November 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Titles Inc. Auction

SHAY FLORENCE - LH.jpgFlorence Shay managed to maintain a thriving, open rare bookshop in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park for forty years. When she passed away last August at the age of 90, Titles Inc. lost its center. The much beloved bookshop is now facing its inevitable demise, too--being auctioned off book by book.

Einstein-LH.jpgOn Wednesday of this week, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will offer 178 lots from Titles Inc., in Shay's favored subjects: nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, Americana, art, children's, and fine press. Most hold estimates in the low-to-mid hundreds, but there are a few stand-outs, such as a presentation copy of Selig Hecht's book, Explaining the Atom, gifted to John Nuveen from Albert Einstein, containing Einstein letter's (seen here at left) to Nuveen written from Princeton on April 29, 1947 praising the book. The estimate is $4,000-6,000.

The remaining inventory of Titles Inc. will be sold on-site at 1821 Saint Johns Ave. in Highland Park on December 6-9. Books there will be offered at 40-50% off listed prices.

As the auction proceeds--there are 650 lots in total--buyers can lookout for a first edition Encyclopaedia Britannica (1771). This set was owned by the publisher and advertising executive William Benton, who was president and chairman of Encyclopedia Britannica from 1943-1973. His business card is tipped into each volume. The estimate is $10,000-15,000. An autographed manuscript of Emily Dickinson's poem "If what we could/were what we would;/Criterion be small - It is the Ultimate of talk/the impotence to tell", written circa 1863, and later given as a wedding present to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin H. Mills from Dickinson's niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi. Nice gift! This week it is estimated to reach $15,000-20,000. 

A significant archive from Howard Hughes' around-the-world flight will also come in for a landing, followed by some intriguing aviation prints by Frank Lemon.

Images courtesy of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.