Vesalius’ Working Copy, Book Arts and Fine Press, Byrne's Euclid: Auction Preview

Image: Christie's

Vesalius' annotated working copy of the 1555 second edition of his De Humani Corporis Fabrica, offered at Christie's this week.

A busy and notably important week coming up in the auction rooms:

At Sotheby's New York on Monday, January 29, 16 lots of Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana. Sharing the top estimate of $300,000–500,000 are a contemporary manuscript map of General Edward Braddock's route to Fort Duquesne (1755) and Captain James Duncan's manuscript journal of the Siege of Yorktown (1781). The latter also includes additional commonplace-book-style excerpts, musical notation, and square dance calls. Estimated at $280,000–350,000 is a complete set of Theodor de Bry's Great and Small Voyages in eleven volumes. Jonathan Dayton's copy of the Gazette of the United States for 1789–1793, with some gaps, is expected to sell for $250,000–350,000. An 1817 letter from John Adams to John Trumbull about the artist's paintings for the Capitol rotunda could sell for $200,000–300,000.

Ending on Tuesday, January 30, the New England Book Auctions sale of stock from The Veatchs, Fine Press, Bindings and Book Arts, in 244 lots. Expected top lots include a 36-volume run of Matrix, mostly the deluxe editions ($6,000–9,000); Thomas and Harriett Tindale's The Handmade Papers of Japan ($4,000–6,000); and the Kelmscott Press Biblia Innocentium ($2,000–3,000).

At Forum Auctions on Wednesday, January 31, 338 lots of A Fifth Selection of 16th and 17th Century English Books from the Fox Pointe Manor Library, including the 1633 first collected edition of John Donne's Poems (£9,000–11,000); the Boies Penrose copy of the 1611 first edition of Coryats Crudities (£7,000–10,000); and the Doheny copy of the first complete edition of Chapman's translation of the Iliad (£6,000–8,000). Don't miss a look through this one if you have an interest in English printing of this period.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers will sell Part Two of the Library of the Late Christopher Foyle of Beeleigh Abbey on Wednesday, in 321 lots. Three volumes of Navy Board documents from 1669, many signed by Samuel Pepys, rates the top estimate at £10,000–15,000. An enlarged and extra-illustrated copy of George Augustus Sala's Life and Adventures extended into nine volumes with about 300 autograph letters is estimated at £4,000–6,000. A signed first edition of H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man could sell for £3,000–5,000.

At Bonhams online on Wednesday, 189 lots from the Library of the Late Robin de Beaumont, including one of six copies on vellum of the 1844 Pickering edition of The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with Durer's illustrations (£6,000–8,000). One of 100 copies of the 1907 Zeitler edition of Lucian in a Josef Hoffmann-designed binding by the Weiner Werkstätte is estimated at £5,000–7,000. A copy of the 1847 Pickering edition of Euclid edited by Oliver Byrne could also sell for £5,000–7,000.

Bonhams Skinner's online sale of Fine Books & Rare Manuscripts ends on Thursday, February 1. Among the 346 lots are the 1797 edition of Edward Young's Night Thoughts will illustrations by William Blake ($5,000–7,000); five of Ian Fleming's Bond novels from the library of David Lloyd ($2,000–3,000); and a 25-bill Pacific Theater "short snorter" with signatures collected by cartoonist Jack Tippit while on duty with the Air Force in WWII ($2,000–3,000).

Ending on Friday, February 2, Christie's sale of Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including Americana, in 218 lots. Highlighting this one is Vesalius' own working copy of the second edition (1555) of his De Humani Corporis Fabrica, estimated at $800,000–1,200,000. Both the lot essay and the accompanying feature piece are absolute must-reads this week. Other lots include a heavily-annotated copy of the 1482 Ratdolt edition of Euclid ($300,000–400,000); a Shakespeare Second Folio ($200,000–300,000); an a portable spinning wheel given by Mohandas Gandhi to Marion and Lilabati Ghose which previously appeared on "Antiques Roadshow" ($50,000–80,000).