Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

A trio of sale to watch this week:  

Chiswick Auctions holds an Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages sale on Wednesday, February 27, in 345 lots. This auction includes a number of original paintings, sculptures, &c., but among the books are manuscripts are the expanded second edition of the great sea atlas Le Neptune Oriental (£10,000-15,000); a 1756 edition of the English Pilot (£4,000-6,000); Shelley's Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds (£4,000-6,000); and an 1838 whaling log from the brig William, out of Fall River, MA (£3,000-4,000; pictured below).

Also on Wednesday, University Archives will sell Autographed Documents, Manuscripts, Books & Relics, in 266 lots. Headlining this auction is a complete set of autographs of the signers of the U.S. Constitution ($60,000-70,000). Other highlights are expected to include a collection of nearly fifty playbills, nine of which feature John Wilkes Booth ($30,000-35,000); a 1781 George Washington-signed letter about prisoner exchanges ($35,000-40,000); a 1779 Benjamin Franklin letter about outfitting Lafayette's troops ($30,000-35,000); and an apparently unpublished Alexander Hamilton letter alluding to the compromise which led to the formation of Washington, D.C. (also $30,000-35,000). The latter two items are both noted as being from an extra-illustrated copy of a history of New York City.

Back at Chiswick Auctions on Thursday, Autographs & Memorabilia, in 289 lots. Among the lots on Thursday are a large collection of letters by English, French, and Italian composers and musicians (£3,000-5,000); the training notebook of cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov (£2,000-3,000); and a Vicksburg newspaper printed on wallpaper (£800-1,200). A great variety of lots in this one, making the catalogue well worth a browse, whatever your collecting interests.