October 2010 | Jeremy Dibbell

October Auction Preview

October's book auction schedule is packed with interesting sales:
  • I've already previewed Bloomsbury New York's 13 October sale of natural history and color-plate books.
  • Swann New York will sell Literature, Art, Press and Illustrated Books on 14 October, in 328 lots.
  • A "second selection" from the James S. Copley library will be sold at Sotheby's New York on 15 October. Another really excellent selection of American manuscripts and documents here, in 253 lots. The top estimate goes to a manuscript list of California missions written by Junipero Serra in 1777 (est. $150,000-250,000). A first edition of Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia rates an estimate of $100,000-150,000. Washington's copy of The Beauties of Swift(1782) could sell for $30,000-50,000. I find the Tobias Lear letter on the final illness and death of Washington quite compelling (est. $30,000-50,000). I'll probably have more to say about this as it comes up.
  • The single-item companion sale to the Copley selection is the Henry Strachey papers, which consists of about 80 items pertaining to the peace negotiations between Britain and the United States at the end of the Revolution. The estimate is $700,000-1,200,000.
  • The second round of Arcana sales will be held on 27 October at Christie's London. Like the first round (preview, report) there are some truly amazing items among the 65 lots in this sale which make the catalog an absolute must-browse. A first edition of Mark Catesby's Natural History of the Carolinas &c. (est. £200,000-300,000); a copy of Theodor de Bry's Florilegium renovatum et auctum (1641) with contemporary hand coloring (est. £150,000-250,000); a first edition of Brant's edition of Aesop (1501) with a great provenance (est. £60,000-80,000); the Garden, Ltd. copy of Johnson's Dictionary (1755), uncut and unrestored (est. £60,000-80,000) - just a few of the great things that will be on the block at the end of the month.
  • On 28 October Sotheby's London will sell the first part of The Library of an English Bibliophile, in 149 lots. A presentation copy of Dickens' A Christmas Carol to his close friend W.C. Macready is expected to be the top seller, at £150,000-200,000. The Hogan-Doheny copy of Austen's Pride and Prejudice is expected to fetch £75,000-100,000, and a copy of the first edition of Shakespeare's collected poems (1640) is estimated at £80,000-100,000. A set of all five editions of The Compleat Angler published during Walton's lifetime rates a £70,000-100,000 estimate.
If I've missed any, my apologies!