Auctions | November 2020 | Jeremy Dibbell

Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Image: Bonhams

The Lunar Bible, a microtext copy of the Bible carried to the moon by astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14 in 1971, offered at Bonhams Los Angeles on Thursday.

A busy week coming up in the auction rooms:

At Tajan in Paris, Books and Manuscripts on Tuesday, November 3, in 176 lots. Expected to lead the sale is a copy of the 1948 Albert Skira edition of Ronsard's poems with 128 illustrations by Matisse (€8,000–12,000). A collection of twenty-two volumes of the works of Buffon, Lacépède, and Cuvier, printed on yellow paper and accompanied by 47 original artworks is estimated at €6,000–8,000.

Also on Tuesday, Livres rares et Manuscrits at Christie's Paris. The 130 lots include an album of 66 Felice Beato photographs of Delhi and Amritsar taken in the late 1850s (€80,000–120,000), and a September 13, 1872 letter from Félix Régamey to his brother Frédéric illustrated with a drawing in ink of Rimbaud and Verlaine (€70,000–100,000). A complete set of twenty-eight artist's books published by Yvon Lambert between 1992 and 2018 could sell for €50,000–70,000.

Paris sales continue on Wednesday with Bibliothèque Guy Gaulard - Deuxième Partie at Rossini, in 141 lots.

On Thursday, November 5, Forum Auctions sells Books and Works on Paper, in 287 lots. At the top estimate of £1,000–1,500 are the six volumes of Moreau de Saint-Méry's Loix et constitutions des colonies françoises de l'Amérique sous le Vent and a bit of a franken-copy of the 1634 London edition of Harington's translation of Orlando Furioso. John Davis' The Post-Captain (1806), described as the first English "naval novel," could sell for £800–1,200.

Moving to the west coast for Thursday afternoon, there will be a History of Science and Technology, including Air and Space sale at Bonhams Los Angeles. The 206 lots include a signed Darwin manuscript leaf containing an early draft of text from The Descent of Man ($250,000–350,000) and a first edition of Darwin's Origin ($90,000–120,000). A group of signed Gödel offprints is estimated at $40,000–60,000. The Lunar Bible, a microform Bible carried to the moon by astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, is estimated at $20,000–30,000.

Also on Thursday afternoon, PBA Galleries sells 408 lots of Americana – Travel, Exploration, Space – World History – Cartography. A large Carleton Watkins albumen photograph of San Francisco's Cliff House (early 1870s) rates the top estimate, at $15,000–25,000. A copy of the first octavo edition of Vancouver's Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World (London, 1801) is estimated at $4,000–7,000.

And back to Paris to round out the week on Friday, November 6 for Bibliothèque du Docteur Poirier II at Pierre Bergé & Associés. The 258 lots are expected to be led by Bougainville's Journal de le navigation autour du monde de la frégate La Thétis et de la corvette L'Espérance pendant les années 1824, 1825 et 1826 (Paris, 1837), estimated at €4,000–5,000. A set of Machines et inventions approuvées par l'Académie Royale des Sciences (Paris, 1777) could sell for €3,000–5,000.