Auctions | October 1, 2014

Candid Cormac McCarthy Correspondence May Bring $50,000+ at Heritage Auctions


BEVERLY HILLS—A remarkable and frank correspondence archive between Cormac McCarthy and John Fergus Ryan—touching on everything from their fellow authors to the state of the publishing industry—is expected to sell for $50,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 8 Rare Books Signature® Auction in Beverly Hills. The auction features several fresh-to-market private collections of rare finds ranging from antiquarian books to first edition copies of 20th century masterpieces including a first edition, first printing copy of The Great Gatsby signed on an inserted leaf by author F. Scott Fitzgerald (est. $20,000+).

The correspondence archive between McCarthy and Ryan, a humorist, playwright, and author from Tennessee, spans the decade from 1976 to late-1985 or early-1986. McCarthy and Ryan write candidly to each other of their attempts at publication, their day-jobs, their wives, and movies, as well as books and authors ranging from Henry Miller, John Rechy, John Gardener, Robert Bloch, Nikki Giovanni, William S. Burroughs, and James Agee. The archive is part of the private collection of I.D. “Nash” Flores, III.

“The number and diversity of the private collections in this auction provide a rare opportunity to the collectors of every persuasion and budget,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. “These collections present a particularly excellent gathering of antiquarian books and early printed works.” 

The Krown & Spellman Collection includes a broad selection of early printed books across a diverse range of subject areas including Oedipus Aegyptiacus, researcher Athanasius Kircher's largest and most astounding work dating to 1652-1654 (est. $9,000+). The collection also holds a rare first edition, large-paper copy of Francis Barlow’s masterpiece Aesop’s Fables, 1666 (est. $8,000+), and Robert Fludd’s seminal Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, two massive folios which are copiously illustrated with remarkable mystical emblems representing relationships between man, the cosmos, and the godhead (est. $7,000+).

The library of John Carroll Collins, a Dallas collector, appraiser, and scholar, holds wonderful examples in fine press, history and literature, including a set of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland signed in each volume by Alice Pleasance (nee Liddell) Hargreaves, the inspiration for the fictional Alice (est. $2,000+); a superb copy of the Limited Editions Club Ulysses illustrated and signed by Henri Matisse (est. $3,000+); a copy of Crusade in Europe by Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed by the author on a facsimile of the D-Day order (est. $1,000+); and a copy of Isaiah Thomas’ The History of Printing in America, 1810 (est. $1,000+). Collins’ large collection of aviation and music will be offered by Heritage in its April 2015 auction in New York.

Selections from the library of collector Henry H. Fertig, M.D. includes a rare and desirable copy of The Laws of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania printed by Benjamin Franklin, 1742 (est. $3,500+). 

Additional highlights include, but are not limited by:

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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