Melville, the Scrivener

Bonhams New York has two exciting sales coming up tomorrow -- Fine Books & Manuscripts, and then a double sale containing The Golden Age of Illustration Art and Modern Illustration Art. There's no way to do them justice here, so I picked just one amazing item to highlight: Melville's travel desk. A mahogany lap desk, it has brass handles and a velvet lining, and it contains an agate snuff box, two small pen knives, a glass inkwell, a pair of tweezers, a glass seal ("EMM" for E M Marrett, a relation who owned the desk before Herman), and a
mother-of-pearl pen. Under the lid are two small mounted sheets inscribed, "Our Box at the Post Office is 1162" and "Herman Melville / 104 East 26th St / New York." And yes, there are three secret drawers! How cool is that. The estimate is $20,000-$30,000, and you can even throw in a first edition of Moby Dick for another $15,000-$25,000.  

Photos courtesy of Bonhams.