Ricky Jay’s collection, Mark Twain’s typewriter, and Franco-Prussian War mail: Auction Preview

Image: Doyle

Henry Abbott's "Birch Bark" Christmas books, a complete set of which are offered at Doyle this week.

Here are the sales I'll be watching this week - it's a busy one!

At Quinn's Auction Galleries on Monday, February 20, Presidential Autographs and Americana, in 166 lots. A February 14, 1865 consular appointment signed by Lincoln and Seward shares the top estimate of $4,000–6,000 with a check signed by Kennedy as president. A first edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1832) is expected to sell for $3,000–5,000.

Aguttes sells 539 lots of Lettres & Manuscrits Autographes, Livres & Photographies on Wednesday, February 22. The complete manuscript of the 1865 novel Jean qui grogne et Jean qui rit is estimated at €20,000–25,000, as is a set of 15 letters carried in diplomatic bags during the Franco-Prussian War, between October 1870 and January 1871. Sixteen pages of Voltaire manuscript notes are expected to sell for €15,000–20,000, and Louis-François Cassas' Voyage pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phénicie, de la Palestine et de la Basse Égypte (1798–1799) is estimated at €12,000–15,000.

At ALDE on Wedneday, Livres anciens et du XIXe siècle, in 353 lots.

Heritage Auctions sells 520 lots of Historical Manuscripts on Wednesday, including a typewriter owned by Mark Twain at the end of his life, a 1782 promissory note signed by Haym Salomon and Robert Morris, and an autograph copy of John Singleton Mosby's April 21, 1865 farewell address to his unit. Other notable lots include the 1846–1850 journal of James G. Birney following the accident which paralyzed him and the 1900–1901 logbook for the whaling back Kathleen of New Bedford, MA.

Forum Auctions sells Books and Works on Paper on Thursday, February 23, in 315 lots. An album of 69 albumen prints, Terra Sancta (1909) shares the top estimate of £1,000–1,500 with a collection of 38 vintage photographic prints of Gamal Abdel Nasser and a complete run of the Picture Post in 49 volumes (1938–1957).

At Doyle Auctions on Thursday, 259 lots of Sporting & Travel Books. A deluxe copy of Leonard West's The Natural Trout Fly and Its Imitation (1912) is expected to lead the sale at $4,000–6,000. Also on offer are a complete collection of Henry Abbott's "Birch Bark" Christmas gift books, in 22 volumes, estimated at $2,500–3,500.

Swann Galleries sells 266 lots of Fine Photographs on Thursday. Irving Penn's Blast rates the top estimate, at $30,000–45,000. Lawrence Schiller's portfolio Marilyn 12 is expected to sell for $15,000–25,000, as is Andy Warhol's Holly Solomon.

At PBA Galleries on Thursday, Fine Printing & Small Press: The William P. Barlow, Jr. & Rue Jenkins Collections, with Additions, in 431 lots. The Editions Koch Fragments of Parmenides (2003), one of 26 deluxe lettered copies, is expected to sell for $12,000–18,000. The 2020 Arion Press edition of Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez could fetch $6,000–9,000. Much more Arion Press here, as well as a wide variety of Joe D'Ambrosio material.

Rounding out the week, The Ricky Jay Collection at Potter & Potter, on Saturday, February 25. The 369 lots include a huge variety of material and do be sure to have a good look through this catalog. Among the highlights are expected to be a gruesome poster maquette from around 1878 for the magician Alexander Herrmann ($20,000–40,000); fifty volumes of the diaries and notebooks of Germain the Wizard (Charles Mattmuller), which are estimated at $10,000–20,000. Mattmuller's scripts, patter, and programs are being sold separately and are expected to sell for $8,000–12,000.