Potter & Potter Auctions' Fine Books and Manuscripts Event Realizes $1.1 Million
Chicago — Potter and Potter's spectacular 620 lot Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale was a best seller in all regards. After a long day of competitive bidding, 72 lots realized between $2,500-9,999; 14 lots made between $10,000-24,999; and 5 lots broke the $25,000 mark. Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.
Important, century spanning ancient to antique books took several of the top lot slots in this sale.
· Lot #92, Ethan Allan's (1738–1789) A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity from the Time of his Being Taken by the British, near Montreal, on the 25th day of September, in the Year 1775, to the Time of his Exchange, on the 6th day of May 1778: Containing his Voyages and Travels Interspersed with Some Practical Observations. Written by Himself, and now Published for the Information of the Curious in all Nations, was estimated at $40,000-60,000 and traded hands at $78,000. This second edition from 1779 has the distinction of being only copy offered at auction since 1909 when it traded hands at Henkel's Clarence H. Clark sale - 113 years ago!
· Lot #46, Richard Hakluyt's (c. 1552–1616) The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, made by Sea or over-land, to the remote and farthest distant quarters of the Earth, at any time within the compasse of these 1500 yeeres, almost doubled its low estimate to sell for $48,000. This three volume, second (first enlarged) edition was printed in London in 1599 and had provenance to Charles Maynard, 1st Viscount Maynard and others.
· Lot #185, Alexis de Tocqueville's (1805–1859) De la Democratie en Amerique, traded hands at $33,600.00 on its $30,000-40,000 estimate. This two parts in four volume set was printed in Paris by Bourgogne and Martinet for Charles Gosselin from 1835-1840.
· Lot #102, Thomas Gamaliel Bradford's (1802–1887), An Illustrated Atlas, Geographical, Statistical and Historical of the United States and the Adjacent Countries, was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and made $21,600. This first large edition from 1838 included 39 copper engraved maps including several city plans and a double–page map of the USA by G.W. Boynton.
· Lot #377, Tales of a Thousand and One Nights; [or], The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, was estimated at $7,000-9,000 and made $26,400. This set was translated by Edward William Lane (British, 1801–1876), and considered to be the standard and comprehensive English translation of this work in its original monthly parts. It was printed in London by Whitehead and Co. for Charles Knight & Co. in 1838–1841. The set included the Part X supplement that lacks in the only other known set held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City.
Several editions of A. Conan Doyle's (1859–1930) The Hound of the Baskervilles caught the eye of bibliophiles worldwide. All were published in New York by Grosset & Dunlap and retained their original dust jackets.
· Lot #495, a copy published around 1912 or earlier, was estimated at $400-600 and made $6,600.
· Lot #494, a copy from around 1902 or 1903, was estimated at $600-800 and sold for $3,840.
· Lot #496, a copy published in 1915, beat its low estimate six times over to realize $3,600.
Also grabbing headlines at this sale were items with ties to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968).
· Lot #284, a May, 1965 edition of Ebony magazine signed by King was estimated at $3,000-4,000 and sold for $13,200. It was inscribed "My Friend / Claude Wyatt / With Warm Personal Regards / Martin Luther King Jr.” and came from the estate of Addie and Claude Wyatt, Jr.
· Lot #285, a first edition, inscribed copy of King's Strength to Love, was estimated at $2,000-3,000 and realized $12,000. it was published in New York by Harper & Row in 1963. This book contained collection of sermons delivered by Dr. King in the lead-up to the Birmingham Campaign, composed and edited mainly during the two weeks King spent in an Albany jail for holding a prayer vigil outside of Albany City Hall.
· Lot #286, a first edition, inscribed copy of King's Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? was estimated at $2,000-3,000 and sold for $13,200. It was published in New York by Harper & Row in 1967. This book was written in isolation in the Caribbean during the early months of 1967. It was King's final book published in his lifetime and the first in which he addressed the issues of income inequality and equity in education.
This sale came full circle with maps, ephemera, catalogs, and other collectible first editions.
· Lot #133, a folio containing materials related to the Treaty of Ghent, was estimated at $4,000-6,000 and delivered $38,400. This first edition of this rare set of maps denoted the boundaries between the United States and Great Britain in the Great Lakes region after the War of 1812 according to the 6th and 7th articles of the Treaty of Ghent.
· Lot #293, a first American edition, early state copy of Samuel Langhorne Clemens' ("Mark Twain") (American, 1835–1910) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was estimated at $10,000-15,000 and realized $21,600. This near pristine example was printed in 1885 in New York by the Charles L. Webster and Company.
· Lot #275, an illustrated Louis Vuitton catalog from 1887 was estimated at $400-600 and sold for $7,200. Its opposing pages were in French and English. Our experts were not able to identify any other institutionally held copies of this catalog.
According to Christopher Brink, Potter & Potter Auctions' Director of Fine Books and Manuscripts, "I am still recovering from the excitement of this event and letting it all sink in! This sale was very finely curated. I believe that encouraged competitive bidding as many of these items were currently off the market. The 96% sell–through rate was another stat that we were pleased with and one that we continue to hit. The nearly $1.1m in realized sale really was the tour de force."