"Attic Find" of Poe's "Tales" Auctioned for $315,000 at Skinner
Boston - An attic discovery of the rare 1845 first edition of Poe’s Tales (Lot 224, Estimate: $60,000-80,000) in paper wrappers surpassed all expectations to sell for $315,000 after fierce competition from internet and telephone bidders. Based on the context of the discovery of this copy of Poe's Tales, the original owner presumably bought this and other similar contemporaneous books to be read for amusement in the 1840s. Once read, the Poe and its companions were bundled and stored away in a trunk in the attic until they were found during an in-home auction evaluation by Skinner specialists. In the rare book trade, it was thought that all copies of Poe's Tales in wrappers were known.
Department director, Devon Eastland notes that the annual November Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction is timed to coincide with the long-running Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, a venue that guarantees that serious American and international collectors and dealers are in Boston and able to view sale material in person. She notes “Bidders appreciated that the copy of Poe’s Tales was a previously unknown copy fresh to the market, having been in a private collection for some time which garnered excitement in the market.”
The 350 lot auction included works from New England estates; printed books, documents, literary first editions, natural history prints, and maps. Books & Manuscripts are offered twice-yearly at Skinner and consignments are being accepted for spring 2019 auction.