Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Image: Christie's

Medieval astrolabe quadrant offered at Christie's London this week.

A very busy week coming up in the salerooms; here are a few of the auctions I'll be watching.

Things kick off with six sales on Tuesday, December 10:

Illustration Art at Swann Galleries, in 280 lots; these include several illustrations by Ludwig Bemelmans and Edward Gorey.

- At Artcurial, the Max & Béatrice Cointreau Library. The 175 lots are expected to be led by Charles de Saint-Gelais' 1514 translation of Maccabees, estimated at €10,000–15,000. 

- Forum Auctions holds an online sale of Books and Works on Paper, in 231 lots. The top-estimated lots, at £1,000–1,500, are a rare 1778 rebus criticizing British policy toward America, and Rev. George Newenham Wright's plate books China and Hindostan, bound together. There's also a first edition of M. R. James' wonderful Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, estimated at £600–800.

Rare Books & Literature at Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, in 862 lots. A good selection of interesting Yeats material up for grabs in this one!

- Sotheby's online sale of English Literature, History, Children's Books & Illustrations ends on Tuesday. The 229 lots include a collection of letters between Ian Fleming and his wife Ann (£200,000–300,000), a Shakespeare Second Folio (£70,000–100,000); and a trio of lots estimated at £50,000–70,000: two pieces printed by Wynken de Worde; a first edition of Smith's Wealth of Nations, from the library of the Earls of Haddington; and a working Enigma I machine.

- At Christie's New York, Ansel Adams and the American West: Photographs from the Center for Creative Photography, in 86 lots. 

On Wednesday, December 11, Christie's London sells Important Books, Atlases, Globes & Scientific Instruments from the Collection of Nico and Nanni Israel. The 32 lots include a copy of the 1661 edition of Sir Robert Dudley's Arcano del Mare (£500,000–700,000); a medieval astrolabe quadrant made in southern France around 1300 (£400,000–600,000); and an early Dutch pocket globe attributed to Willem Blaeu (£70,000–100,000).

The second Christie's London sale on Wednesday is Shakespeare and Goethe: Masterpieces of European Literature from the Schøyen Collection. The 79 lots are expected to be led by a Shakespeare Second Folio (£120,000–180,000); a Fourth Folio (£50,000–80,000); a 1683 quarto edition of Hamlet (£60,000–90,000); a collection of William Henry Ireland manuscript Shakespeare forgeries (£4,000–6,000); and a small collection of pedigrees and manuscript notes about the families of Shakespeare and Sir Thomas Phillipps (£3,000–5,000).

Rounding out Christie's sales is 176 lots of Valuable Printed Books & Manuscripts. Robertus Valturius' De re militari (1472), the first book printed with technical illustrations and the first book printed at Verona, rates the top estimate at £170,000–250,000. A copy of Roberts' The Holy Land could fetch £100,000–150,000, as could a copy of Menabrea's "Sketch of the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage," inscribed by the translator Ada Lovelace to Richard Ford. Another copy of Smith's Wealth of Nations is on offer here, at £70,000–100,000. A 1670 Robert Hooke manuscript about the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire is estimated at £40,000–60,000.

Also on Wednesday, Printed Books, Maps & Documents at Dominic Winter Auctioneers, in 525 lots. Notable here is a book from the library of Joachim Rheticus (De cosmographiae rudimentis, 1561), estimated at £5,000–8,000.

On Thursday, December 12, another trio of sales:

Modern Literature & First Editions, Children's, Private Press & Illustrated Books at Dominic Winter Auctioneers, in 368 lots. 

Livres Anciens–XXe Siècle (226 lots) and Éditions Originales du XIXe au XXIe Siècle at ALDE (192 lots).

Finally, on Friday, December 13, Livres Anciens & Modernes at Pierre Bergé, in 150 lots. Max Ernst's Das Schnabelpaar rates the top estimate, at €70,000–80,000.