May 2018 | Jeremy Dibbell

Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 10.13.54 AM.pngOn Tuesday, May 8, University Archives offers Autographed Documents, Manuscripts, Books & Relics, in 253 lots. The top-estimated lot is a collection of more than 500 pages of Shel Silverstein material, including correspondence, drafts and proofs, autograph manuscripts, sketches, and more ($60,000-70,000). A long Martin Luther King, Jr. letter to his friend and personal secretary Maude Ballou written during King's 1959 trip to India is estimated at $25,000-30,000. Also on offer are Lee Harvey Oswald's chess set ($20,000-24,000), a Betamax cassette of the first state of the famous Apple "1984" commercial ($10,000-15,000), and a duffel bag owned by JFK ($9,000-11,000), as well as other objects associated with the Kennedy family. An interesting Revolutionary War manuscript broadside could fetch $2,400-2,600. My favorite lot from this one, though, is a Horace Greeley note to an autograph seeker ($300-400; pictured above): "It is an idle fancy, this of autograph collecting and one should know enough to date his letter more lucidly than 'Charlestown [?]' before he begins to indulge it. How can I guess what state you live in? Yours Horace Greeley."


Heritage Auctions holds its Comics and Comics Art Signature Sale May 10-12, with 1,688 lots up for grabs. A Frank Franzetta painting for Death Dealer 6 (1990) is currently bid up to $600,000, while a copy of Action Comics #1 (1938) is at $340,000. Batman #1 (1940) is at $110,000; this copy hasn't been sold at auction before, according to the lot description. The original art for a 1986 Calvin and Hobbes strip has been bid up to $32,000.


Another sale of Rare, Out-of-Print, and Used Books to benefit the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society will be held on Friday, May 11, in 466 lots. A broad range of local history and genealogy, Mennonite material, religious history, &c.


Image courtesy of University Archives