Freddie Mercury Lyrics, Leaves of Grass, Brontë Letter: Auction Preview

Image: PBA Galleries

Detail of a pop-up diagram from the 1570 edition of Euclid's Elements of Geometrie, offered at PBA Galleries this week.

Here are the sales I'll be watching this week:

There are some major manuscript lots in the Sotheby's London sale on Wednesday, September 6, Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own. The autograph manuscript working lyrics for "Bohemian Rhapsody" have been estimated at £800,000–1,200,000; a notebook with autograph lyrics for songs on the Jazz album shares the estimate of £200,000–300,000 with the autograph draft working lyrics for "We Are the Champions."

On Wednesday at University Archives, 505 lots of Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia, including handwritten Bob Dylan lyrics for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (dated 2013), estimated at $40,000–50,000; a 1920 Albert Einstein letter in German to astronomer Friedrich Simon Archenhold about the theory of relativity, expected to sell for $28,000–35,000; and John Wilkes Booth's copy of an 1825 dictionary, previously in the collection of Lincoln/Kennedy assassination scholar John Latimer (estimated at $24,000–28,000). 

Forum Auctions has an online sale of Books and Works on Paper on Thursday, September 7, in 301 lots.

There are several more manuscript lots in the Thursday iteration of the Sotheby's Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own sale, including a working lyrics notebook from the early 1970s which is estimated at £120,000–180,000.

At PBA Galleries on Thursday, PBA Platinum: Rare Books & Manuscripts, in 95 lots. A first issue copy of Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855), along with Whitman's copy of a portrait of himself, with notes by his executor Horace Traubel noting that he had removed this copy from Whitman's trash. This came from the collection of Bill Reese and is estimated at $120,000–180,000. A nearly-complete copy of the 1507 Wynken de Worde edition of Voragine's Golden Legend is expected to sell for $80,000–120,000, and an 1850 letter from Charlotte Brontë to her editor William Smith Williams could fetch $40,000–60,000. A copy of the 1570 John Daye first edition of Dee's Euclid is estimated at $20,000–30,000.