Donne and Darwin Manuscripts, Spider-Man, and Film Scripts: Auction Preview

Image: Christie's

Margaret Cavendish's Poems and Fancies (1653), with an early woman's ownership inscription, offered at Christie's this week.

Here are the auctions I'll be keeping an eye on this week:

At New England Books Auctions on Tuesday, December 6, 206 lots of Fine Books & Ephemera.

Ending on Wednesday, December 7, the Christie's sale of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts, in 245 lots. The Berland Donne manuscript, which contains the 1633 first editions of both John Donne's Poems and Juvenilia plus manuscripts of texts omitted from both editions, is expected to lead the sale at $200,000–300,000. A first edition of the 1809–1830 Description de l'Egypte in publisher's boards bound in 23 volumes is estimated at $180,000–250,000. Gould and Sharpe's Birds of New Guinea (1875–1888) could sell for $100,000–150,000, and William Morris' copy of Boccaccio's De Montibus (1473) is expected to fetch $60,000–90,000. A copy of the Gutenberg Bible leaf book A Noble Fragment (1921) with the leaf could sell for $50,000–80,000. I'll be very interested to see what the first edition of Margaret Cavendish's Poems and Fancies (1653) realizes; it is estimated at just $8,000–12,000.

On Wednesday at Bonhams Los Angeles, Classic Hollywood: Film and Television, in 329 lots. Non-book items have the top estimates, but a 1940 "correction script" for Citizen Kane is estimated at $25,000–35,000 and a Tom Jung sketch for a Star Wars promo poster could fetch $20,000–30,000. A copy of the final shooting script for Gone With the Wind inscribed by David O. Selznick to actress Ona Munson is estimated at $15,000–25,000.

Forum Auctions sells Travel Books, Maps and Atlases on Thursday, December 8. The 291 lots include John Ogilby's Africa (1690), estimated at £4,000–6,000 and an early 1890s album containing 96 albumen prints of the Holy Land which could sell for £2,000–3,500.

At Swann Galleries on Thursday, Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books, in 275 lots. Henry Popple's twenty-sheet Map of the British Empire in America (1733) rates the top estimate at $30,000–50,000. The 1818 fifth state of John Melish's Map of the United States (1818) is estimated at $20,000–30,000.

Rounding out Thursday's sales, The Spidey Sale, Including the Steve Ditko Collection, Part I at PBA Galleries. Ditko was the artist and co-creator of Spider-Man. The only Ditko copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 (August 1962) featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man is expected to sell for $30,000–50,000. The better of two copies of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 (March 1963) is estimated at $20,000–30,000. Ten pages of original Eric Stanton artwork for The Adventures of Sweeter Gwen, Part Two are expected to sell for $25,000–35,000.

The Sotheby's New York Age of Wonder sale ends on Friday, December 9. The 44 lots include a Darwin manuscript excerpt from his Origin sent in 1865 to editor Herman Kindt for publication, estimated at $600,000–800,000. A first edition of Origin (1859) with interesting provenance and marginal notation about the blindness of blue-eyed cats could sell for $300,000–400,000. A copy of the c.1888 William Henry Jackson panoramic photograph of San Francisco is expected to sell for $250,000–350,000. Much more of interest in this sale, including a proof copy of the title page design for Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone with a letter to his American publishers, estimated at $10,000–15,000.