News | July 13, 2022

First Editions, Second Thoughts Auction Earns $612,000

Courtesy of Christie's

London – Christie’s announces results from First Editions, Second Thoughts: An Auction in support of English PEN.  Taking place for only the second time in the U.K. this online literary auction (28 June – 12 July) comprised First Edition books and works of art from internationally renowned contemporary artists and authors. Each work was personally annotated by the artist or author to include their insights, recollections, thoughts or illustrations, creating a unique and covetable collector’s item. The proceeds raised from the sale will fund English PEN’s work to defend free expression and campaign for writers who are at risk.
Records were achieved for First Editions sold at auction for John le Carré, Hilary Mantel, David Mitchell, Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett and Salman Rushdie.
The sale received international interest with registrants and bidders from 18 countries, with 51% of buyers from the U.K., 37% from North America, and 5% from Continental Europe.
Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN, comments, ‘We are hugely grateful for this extraordinary conclusion to a very special auction. Thank you to all the writers and artists who have generously looked back and annotated some of their finest work. The funds raised at Christie’s for English PEN will help us to continue the increasingly urgent and vital work of campaigning for writers at risk, and for freedom of expression in the UK and across the world.’
Sale Highlights include:
Authors: John le Carré, (1931–2020). The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. London: Victor Gollancz, 1963. (Illustrated on page one top). (Estimate £8,000 – 12,000), realised £35,280; Hilary Mantel (b. 1952), Bring Up the Bodies. London: Fourth Estate, 2012. (Estimate £4,000 – 6,000), realised £30,240; David Mitchell (b.1969), Cloud Atlas. London: Sceptre, 2004. (Illustrated below far right).  (Estimate £4,000 – 6,000), realised £27,720; Tom Stoppard (b.1937), Leopoldstadt. London: Faber and Faber, 2020. (Illustrated below second left). (Estimate £2,000 – 3,000), realised £21,420; Alan Bennett (b.1934), The History Boys. London: Faber and Faber, 2004.  (Estimate £4,000 – 6,000), realised £17,640; Thomas Keneally (b.1935), Schindler’s List. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. (Estimate £3,000 – 5,000), realised £16,380; Quentin Blake (b.1932, illustrator), – Roald Dahl (1916–1990).  The BFG. London: Jonathan Cape, 1982. (Illustrated below second from right). (Estimate £6,000 – 9,000), realised £13,860; Salman Rushdie, (b.1947), Midnight’s Children. London: Jonathan Cape, 1981.  (Estimate £4,000 - 6,000), realised £11,970; Margaret Atwood (b.1939), The Handmaid's Tale. London: Jonathan Cape, 1986. (Estimate £4,000 – 6,000), realised £11,340.

Artists: Antony Gormley (b.1950), Stand up for Ukraine II. (Estimate £15,000-20,000), realised £44,100; Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir. Estimate £5,000-7,000), realised £12,600.
The sale comprised 89 lots including works by internationally renowned writers such as Hilary Mantel, Salman Rushdie, John le Carré, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett, along with art works from highly esteemed artists Antony Gormley, Ai Weiwei and Tracey Emin.
English PEN is one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations which champions the freedom to write and the freedom to read around the world, and is the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries.