Royal Manuscripts, George Washington's Book, Inscribed "Little Women": This Week's Auctions

Image: Sotheby's

Illustrated heraldic manuscripts presented to Queen Elizabeth I, offered at Sotheby's this week.

Here are the sales I'll be watching this week:

At Freeman's on Wednesday, May 3, 169 lots of Books and Manuscripts, including a volume from George Washington's library, which sold for $441,000 over estimates of just $12,000–18,000. A first edition of the King James Bible, with one leaf in facsimile, made $88,200. An payment order for delivery of copies of the Dunlap broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence realized $32,760.

Bonhams Skinner sold 235 lots of Rare Books & Manuscripts on Wednesday. An inscribed copy of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women sold for $25,500, a single volume of the 1834–35 Bulaq edition of the Book of a Thousand and One Nights in Arabic sold for $12,750, and the Arion Press edition of Leaves of Grass (2014) was hammered down at $5,000.

Several sales of coronation-related items will be held on Thursday, May 4: at Chiswick Auctions, a 135-lot sale titled Happy & Glorious: God Save the King, and at Sotheby's, The Coronation Sale, in 36 lots. One of two known copies of Charles II's "Declaration of Breda" is expected to sell for £400,000–600,000, and nine heraldic manuscripts presented to Elizabeth I could sell for £100,000–200,000.

At Swann Galleries on Thursday, 308 lots of Early Printed Books. A three-play fragment from Shakespeare's First Folio containing "King Lear," "Othello," and "Anthony & Cleopatra" is estimated at $60,000–80,000, and a copy of the 1634 quarto edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen could sell for $40,000–60,000. St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei (Mainz, 1473) is expected to sell for $30,000–50,000, and Tasso's La Gierusalemme Liberata (1590) could also fetch $30,000–50,000. Quite a wide range of material in this one so if you have any interest in early printing, don't miss this sale.

PBA Galleries sells Fine Literature with Beats, Bukowski & the Counterculture, Rock Posters on Thursday, in 551 lots. An unpublished Bukowski short story with twenty-six original letters rates the top estimate at $30,000–50,000. A set of the first five Black Sparrow Press broadsides, all signed by Bukowski, are expected to sell for $20,000–30,000. More than 100 Berkeley Political Posters Workshop posters are estimated at $15,000–25,000.