May 2011 | Jeremy Dibbell

Auction Preview: May Sales

- Sotheby's London will sell Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History titles in 210 lots on 10 May, including a Paolo Forlani world map (1570), estimated at £100,000-150,000; a first edition of Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625-6), estimated at £60,000-80,000; an archive ofembroidery templates and artwork from the workshop of Egypt's Dar al-Kiswah, estimated at £60,000-80,000; and a first edition of John Gould's Birds of Europe (1832-1837), estimated at £45,000-60,000.

- The fourth part of the collection of Michel Wittock will be sold at Christie's Paris on 11 May, in 80 lots. Watch for a full writeup of this in the summer Fine Books & Collections. The top-rated item in this sale, but a wide margin, is a fantastic copy of Description de l'?gypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française (1817-1830), in 22 volumes and with its own wooden storage/display case. The copy was previously owned by Jean-Joseph Courvoisier, Justice minister to Charles X. It's estimated at EUR 500,000-700,000. Some other fine bindings and artist books are included in this sale. I

- Also at Christie's Paris on 11 May, 238 lots of Importants Livres Anciens, Livres d'Artistes, et Manuscrits. Some important John Gould titles are among the top-estimated lots: a Birds of Australia (1840-1869), estimated at EUR 120,000-180,000; A Monograph of the Trochilidae(1880-1887), estimated at EUR 100,000-150,000; and Birds of Asia (1850-1883), estimated at EUR 80,000-100,000. Other key illustrated natural history books are included, as well as a fair number of interesting incunables.

- Swann will sell Literature; Art, Press & Illustrated Books on 12 May, in 479 lots. A numbered copy of Dalí's Die Göttliche Komödie (1974) is estimated at $7,000-10,000; a copy of the Vincent FitzGerald edition of Joyce's Epiphanies with Susan Weil and Marjorie Van Dyke rates an $8,000-10,000 estimate.

- At Bloomsbury London on 12 May, Continental & English Literature and Manuscripts, in 532 lots.

- At Sotheby's Paris on 18 May, Books and Manuscripts, in 107 lots. A collection of Robespierre papers rates the top estimate, at EUR 200,000-300,000. A first edition of Andy Warhol's 1¢ Life (1964) is estimated at EUR 100,000-150,000, and a typescript copy of Le Petit Prince(1943) could fetch EUR 40,000-60,000.

- Christie's New York will sell Printed & Manuscript Americana on 19 May, in 210 lots. The top-estimated lot is a very cool one, a copy of the first edition of the first publication relating to New Netherland (Breeden-Raedt aende Vereenichde Nederlandsche Provintien. Antwerp: Francoys van Duynen, 1649.) No copy has sold at auction since the Streeter Sale in 1967, and this one is estimated at $70,000-100,000. Among the other goodies in this sale are a copy of Peter Force's 1833 printing of the Declaration of Independence, estimated at $15,000-20,000. Also on the block will be a copy of Dryden and Lee's Oedipus (1735), from the library of Benjamin Franklin (estimated at $12,000-18,000).

- Also on 19 May, PBA Galleries will sell Americana, Maps and Atlases, in 376 lots. The top lot is an extensive archive of letters and clippings related to Sanford B. Dole and his family, estimated at $10,000-15,000.

- Sotheby's New York will host the third round of sales from the James S. Copley Library on 20 May. I've previewed this sale here.