February 2018 | Jeremy Dibbell

Rare Books at Auction This Week

Not quite as many sales this week as things gear up for Rare Book Week New York, but I'll have my eyes on a trio of very different auctions:

                                                                                                                                                                                            On Wednesday, February 28, Edinburgh auction house Lyon & Turnbull hosts Illustrated & Animated: The Collections of John Burningham & John Blundall, in 232 lots. John Burningham is well known as an illustrator and poster designer: he won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963 and 1970, and was a 2012 finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. The sale includes original art from many of his books, as well as a number of pieces of furniture and other decorative items from his collection. Burningham's original design for the endpapers of his first book for children, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers (pictured) is estimated at £3,000-5,000.



John Michael Blundall (1937-2014) collected puppets from around the world during a long career as a producer of puppet theater; Lyon & Turnbull offers a selection. The top-estimated lot of the sale is a puppet sculpted by Blundall himself: Parker from the 1960s series "Thunderbirds" (£5,000-7,000), while a large archive of Blundall's designs for puppets and stage sets could fetch £3,000-5,000. Among the other items from Blundall's collection are a number of surviving marionettes from the famed Clowes-Tiller family troupe (Lots 110-131); the rest of the family's marionettes are now part of the collections of the V&A.

                                                                                                                                                                               The following day, March 1, Swann Galleries sells Vintage Posters, in 551 lots. A set of Alphonse Mucha's "The Seasons" (1896) is estimated at $40,000-60,000, while a three-poster series of Mont Blanc designed by Georges Dorval could sell for $8,000-12,000. A wide range of travel, advertising, and propaganda posters on offer in this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                        On Saturday, March 3, Potter & Potter (Chicago) sells The Magic Collection of John Daniel, in 491 lots. Daniel, the 1969 "Stage Magician of the Year" and recipient of The Magic Castle's 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, collected a broad range of magic memorabilia, from posters and stage props to costumes, books, and ephemera. Lots 252 to 343 comprise much of the collection of illusionist The Great Virgil, purchased en bloc by Daniel. If you've ever wanted a collapsing red silk top hat, or a talking skull, now's your chance!

                                                                                                                                                                                           Image credit: Lyon & Turnbull