Auctions | February 3, 2022

Fine Books & Autographs at Swann Galleries February 17

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Dawn Powell, Whither, first edition with unrestored pictorial dust jacket, 1925. Estimate $6,000-9,000

New York — Fine Books & Autographs are at Swann Galleries Thursday, February 17. Autographs from inspirational figures across technology, politics, literature and beyond will feature, alongside scarce first editions from the twentieth century and noteworthy artist books.

Twentieth-century literary high spots include a first edition of T.S. Eliot’s first book, Prufrock and Other Observations, London, 1917, in the original bluff wrappers ($8,000-12,000), and a superb first edition copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Boston, 1951, in the first issue dust jacket ($8,000-12,0000). Appearing at auction for the first time is a first edition of Dawn Powell’s rare disavowed first novel Whither, Boston, 1925 ($6,000-9,000). Also here is an important three-way association copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Philadelphia & New York, 1962, inscribed by both Lee and her friend and fellow author (and screenwriter for the 1962 adaptation), Horton Foote, presented to a production assistant on the Academy Award-winning film ($9,000-12,000), along with unique and important material such as a printing of the long uncorrected galleys of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, New York, 1963, one of a small number produced, and not to be confused with the common wrappered advanced uncorrected proof ($1,000-1,500).

Complementing the literature section are remarkable offerings of desirable art, press and illustrated books in impeccable condition that include the scarce portfolio One Cent Life, Berne, 1964, the deluxe edition, one of 100 signed and numbered copies on handmade paper ($2,000-3,000), and an Artist’s Proof of Robert Indiana’s The American Dream, El Segundo, 1997, one of just 30 copies ($10,000-15,000).

Autographs include the cover of a 1982 issue of Time magazine featuring Steve Jobs, signed by the original Apple genius ($15,000-25,000). Thomas Edison is available with schematic diagrams for two speaker designs from 1927 ($3,500-5,000), as well as a signed photograph ($1,000-2,000), and signed hand-written notes from 1912 to Sherwood Troop Moore offering instructions and remarking on the failed results of a test ($600-900). In addition to Jobs and Edison, autographs from technological innovators include a photograph signed by Henry Ford ($1,500-2,500).

Poets are well represented with a holograph fragment from his 1865 book Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau ($5,000-7,500); an autograph poem from circa 1825 signed by a young Elizabeth Barrett Browning entitled Fortune Telling ($4,000-6,000); a signed and dated 1975 typescript of poem One of the Hottest Ever by Charles Bukowski ($400-600); and a selection of autograph manuscripts signed and inscribed by Robert Frost, one from 1952 to Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr. ($6,000-9,000), and another from 1946 to Bread Loaf School director Reginald Cook ($10,000-15,000).

Additional creatives feature with a copy of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol signed by Warhol ten times and with 11 soup can drawings ($2,500-3,500); three items signed and inscribed to actress Sylvia Miles by Tennessee Williams ($800-1,200); and an ALS by Mario Puzo in which he declines an invitation to be interviewed to promote his book because “I’m tired of the Goddamn Godfather” ($3,500-5,000).

American political figures are available with a document signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, authorizing the use of his name for the first presidential library ($700-1,000); an 1864 appointment signed by Abraham Lincoln included in an album of letters, notes and documents signed by figures relating to the Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln by John G. Nicolay and John Hay ($6,000-9,000); and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a Time magazine cover from February 1957, signed in 1959 ($3,000-4,000).

Inspiring world leaders and figures include Leon Trotsky, who signed in 1930 a letter to his publisher concerning the History of the Russian Revolution, published in that year ($1,000-2,000); a photograph of Nelson Mandela signed by the revolutionary in 1995 ($1,000-2,000); and a selection of Christmas cards signed by members of the British Royal Family, including cards signed by Princess Diana. Also of note are two color photographs of the 14th Dali Lama, each signed by him in Tibetan circa 1995 ($400-600), and a copy of the December 1975 issue of Time featuring Mother Teresa, signed by the Catholic nun in 1986 ($700-1,000).

Exhibition hours are 12 p.m to 5 p.m from February 14 through February 16. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.
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