May 2013 | Jeremy Dibbell

Auction Report: April & May

Recent and upcoming auction doings:

- 10 April was a pretty amazing day for Christie's New York. The sale of the first part of the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow on 10 April can only be described as spectacular. The sale realized a grand total of $15,842,145, with Goya's Tauromaquia leading the way at $1,915,750. Another Goya lot, Los Caprichos, sold for $843,750. And in their single-item sale on the same day, Christie's sold Dr. Francis Crick's "secret of life" letter to his son for an eye-popping $6,059,750.

- Bloomsbury sold Books on Horology, Science, and Medicine on 11 April; results here.

- At Swann on 11 April, Fine Books Including Incunabula and Writing Manuals, in 148 lots. The Noble Fragment Gutenberg leaf sold for $55,200, and the first edition of Audubon's Quadrupeds made $288,000. The (only?) presentation copy of Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield fetched $16,800, and early printing did especially well.

- Swann sold Printed & Manuscript Americana on 16 April. A collection of Civil War diaries and letters by two friends in a California regiment sold for $31,200, while an archive of material by natural historian William Cooper and his son James Graham Cooper made $40,800 (over estimates of just $1,500-2,500). An extreme Theodore Roosevelt rarity, a memorial volume to his wife and mother, sold for $38,400.

- Bloomsbury held a Bibliophile Sale on 18 April, in 655 lots. Results here.

- Christie's London sold Travel, Science, and Natural History items on 24 London, realizing £1,658,075. The manuscript speech by Wilbur Wright sold for £61,875, while the egg of an extinct elephant bird fetched £66,675.

- PBA Galleries sold Travel & Exploration, Cartography & Americana from the Library of Glen McLaughlin (with additions) on 25 April. Their website was having issues when I wrote this, so I don't have results information at present.

- Christie's Paris' sale of Importants Lives Anciens, Livres d'artistes et Manuscrits on 29 April brought in 2,407,762 Euros, with Hugo, Balzac and Proust manuscript lots taking top honors.

- At Sotheby's Paris on 29-30 April, the first part of the Bibliothèque des ducs de Luynes, Château de Dampierre was sold, for a total of 2,354,715 Euros. The grand folio volume with Blondel watercolors produced to mark the wedding of the dauphin in 1745 sold for 301,500 Euros, but it was a manuscript map noting action involving Lafayette during the American Revolution which took the top price, fetching 373,500 Euros (over estimates of just 60,000-80,000 Euros).

- Bloomsbury sold The Library of a Continental Gentleman: Natural History Books on 9 May, in 288 lots. Results here. A copy of Ventenat's Description des Plantes Nouvelles et peu Connues (1800-1802) sold for £13,000.

- Swann sold Art, Press & Illustrated Books, including inventory from the stock of Irving Oaklander on 9 May. See the summer Fine Books & Collection for an overview of this sale.

- Sotheby's London sells Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History on 14 May, in 219 lots. An early 18th-century illustrated manuscript of Piri Reis' Kitab-i Bahriye once in the Phillipps collection could fetch £100,000-150,000.

- At Bloomsbury on 16 May, a Bibliophile Sale, in 406 lots.

- Sotheby's London holds a sale of First Editions, Second Thoughts on 21 May. This sale includes 50 contemporary first editions, annotated by their authors, to benefit the charity English PEN. Browse the available lots here.

- On 29 May at Sotheby's Paris, Livres et Manuscrits, in 149 lots. An archive of Rousseau letters is estimated at 250,000-350,000 Euros.

- PBA Galleries sells South Sea: The Library of Richard Topel, Part II on 30 May, in 349 lots.

- Also on 30 May, Bloomsbury holds a 30th Anniversary Sale of Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper, in 424 lots.