Dard for a Steal!

About two weeks ago I received a mailer from Bonhams to promote its June 23rd Fine Books & Manuscripts sale. I was intrigued to see Dard Hunter's Papermaking by Hand in America (1950) as a featured item, with an estimate of $5,000-8,000. The sale also included a number of other Dard Hunter titles. Dard is a fascinating figure in the history of American printing, and FB&C readers may recall an excellent piece Karen Edwards wrote for us back in March (text online).

When the results came in today, I was blown away by the numbers. Papermaking by Hand... (1950) went for a paltry $854 -- what a steal! On the other hand, one of his more obscure titles, Chinese Ceremonial Papers, printed at the Mountain House in 1937, brought in $4,575. Old Papermaking (1923) also did well, for $4,270. But Dard's first solo printing/publishing project, The Etching of Figures, (on which Edwards wrote, "Although Hunter didn't write the book--William Bradley was the author--it's still recognized today as the world's first one-man book.") left Bonhams for $244. That stings. Some lots went unsold, including this lovely signed limited edition put together by Dard Hunter II: The Life Work of Dard Hunter: A Progressive Illustrated Assemblage of his Works as Artist, Craftsman, Author, Papermaker, and Printer. Chillicothe, Ohio: Mountain House Press, 1981-83. It had an estimate of $6,000-9,000.