheby's sale James Bond on Bond Street, in 197 lots. Expected to lead the way is an uncorrected proof copy of the first Bond novel Casino Royale (1952), in a Sangorski & Sutcliffe binding. This is expected to sell for £30,000–50,000.

Also ending on Friday, Sotheby's sale A Friend of China: the Papers of Evan Carlson Assembled at Yan'an, in 16 lots.