Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Courtesy of Christie's

The notebook of an anonymous German alchemist (c.1480–1500), offered at Christie's this week.

A very busy week is coming up in the salerooms.

Sotheby's London's online sale of Books and Manuscripts: 19th and 20th Century ends on Tuesday, December 14. The 171 lots include a rare posthumously-printed copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (c.1832), estimated at £50,000–70,000. A first issue copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone could sell for £40,000–60,000. The same estimate has been assigned to an inscribed presentation copy of Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London (1993). A first edition of The Hobbit inscribed by Tolkien is estimated at £15,000–20,000.

A 200-lot sale of Early Printing, Americana & Rare Books at New England Book Auctions ends on Tuesday, as does the 446-lot sale of Printing & Bookbinding Equipment and Supplies. The latter has an impressive array of wood type, as well as metal type, bordering material, and other equipment. 

At Christie's London on Wednesday, December 15, 207 lots of Valuable Books and Manuscripts. A first edition of Darwin's Origin is estimated at £150,000–250,000, while a sixth edition inscribed by Darwin could sell for £100,000–150,000. A complete set of Goya's Los Caprichos is also estimated at £150,000–250,000. A c.1480s Book of Hours on vellum, use of Tours, is estimated at £70,000–100,000, and a Shakespeare Third Folio, second issue, could sell in the same range. The notebook of an anonymous German alchemist from the end of the fifteenth century is estimated at £60,000–90,000.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers sells 498 lots of Printed Books, Maps, Historical Documents & Ephemera, Bookbinding Tools & Materials, Vinyl Records on Wednesday. A first edition of Johnson's Dictionary (1755) rates the top estimate of £6,000–8,000.

Also on Wednesday, 205 lots of Fine Books and Manuscripts at Bonhams New York. A 1782 Benjamin Franklin letter to Benjamin Vaughan about the terms of the Treaty of Paris is expected to sell for $80,000–120,000, and a June 1784 Franklin letter to British peace commissioner David Hartley is estimated at $70,000–100,000. An original albumen print photograph of the Rossetti family taken by C.L. Dodgson (1863), could sell for $50,000–70,000.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers sells 486 lots of Children's Books & Illustrations, Playing Cards, Modern First Editions & Autographs on Thursday, December 16. A first issue copy of Dracula is expected to lead the way, estimated at £12,000–15,000; a first issue copy of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale could sell for £10,000–15,000.

Forum Auctions sells Books and Works on Paper on Thursday, in 280 lots. 

Bonhams New York's Books and Manuscripts Online sale also ends on Thursday; the 1184 lots include a deluxe copy of Paul Verlaine's Parallèlement (1943), one of just ten copies in this state ($5,000–8,000). An original John R. Neill pen-and-ink drawing for The Wonder City of Oz could sell for $4,000–6,000.

Rounding out the week's sales, PBA Galleries sells 400 lots of Americana – Travel & Exploration – Maps & Views on Thursday. A copy of the very rare "Blue Map" of the Qing Dynasty, likely printed around 1810, could sell for $150,000–200,000.