Gutenberg Bible Leaf, Kennedy Christmas Card, and Poe Letter: Auction Preview

Bonhams Skinner

An 1848 Edgar Allan Poe letter, offered at Bonhams Skinner this week.

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

At New England Book Auctions on Tuesday, January 31, 210 lots of Literature, Miniatures, Graphics & Illustrated Books, including the 1969 Maecenas Press Alice in Wonderland portfolio with illustrations by Salvador Dali, Barry Moser's 1985 Wizard of Oz, and a vellum copy of the 1902 Essex House Press edition of The Masque of the Edwards of England.

University Archives will sell Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia in 460 lots on Wednesday, February 1. Lots include an 1806 Thomas Paine letter to publisher Thomas Clio Rickman in London ($24,000–35,000); a December 1783 discharge order signed by George Washington ($20,000–30,000); a lengthy 1777 letter from John Hancock to his wife ($20,000–30,000); and a 1963 holiday card signed by both John and Jackie Kennedy before JFK's assassination and never sent ($15,000–20,000).

On Thursday, February 2, Freeman's sells 142 lots of Books and Manuscripts. Expected to lead the sale is a Gutenberg Bible leaf, acquired in 1940 by Dard Hunter on behalf of Chillicothe Newspapers, Inc. to be included in a display on the history of printing at the company's headquarters building. The leaf is estimated at $60,000–90,000. At the same estimate range is a remarkable presentation copy: Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time (1924), inscribed to Maxwell Perkins, his future editor at Charles Scribner's Sons.

At Bonhams Skinner on Thursday, 278 lots of Fine Books & Rare Manuscripts, including a Poe autograph note to G.W. Eveleth asking him to send Poe any newspaper clippings containing notices of himself ($30,000–50,000); a 1755 letter from George Washington to Sally Fairfax ($12,000–18,000); a 1768 Mountain Road Lottery ticket signed by Washington ($8,000–12,000); and a 1768 Benjamin Franklin letter about setting his grandson up as a printer ($5,000–7,000).

Heritage Auctions sells 304 lots from the Gary Munson Collection on Thursday. These include a set of 11 volumes (of 14) from the "Creeps" series published by Philip Allan between 1932 and 1936 and a copy of the 1596 translation of Lewes Lavaterus' Of Ghostes and Spirites.