News | May 27, 2022

Reese Sales Raise More Than $16 Million

Courtesy of Christie's

A rare, contemporary broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence printed in Massachusetts sold for $2.1 million.

New York – The fabled private library of the most prominent antiquarian book dealer of his generation achieved extraordinary results over two live sales, totaling $16,141,944. The May 25 live evening sale, The Private Collection of William S. Reese: Part One totaled $8,216,292, with 95% sold by lot, and 146% hammer of low estimate. The May 26 live day sale, The Private Collection of William S. Reese: Part Two, totaled $7,925,652, with 97.5% sold by lot, 200% hammer above low estimate. 

Part One was led by the first Massachusetts broadside printing of The Declaration Of Independence, John Rodgers, c.14-16 July 1776, which brought $2,100,000. Other notable lots included, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, John Smith, 1624, $504,000; The Bloody Massacre, Paul Revere 1770, $352,800; The Federalist, Hamilton, Madison, Jay, 1788, $352,800; and Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson 1785, $302,400. Part Two saw top results for Portrait of Big Buffalo, A Chippewa by Charles Bird King, 1827, which brought $478,800 and Grapes and Grape Vines of California, Hannah Millard, 1877, $478,800. Among many other strong results were The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, John James Audubon, which fetched $441,000, and Indian Hospitality—Conversing by Signs, Alfred Jacob Miller, C.1837, which realized $302,400.

The Reese sales continue with: The Private Collection of William S. Reese: Part Three Online through 2 June, and The Herman Melville Collection of William S. Reese Online, 1-14 September.

Christina Geiger, Head of the Book Department said: “We feel profoundly honored to have handled these sales, which together comprise the most important auction of printed Americana in a generation. The enormous success is a resounding tribute to the late William Reese’s connoisseurship, and reflects the wide respect in which he was held by a vast community of curators, fellow rare book dealers, and collectors. His legacy will continue to inspire and energize this community for many decades to come.”