Book of Mormon, English Horary Quadrant, Fortsasiana: Auction Preview

Image: PBA Galleries

An 1834 issue of Sekisui Nagakubo's map of the world, based on Matteo Ricci's design which placed Asia at the center of the map; offered at PBA Galleries this week.

Another absolutely jam-packed week of auctions coming up:

Hindman's online sale of American Historical Ephemera & Photography ends on Monday, December 11. The 350 lots include a collection of about 50 Civil War maps, expected to sell for $2,000–3,000; a copy of the July 17, 1790 issue of the Gazette of the United States, which contains the first newspaper printing of the legislation creating the District of Columbia, is estimated at $1,500–2,500. A group of fourteen WWI and WWII posters could fetch $1,000–1,500.

On Tuesday, December 12, Forum Auctions sells 422 lots of Modern Literature in an online sale; lots include a copy of E.M. Forster's A Letter to Madan Blanchard, along with an unpublished in-character followup letter to the essay (estimated at £1,000–1,500). Illustrator Herbert Jones' copy of Arthur Machen's The Chronicle of Clemendy, with a letter from Machen to Jones about the book, is listed at the same estimate range.

At Sotheby's London on Tuesday, 376 lots of Books, Manuscripts and Music from Medieval to Modern. Expected to lead the way here is a manuscript miscellany from the library of Sir Walter Ralegh, including several of his own works (£120,000–180,000). A copy of the first edition of Bach's Goldberg Variations is estimated at £100,000–150,000; at the same range is the autograph manuscript of a working draft of Franz Schubert's Hagars Klage

New England Book Auctions sells 227 lots of Early Printing, Fine Books and Americana, including a first edition of the Book of Mormon (estimated at $80,000–120,000) on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, December 13, 332 lots of Books and Works on Paper at Forum Auctions, a complete seven-volume set of Vitruvius Britannicus and Richardson's New Vitruvius Britannicus (£7,000–10,000); a nice set of the twelve-volume Edinburgh edition of Jane Austen's novels (John Grant, 1911) is estimated at £1,500–2,000.

Christie's London sells 178 lots of Valuable Books and Manuscripts on Wednesday, including Ferdinard Verbiest's scarce 1674 work about the astronomical and scientific instruments designed for the Emperor of China (£250,000–350,000). One of just thirteen surviving microscopes constructed by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek could sell for £150,000–250,000, and a mid-fifteenth century illuminated book of hours of parchment decorated by the Master of Jean Rolin is estimated at £120,000–180,000. Called the earliest dated English scientific instrument, an horary quadrant inscribed "1311" and believed to be made by the same maker as the Chetwode quadrant sold in 2015 is estimated at £100,000–150,000.

At Dominic Winter Auctioneers on Wednesday and Thursday, 835 lots of Printed Books, Maps & Original Art, Modern First Editions & Illustrated Books, Games & Playing Cards. Presentation copies of Ian Fleming's Dr. No and You Only Live Twice, inscribed to Fleming's friend Reg Shurey are expected to sell for £20,000–30,000. A first edition of Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four (1890) is estimated at £5,000–8,000, and a copy of Greenville Collins' Great Britain's Coasting Pilot (1744) could fetch £3,000–5,000.

On Thursday at Swann Galleries, 199 lots of Illustration Art, including the artwork for "Madeline and the Magician" from Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans ($30,000–40,000).

PBA Galleries sells 418 lots of Americana – Travel & Exploration – U.S. Presidents – Maps & Views on Thursday, including a copy of John Speed's world map, published between 1626 and 1632 ($10,000–15,000); a large album of nearly 400 photographs documenting the life of a Jewish family in Cuba ($5,000–8,000); and an 1834 Japanese world map (also estimated at $5,000–8,000).

Ending on Friday, December 15, Christie's online sale The Alphabet of Genius: Important Autograph Letters and Manuscripts, in 365 lots. Rating the top estimate is a 1782 Mozart letter to the Baroness von Waldstätten and referring to his marriage to Constanze Weber (£150,000–200,000). An autograph working manuscript of Mahler's song "Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder" is expected to sell for £100,000–150,000; and the original drawings of Phiz's illustrations for Little Dorrit, along with a letter by Phiz and a first edition of Little Dorrit could fetch £80,000–120,000. A nine-page autograph poetry manuscript by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the final draft of her poem "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point" is estimated at £40,000–60,000.

At Arenberg Auctions on Friday, 225 lots related to Renier Chalon and the famed Fortsas biblio-hoax, including several copies of the early editions of the Fortsas catalog and much interesting associated material.