December 2020 | Jeremy Dibbell

Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Soler y Llach

Title page of the 1517 Logroño chronicle Comie[n]ça la Chronica des Serenissimo Rey Don Juan el Segundo desde nombre, offered at Soler y Llach this week.

A quiet week coming up in the auction rooms, not surprisingly:

Four Decades: In Celebration of AIPAD at Sotheby's New York ends on Monday, December 21. This sale of 88 lots marks the fortieth anniversary of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD). Sharing the top estimate at $40,000–60,000 are an 1843 William Henry Fox Talbot salt print, "Elm Tree, Lacock Abbey," and Robert Frank's "Covered Car," a gelatin silver print from the 1950s. A Lillian Bassman diptych, "Lisa Fonssagrives, Harper's Bazaar, and Flower 28 (Pink Mallow)" is estimated at $30,000–50,000, as is Ormond Gigli's "Girls in the Window, New York City," a mural-sized chromogenic print.

Soler y Llach

On Tuesday, December 22, Soler y Llach in Barcelona sells Libros Raros y Valiosos, in 173 lots. Three lots start at €25,000: the 1497 Ferrara Epistole de San Iyeronymo Vulgare; the five-volume 1506–1507 Salamanca edition of Alfonso Tostado's Sobre el Eusebio; and the 1517 Logroño chronicle Comie[n]ça la Chronica des Serenissimo Rey Don Juan el Segundo desde nombre. A second impression of Llull's Liber de Laudib. Beatissime Virginia Mariae (Paris, 1499) starts at €15,000.

I do want to look back at a few notable prices from last week's sales, though. At Sotheby's Paris, a rare first edition copy of Pascal's Lettres to A. Dettonville (Paris, 1658–1659) sold for €107,100 (doubling the presale estimate). Over at ALDE, Henri Matisse's Jazz (Paris, 1947) fetched €125,000. At the Pierre Bergé sale, a first edition of Descartes' Discours de la Méthode sold for €90,990 (triple its estimate), while a c.1497 Paris Roman de la Rose also tripled it estimate, selling for €92,254. Another overachiever in that sale was a Stendahl manuscript diary, which made €91,000.

The Bonhams sale also saw some noteworthy sale prices: the Stoneywood Bible made £200,250 (its estimate was £20,000–30,000). A series of fifteen lots associated with John Chard totaled more than £485,000, and a presentation copy of Benjamin Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity sold for £81,500.