New York Week Preview, Part 2: Swann Galleries

On Thursday, April 7, Swann Galleries will hold its spring auction of fine books & manuscripts at 104 East 25th Street at 10:30 a.m. A great variety of material in a manageable 136 lots.

A Zaehnsdorf binding of Edmund Spenser's long-form poem, The Faerie Queen, bound here in three volumes, is one lot I'd love to see in person. "Lavishly gilt chestnut brown crushed morocco," boasts the catalogue (est. $4,000-6,000).

And like the Thoreau set for sale at Heritage on Thursday, the 23-volume set of John Burroughs that Swann is offering is another quiet beauty that I'd love to own. A Riverside Press set from 1904-1922, it is one of the 750 sets signed by Burroughs. Neatly bound in red morocco, decorated in gilt, its estimate is $5,000-7,000. Looking further down the lot list, I also spy a ten-volume set of John Muir, with an original leaf in Muir's hand, estimated at $4,000-6,000.

The art of sculptor-designer-printmaker Eric Gill seems to be enjoying extra-special attention these days. (In the past week, I've seen notice of two new limited editions of his work, one from Kat Ran Press and one from Old Stile Press). And what could likely be the star of Swann's sale is an association copy of the 1931 Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Four Gospels...illustrated by Gill. One of only twelve copies printed on Roman vellum and bound in gilt-decorated white pigskin, it also features an inscription by Gill to his friend Leonard Woolf. Its estimate is $60,000-75,000.

Also on the block at this sale: a first edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species... (est. $50,000-70,000), an interesting set of volumes with fore-edge paintings showing London views (est. $4,000-6,000), a first edition of Joyce's Ulysses (est. $25,000-35,000), a section of Rackham-illustrated books, and a nice selection of manuscript leaves (est. $500 and up).

For more highlights, read Swann's press release for the sale here.

For those who stick around, Swann is holding a second auction on Monday, April 11, featuring early printed books, including a section of Armenian books.