Auctions | May 30, 2014

Flannery O’Connor Signed & Inscribed Editions, Rex Stout, and Latin American Literature Coming Up at Swann Galleries


New York—Swann Galleries’ 19th & 20th Century Literature auction on Thursday, June 19 offers a wide selection of works by 19th-century English graphic humorists, desirable modern firsts including a fine run of Rex Stout titles, scarce James Joyce editions and signed and inscribed books by Flannery O’Connor.

In fact, the sale features excellent association copies of O'Connor's only two novels Wise Blood, 1952, and The Violent Bear It Away, 1960, as well as her best known collection of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1955, all signed and inscribed to her former professor and family friend, George Haslam. Signed O'Connor titles seldom appear at auction, and these are estimated at ($2,000 to $3,000 to $4,000 to $6,000 each).

Following up on last season's Literature auction, which set new auction records for titles by detective fiction author Rex Stout, is another fine run of Stout first editions in superior condition, spanning the bulk of his long career and prodigious output including Too Many Cooks, 1938; Over My Dead Body, 1940; and Where There’s A Will, 1940 ($3,500 to $5,000 each).

Among James Joyce highlights are a second impression of the first edition—number 235 of 2000 copies on handmade paper—of Ulysses, 1922 ($4,500 to $6,000); and a first limited English edition—number 4 of 425 copies—of Finnegans Wake that includes an autograph letter signed by Joyce announcing a party for his 57th birthday on the occasion of the book's publication, 1939 ($5,000 to $7,500). 

The sale features a golf-related highlight, a limited issue copy of Down the Fairway: The Golf Life and Play of Robert T. Jones, Jr., signed twice by golf icon Bobby Jones, and also signed by co-author O.B. Keeler, one of 300 copies, New York, 1927 ($8,000 to $12,000).

Latin American literature highlights include true first editions from South America, including the recently passed Gabriel Garcia Marquez's most famous and popular novel Cien años de soledad [100 Years of Solitude], Buenos Aires, 1967 ($1,800 to $2,500); a twice inscribed copy of Pablo Neruda’s Obras Completas, Buenos Aires, 1956 ($2,500 to $3,500); and Julio Cortazar’s Rayuela [Hopscotch], Buenos Aires, 1963 ($2,000 to $3,000).

First editions of benchmarks in progressive social thought including works by John Maynard Keynes, John Stuart Mill, and Thorstein Veblen.


Also from the 19th century are Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, first American edition in original boards, Philadelphia, 1832 ($3,500 to $5,000); a set of first editions of Emily Dickinson’s first three books of poetry, Boston, 1890, 91 and 96 ($5,000 to $7,500); a signed first edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, London, 1899 ($8,000 to $12,000); and a selection of works by 19th-century English graphic humorists.

The highlight among a run of children’s books is A.A. Milne’s beloved Winnie-the-Pooh, first American edition of the large paper issue, signed by Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard, New York, 1926 ($6,000 to $9,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19. The books will be on public exhibition on Saturday, June 14, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, June 16 to Wednesday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue with information on bidding by mail or fax is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to arrange in advance to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact John Larson at (212) 254-4710, extension 61, or via email at

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood, first edition, signed and inscribed, New York, 1952. (Estimate: $4,000 to $6,000).

Second image: Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, first edition, large-paper issue, one of 100 copies signed, London, 1899. (Estimate: $8,000 to $12,000).