250x250_Books-kovats.jpgOxford, England - Acclaimed British contemporary artist Tania Kovats has created a new public artwork at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford. Titled The Space of Reading, the permanent commission is a sculpture created from casts of 21 open books and has been installed above the public entrance of the Weston Library.

The artwork was unveiled on 29 January and was commissioned by the Bodleian Libraries with funding from Art Fund and the Henry Moore Foundation. The work has been installed in the ceiling of the colonnade on the south side of the Weston Library, located at the Library’s public entrance on Oxford’s historic Broad Street.

The Weston Library opened to the public in 2015 following a three-year renovation of this 1930s Giles Gilbert Scott building by WilkinsonEyre architects. It is now the Bodleian’s Special Collections library and includes a stunning visitor space with exhibition galleries, a lecture theatre, café and shop.

The Space of Reading focuses on the physical presence of the book and alludes to the diversity and richness of the Libraries’ collections, which include more than 13 million printed items. Kovats drew inspiration from the ceiling of Duke Humfrey’s Library, the oldest reading room at the Bodleian Libraries. The sculptures were cast from actual books taken from Kovats’ personal collection of books, mainly books she read with her son.

Tania Kovats said: “It was the flying books on the panelled ceiling of Duke Humfrey’s Library that were the starting point for this work - I found these completely magical. I saw them on the same day that I was given a tour of some of the treasures of the Bodleian’s collections when I saw first-hand things like fragments of papyrus with Sappho’s poetry. These completely blew my mind.

“The Space of Reading is inspired by the idea of what is housed in the Bodleian - more than a single brain could ever assimilate. And yet there is still more to be said and written and understood. So this work is about some specific books but also about the future books that will be written in the Bodleian Libraries.”

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said: “The Weston Library is a space where the historic and the contemporary come together so we’re delighted that Tania Kovats’ new artwork creates a new ‘way in’ to the building, inviting visitors to explore the Bodleian Libraries’ historic collections. I hope visitors will look up as they enter the building and be inspired by this fantastic new work.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of Art Fund, said: “We are pleased to support the commission of Tania Kovats’ subtle intervention which seamlessly captures both the rich history of the Bodleian as well as its purpose today as a space for everyone who finds joy in the book.”

Kovats gave a public lecture about her work on 29 January at the Weston Library and on 26 January, the Bodleian held a special day of workshops and tours celebrating the role of art in the Libraries.

The Space of Reading’s focus on the physicality of the book reflects the Libraries’ strengths in research and teaching around the book as object. In particular, the Centre for the Study of the Book promotes scholarship in this area through a Visiting Fellows Programme, research projects, training courses and events, and the Libraries’ Heritage Science team uses high-tech scientific techniques to uncover new details about treasures in the Libraries’ collections, such as what an object is made of, how it was made, and revealing hidden text and other features.

In its 400-year history, the Bodleian has a long tradition of art in the Libraries. In addition to the written word, the Libraries holds significant collections of works of art and photography, including more than 300 drawings, paintings and prints as well as 50 works of sculpture, antique furniture and historic printing presses. The Libraries also have a long history of commissioning new arts and crafts, with precedents including painted ceilings and friezes, portraits, decorative glass, gargoyles, ironwork and in-built furniture.

In addition to Kovats’ latest work, visitors to the Weston Library can see other artistic features inside the building. These include the Sheldon tapestry Map of Worcestershire, a huge, beautifully woven map created in the 1590s, and the Ascott Park Gateway, which was created in the late 16th century for the Ascott estate in Oxfordshire and is now on long-term loan to the Bodleian Libraries from the V&A.

Since opening in 2015, the Weston Library has proved hugely popular with readers, scholars, local residents and visitors from around the world and has won a string of architecture and design awards. The Library hosts an extensive programme of free exhibitions and displays, lectures and events, and attracts, on average, more than 750,000 visitors each year. Forthcoming exhibitions in 2019 include Babel: Adventures in Translation, opening on 15 February, Thinking 3D: From Leonardo to Present, opening on 21 March, and Talking Maps on 5 July.

In addition to exhibitions showcasing the Libraries’ own collections, recent displays by contemporary artists have proved a major draw to the Library. These have included Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta in 2015 and early 2016, and a display of her Fox Talbot’s Articles of Glass series in 2018, showcasing nine photogravure etchings that the artist made using glassware items from the Bodleian’s archive of the 19th century photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot. Other recent displays include the works of renowned British photographer Martin Parr in 2017 and a display of designer bookbindings as part of the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition in 2017.   

ImageThe Space of Reading by Tania Kovats. Photo by John Cairns. 


9966db6bf97a169d7905be1c5bca814b6d08b12d.jpegIn honor of Washington's Birthday, RR Auction's February Fine Autograph and Artifact Auction includes a remarkable assortment of nearly 200 presidential autographs with online bidding through February 6, 2019.

The sale is highlighted by an excessively rare William Henry Harrison document signed as president.  The rare one-page document signed "W. H. Harrison,” dated August 28, 1841. 

The right half of a four-language ship's paper issued to "Theodore Wimpenney, master or commander of the Ship called the Margaret…lying at present in the port of Newport (RI), bound for Pacific Ocean and laden with provisions, Tackle & stores for a voyage in the whale fishery." 

Crisply signed at the conclusion by President Harrison and countersigned by Secretary of State Daniel Webster. Archivally double-matted and framed behind UV-protective acrylic.

This is a highly unusual piece, as by the time it was issued, President Harrison was dead. Four-language ship's passports were customarily left blank and signed in advance by the president before being sent out to American ports, where they were filled out and issued as needed. This section comprises the English and Dutch segments of the typical four-language document, with the French and Spanish areas absent. This document would have been signed by Harrison some time during his 31-day presidency, sent to a port, and then ultimately issued almost five months after his death. 

"Given his historically short tenure in office, Harrison's autograph as president is of the utmost rarity, and this is a boldly engrossed, supremely desirable example," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. 

Among other presidential material is a rare autographed letter from President Johnson to Speaker McCormack, a key supporter of the 'Great Society.’

Autograph letters and notes by Johnson are extremely scarce in general, with his letters as president standing among the rarest presidential autographs—this is just the second Johnson signed letter as president on standard White House stationery that we have ever offered. That it is to Speaker of the House John McCormack is equally notable. During his own time in the House and Senate, Johnson had emerged as one of the most capable legislators of his time, utilizing his domineering personality to persuade other politicians in his favor.

The sale also contains a significant selection of free franks among them; a Revolutionary War-era free frank from General Washington, another from President Lincoln  to Mary Todd's New York hatmaker, and a President Jefferson free frank to his Philadelphia bookseller.  

Other top lots include an extraordinary signed portrait of James Joyce, Pierre-Auguste Renoir's personal ledger, an Einstein letter on a childhood game, and Warren Buffett's personal set of golf clubs.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction Featuring Presidents from RR Auction will conclude on February 6.  For information, visit the RR Auction web site at www.rrauction.com



Lot 228-Maier copy.jpgNew York — An upcoming sale of Photographs: Art & Visual Culture, February 21 at Swann Galleries, celebrates photographs as objects. Daile Kaplan, the house’s Director of Photographs & Photobooks, explains the theme in an introduction to the catalogue, “Seeing photographs as physical objects, as works meant to be carefully held in one’s hands, is key.” The auction features an array of material typifying this appreciation for the tangible: archives and albums that record visual culture of bygone eras, photobooks and vernacular photography, all presented in dialogue with modern and contemporary market favorites.

A standout selection of cartes-postales from prominent artists and collectives is led by six printed postcards of Italian Futurist Anton Giulio Bragaglia’s iconic photographs from 1911-13. The photographs are offered in a small archive alongside business cards, a 1932 typed letter to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and a Teatro Delle Arti ticket, estimated at $30,000 to $45,000. 

André Kertész’s 1927 portrait of photographer Edwin Rosskam, a vintage silver print on carte-postale paper, is available at $7,000 to $10,000. Notable exhibition postcards include a suite of 33 from the 1913 Armory Show, illustrating iconic works (Estimate: $4,000-6,000); and from the Société Anonyme, a collection of nine real photo postcards of works by Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, who together founded the society to promote contemporary art to American audiences. They produced more than 80 exhibitions between 1920 and 1940. This scarce group, dating from 1920-30, carries an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. 

A fine selection of nineteenth-century photography includes the unique copper plate for Horse Capture, Atsina, 1908, by Edward S. Curtis. The plate, one of the original matrices for the large-format photogravures that comprised the portfolios of The North American Indian, is presented in a custom frame, elevating an already beautiful utilitarian object to the sublime ($60,000-90,000). 

Engaging works exemplifying the visual culture of their time include a NASA archive with 351 prints documenting missions over four decades ($6,000-9,000). Images from the 1960s include a chromogenic print of John F. Kennedy in his motorcade minutes before his assassination ($2,000-3,000), and a binder of 26 vintage photographs and five halftone prints of The Beatles and Yoko Ono ($700-1,000). Industrial lots from across the globe complete the vernacular selection.

Among fine art is a personal album compiled and sequenced by Vivian Maier. The album, consisting of 22 never-before-seen color photographs shot with a Rolleiflex in Maier’s inimitable visual style, documents her 1959 trip to Europe and Asia ($10,000-15,000). The auction debut is the first known auction appearance of vintage color work by Maier.

A run of works by Ansel Adams is led by a limited first edition of his first book-Taos Pueblo, 1930. The scarce publication, containing 12 silver bromide prints made by the photographer when he was just 28, is expected to bring $30,000 to $45,000. Iconic silver prints by Adams include Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California, 1944, printed early 1960s, ($15,000-20,000), Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, 1927, printed 1959, ($7,000-10,000), and Mt. Williamson, from Manzanar, Owens Valley, California, 1944, printed early 1950s, ($5,000-7,500).

The auction will have its share of contemporary artists, headlined by Malick Sidibé’s installation of 38 exuberant silver prints housed in custom frames. The grouping, which highlights elements of West African culture from 1946-2001, is estimated at $30,000 to $45,000. Tina Barney’s The Hands, from the series The Europeans, 2002-04 is available at $12,000 to $18,000. Works by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Roy Decarava, Peter Hujar, Graciela Iturbide, Mary Ellen Mark and James Welling ensure a stand-out section.    

Exhibition opening in New York City February 14. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries app. 

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 228: Vivian Maier, a personal album of Maier’s trip to Europe & Asia compiled and sequenced by the artist, 22 Kodacolor prints, 1949. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.


Dallas, Texas - Sales of vintage comic books and comic art soared to a world record $58,544,323 in 2018 at Heritage Auctions. The auctioneers’ Comics & Comic Art Department recorded the highest sales totals in the 17-year history of the department, representing the non-stop trend of high demand for original comic book artwork, rare comic books and animation art.

Numerous records fell in 2018, further strengthening Heritage Auction’s grip on the title of the top comics and comic art auctioneer in the world. Last year’s sales represent a 32 percent increase over the department’s previous record, which was set in 2017. Sell-through rates exceeded 99% by value and by number of lots.

“Our results in 2018 exceeded our loftiest expectations,” Heritage Auctions Co-Founder Jim Halperin said. “Part of the gratification when reflecting on 2018 is the variety of our success: we were able to realize exceptional prices on individual comic books and original art, but were fortunate that the results were not top-heavy. We also established new records for the most valuable Comics auction and most valuable Animation Art auction ever held, and set a new record with our weekly auctions three times during the year.”

Among the records that fell in 2018:

·         Frank Frazetta's Original Art titled Death Dealer 6, 1990, published first as the cover for Verotik’s 1996 Death Dealer #2 comic book, brought $1,792,500 at Heritage’s Comics & Comic Art Auction May 10-12 in Chicago. That price nearly tripled the most ever paid at auction for a piece of U.S.-published comic book art.

·         Meanwhile, that auction’s total of $12,201,974 in realized sales also set a new world record for any individual comics auction.

·         Original art by John Romita, Sr., and Frank Giacoia for the Amazing Spider-Man #100 cover drew bids from three dozen collectors before bringing $478,000, eclipsing pre-auction estimates by nearly 20 percent and establishing a new world record for the most expensive Marvel Comics Silver or Bronze Age cover ever sold at a public auction. 

·         A new record for artwork by famed Disney artist Mary Blair was established when her Cinderella Magic Coach Concept Painting (Walt Disney, 1950) drew $60,000 in Heritage’s Animation Art auction June 16-17 in Dallas.

·         A little over a month later, competitive bidding drove the final price for original art and a copy of Kaja Foglio's Magic: The Gathering: Arabian Nights "Shahrazad" Card (Wizards of the West Coast, 1993) to $72,000 in the July 22 Sunday Internet Comics, Animation & Art Auction, a record for any Heritage Weekly Comics auction lot.

Animation Art auctions were extremely strong in 2018. Heritage’s Dec. 8-9 Animation Art auction brought in $1,956,926, making it the most successful Animation Art auction in the history of the company. The sale showed the growing global love of animation art, and was highlighted by numerous record sales, including Disney, Hanna Barbera and Warner Brothers.

Savvy collectors realized there was ample value to be had in Heritage’s weekly Sunday Internet Comics, Animation & Art auctions. The weekly evening sales, now frequently including lots that can produce five-figure prices, established a new record for total sales three different times during the year, including in the firm’s Aug. 5 sale that yielded a record $466,512.20. The 936-lot auction’s top lot was Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VG- 3.5 Cream to off-white pages, which brought $20,400.

“The days of Heritage Auctions’ weekly auctions offering lower-value lots exclusively are over,” Halperin said. “We average about 800 lots per week, and it no longer is a rarity for some lots to crack the five-figure plateau. Our collectors know the value that exists in many of the offered materials, some of which are fresh-to-the-market personal collections. So while there always are outstanding deals to be had for collectors of all levels, our weekly auctions now include many exceptional items, which routinely set new price records.”


343.jpgChicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce their Rawlins Magic Collection I Auction to be held on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 starting at 10am at the company's gallery, located at 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613. Jim Rawlins was a devoted student of magic and its history who spent nearly three decades building his impressive, important, and diverse collection. All items from this upcoming sale will be on display and available for public preview on Wednesday, February 20th, Thursday, February 21st, and Friday, February 22nd from 10:00am to 5:00pm in the Potter & Potter facility. 

Pre-1925 magic apparatus are important headliners in this sales event and represent many of the top lots on offer.  Of royal stature is lot #125, Joseffy’s Expanding Queen from c. 1906. This complicated, Rube Goldberg-like apparatus is comprised of lazy-tongs and a spring-loaded mechanism, and includes its original hand-painted silk card. Estimated at $8,000-12,000, this rarity is framed and accompanied by a series of photographs showing the steps required to reset the device. Lot #56, Carter the Great’s center table, used as the centerpiece for many of Charles Carter's tricks in his illusion show, is estimated at $6,000-8,000.  This c. 1910, heavy carved gold leaf wooden table has cabriole legs and a folding rear servante. This lot comes with a photograph of Carter and Evelyn Maxwell beside the table and a letter of provenance from Carter biographer Mike Caveney. And lot #109, a c. 1920 cage transposition owned and used by Fu Manchu is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This complex trick, likely made by Carl Willmann, allows a gleaming metal cage to vanish from under a handkerchief, only to visibly reappear in a skeleton-frame stand in the blink of an eye.

Midcentury magic tricks and tools also take center stage in this can't miss, mid-winter auction.  Lot #159, a handsomely decorated, c. 1952 club sized checker cabinet by Okito is estimated at $8,000-12,000. This apparatus enables the magical transposition of a stack of checkers and a glass full of rice. It's a superb example of Okito’s masterful craftsmanship and appealing, timeless aesthetic. Lot #15, a c. 1935 carousel birdcage production from New Haven, CT's Petrie and Lewis is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This complex and visually stunning trick includes a small, square table, a tall spinning brass stand, and four sold brass bird cages. This rarity is only one of five examples produced. And lot #14, a set of five c. 1940 nesting wooden boxes owned and used by magician McDonald Birch is estimated at $1,500-2,500. In this signature trick, a watch vanishes on command, only to reappear in the smallest of the boxes. The lot includes a signed and inscribed 8' x 10” photograph of Birch and his wife Mabel Sperry, as well as a signed photo of the couple performing with the boxes. 

Collectors interested in magic props by Thayer and Owen will delight in nearly 100 temptations from this this legacy manufacturer. Lot #296, a 1930s-1940s collection of 130 original cloth “negatives” used to create the famous master blueprints sold through the company's catalogs is estimated at $5,000-7,000. The illusions explained and diagrammed include many of the firm's most famous, including the Mummy Case, Buzz Saw, Morritt Cage, The Girl in the Drum, Zenith Water Fountain, New Flyto, Lester Lake Guillotine, and others. All are housed in the original cardboard tubes as kept in the Thayer workshops, with nearly all bearing typed labels describing their contents.  Lot #267, a c. 1955 set of seven, locked hardwood chests fitted with brass hardware, is estimated at $1,500-2,000. This set, one of only two seven-box sets constructed by Carl Owen and part of his own personal collection, was passed from Owens to his friend and business partner John Daniel. And lot #251, a c. 1930s flap die box, is estimated at $200-300. This round, mahogany box allows a magician to control the  numbers on the two dice inside even when the box is shaken.  This example, the only one known with this feature, is possibly a prototype or a custom-ordered item. It was most likely turned by Floyd Thayer himself, as the quality of the workman ship is extremely fine; it was also owned at one time by The Great Virgil. 

Potter's Rawlins Magic Collection I Auction offers wall to wall selections of important magic related posters, prints, and broadsides.  Lot #479, a c. 1909 small format window card for the Great Lafayette (Sigmund Neuberger) is estimated at $5,000-7,000. This 10" x 7” example features a full length portrait of the performer in a Louis XIV-style costume with a fan or hat in one outstretched hand. Lot #487, a Thurston the Great Magician Do The Spirits Come Back framed and matted litho from c. 1910 is estimated at $5,000-7,000. This paranormal poster is eerily illustrated with green smoke, ghosts, and apparitions floating up from a skull in the magician’s hand. And bird's the word with lot #475, a c. 1908 framed Chung Ling Soo (William Ellsworth Robinson) From the Land of the Peacock broadside. It is estimated at $4,000-6,000 and is decorated with a bust portrait of the magician, a Chinese lantern, and a peacock, all surrounded by Chinese trappings and a black border. 

There's no need to paper over this sale's remarkable selections of magic-centric books, catalogs, publications, and ephemera. Lot #343, a 1908 first edition of Harry Houdini's The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, published in New York by The Publishers Printing Company, is estimated at $1,500-2,000. It includes an inscription from Houdini reading, “To my old friend R.M. Scott with compliments and best wishes from the author, Harry Houdini 1908. May the perusal of my book conjure up pleasant memories of the dim past. HH.” Lot #360, a 1929 first edition of My Life of Magic by Howard Thurston, is estimated at $400-600.  This book was published in Philadelphia by Dorrance & Company and is inscribed and signed by Thurston, “For my old friend “Tommy” Downs who has traveled the same road & speaks the same magic language. The road that is [illegible] much travelled. See you in Eternity Tommy. Affectionately Howard Thurston June 3/30.” Lot #415, a c. 1910 Harry Houdini translucent window decal is estimated at $2,500-3,500. This example, one of only a handful extant, retains its original printed instructions to verso describing the method for wetting the print and applying it to a glass window.  And lot #373, a 1927 souvenir program from the second gathering of the International Brotherhood of Magicians is estimated at $400-600. It has lithographed string-bound wrappers designed by Merle Fleming; its final three pages are filled with dozens of autographs of magicians in attendance, including T. Nelson Downs, Harry Blackstone, Floyd Thayer, Rajah Raboid, Harlan Tarbell, S.S. Henry, Robert Nelson, and many others.

This sale rounds out with museum-quality offerings of stage costumes, magic sets, automatons, and magical-themed treasures that span traditional categories.  Lot #494, Robert Heller’s c. 1870 top hat and leather carrying case is estimated at $5,000-7,000. This important artifact, from one of magic's great Victorian practitioners, is accompanied by documentation from descendants of Heller tracing ownership of the hat through the family. Lot #136, a c. 1985 Zdenkakey wound automata of a levitating doll, is estimated at $1,500-2,000. As the automaton performs, “Edelweiss” plays on a concealed Swiss Reuge music box.  Lot #495, Doug Henning's c. 1985 floor length purple robe decorated with purple, blue, yellow, and silver stars and moons is estimated at $1,000-1,500. And its case closed with lot #311, a c. 1908 rare and early Mysto Magic Set, estimated at $600-800. This set includes many popular and well-made small props, all housed in a wooden crate stenciled with the word “magic" and decorated with a fan of four cards pasted to the top. 

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "Jim Rawlins was truly dedicated to building and developing a special collection of historically important magic memorabilia. I've seen how - in the nearly twenty years we've known each other - how he sought out the best of the best for himself, and especially how he focused on historically significant association items. He also managed to build a diverse collection that, while certainly strongest in the apparatus field, includes significant objects in all areas of the hobby: posters, ephemera, books, and costumes. Jim's refined taste and "eye" for the rare and unusual will be showcased in each of the four sales we have planned over the next two years, and I couldn't be happier to be the one bringing his collection to market." 

Potter & Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. Bids for these extraordinary offerings can be made in person at the sale, placed directly on the company's website, or by phone by arrangement. Please see www.potterauctions.com. for more information. Follow us on Facebook (potterandpotterauctions), Twitter (PnPAuctions), and Instagram (potterauctions). 

Image: Lot 343, The Unmasking of Robert Houdin, estimate $1,500-2,000


Harriet Beecher Stowe Autograph Letter Signed 56439a_lg.jpegLos Angeles - A rare 1852 handwritten letter signed by renowned abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on January 31, 2019.

Stowe, the author of the landmark novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was a famous abolitionist who supported the Underground Railroad. She and her husband Calvin Ellis Stowe temporarily hosted runaway slaves in their Cincinnati home and traveled extensively through New England.  Stowe’s breakthrough 1851 novel depicted slavery’s cruelty and was influential in turning the north against the practice. President Abraham Lincoln was reported to have said to Stowe in 1862, “'so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.'' 
The letter being auctioned is a response to a correspondence Stowe received from an unnamed man who sent her an article about slavery’s negative impact on the country. Stowe’s letter written while she was in Andover, Massachusetts is dated October 27, 1852 and reads in part, “…I am obliged to you for sending me the 'text to my subject' enclosed in your letter. It will be a very good one. Any one that stirs up this subject of southern law as a defence of slavery emphatically wakes up the wrong passenger. Nothing more is needed than to awaken the attention of the public to an expose of the slave law system. If they desire law on this subject, they shall have it…”  The letter continues with a request from Stowe to send her other advertisements which would help her in her crusade against slavery.  

Bidding for the letter begins at $21,000.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 


New York - LiveAuctioneers, the world’s leading online marketplace for exceptional fine art, antiques and vintage collectibles, has released its 2018 Annual Report indicating not only another year of record results that outperformed competitors, but also a continued year-over-year pattern of growth that remains unrivaled in the industry.

“Every year, LiveAuctioneers empowers auction-house partners to sell the most items possible to qualified art and collectibles bidders online. In 2018, over 630,000 items were won through LiveAuctioneers.com -- that’s 135,000 more than our closest competitor,” said LiveAuctioneers CEO Phil Michaelson. “Our team continues to find new ways to use incredible technology - including machine learning, streaming video, mobile apps, and auto-scaling cloud servers - to get the right bidders to the right auctions at the right time.”  

A staggering $196.9 billion in total bid value was processed through LiveAuctioneers in 2018. Also, mobile bidding continued its nonstop upward run, with a 46% year-over-year increase in the number of users opting to bid via LiveAuctioneers’ mobile apps. In all, 653,474 bids were lodged through this method, a testament to the commitment LiveAuctioneers made to app technology in 2009 with the introduction of an app for iOS (Apple) devices and the first live-auction bidding app for Android.

LiveAuctioneers’ notable 2018 year-over-year comparisons include:

  • An increase of nearly 756,000 new bidders, reflecting 162% growth in the U.S., 110% growth in Asia, 172% growth in Europe, and a 161% increase in the number of new bidders across the rest of the world
  • 80% growth in lots sold via timed auctions with automated clerking
  • 271% growth in bidders joining auctions through LiveAuctioneers’ Custom Websites
  • 75% increase in Saved Search alerts, with 6.7 million Saved Items

In addition, in 2018:

  • LiveAuctioneers’ traffic surpassed other live online bidding platforms by 65%
  • Over 5 million results were added to the complimentary online price results database
  • 100,000 estate and individual consignment leads were provided to auction-house partners  

During 2018, there were 63.8 million auction registrations, and a 281% increase was seen in the number of potential bidders who placed a credit card on file. More than 433.3 million pageviews were recorded, leading to more than 77.1 million bids being placed through LiveAuctioneers.

On May 12, 2018, LiveAuctioneers partnered with cryptocurrency and decentralized title registry Codex to present a groundbreaking auction of crypto-theme art. All lots were successfully sold - 80% of them through LiveAuctioneers, including the top lot: Guilherme Twardowski’s “CryptoKittie.” The winning bidder purchased the digital artwork through LiveAuctioneers for $140,000 and paid with cryptocurrency. 

“While leading the industry in innovation and sell-through rates, LiveAuctioneers also places a priority on providing stable technology solutions. Our cloud-based systems achieved 99.99% uptime during the broadcasting of 120,000 hours of live auctions in 2018, while at the same time supporting the largest volume of web traffic and deepest level of engagement in our sector. We’re known for being ‘first to market’ with revolutionary technologies such as mobile apps and automated clerking, and the year ahead will show that our world-class engineering team has not been resting on its laurels. The best is yet to come, and it’s going to benefit auction houses worldwide in ways they couldn’t even imagine.” 

Click to view LiveAuctioneers’ Annual Report containing additional information about the company’s growth, trends and highlights of the past year.


Screen Shot 2019-01-29 at 10.06.29 AM.pngNew York—A first edition of one of the most influential books in Western medicine, De humani corporis fabrica (On the fabric of the human body) by the Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius, is the highlight of Bonhams sale of the Medical and Scientific Library of W. Bruce Fye in New York on Monday, March 11. It is estimated at $300,000-500,000. 

Vesalius (1514-1564) was only 28, and a Professor at Padua University, when he published De humani corporis fabrica. It transformed the science of anatomy and the way it was taught, by applying the critical methods used by humanists. 

Specifically, Vesalius:

  • provided a fuller and more detailed description of the human anatomy than any of his predecessors
  • corrected errors in the traditional anatomy teaching of Galen (the 2nd century Greek physician regarded as the father of medicine, and a major influence on Vesalius)
  • asserted that the dissection of cadavers should be performed by physicians themselves

The book was published in Basel in 1543, with more than 600 pages of text and beautifully detailed engravings by artists from the workshop of Titian. It was originally owned by Vesalius’s great friend, the German physician Achilles Gasser. 

Bonhams Director of Books and Manuscripts in New York, Ian Ehling, said: “De humani corporis fabrica is the cornerstone of the science of anatomy, and changed the way we looked at the world. The book itself, with its blend of scientific exposition, art and typography, is a pleasure to look at and hold, and the association with Achilles Gasser makes it even more desirable. I expect great interest from collectors and institutions.”

The sale of the Medical and Scientific Library of W. Bruce Fye comprises about 400 lots divided into four sections: Classics of Medicine; Johns Hopkins and the First Faculty; Early Medical Photography and Books and Manuscripts by important cardiologists. A further 400 lots will be sold in an online sale starting on March 12.

Highlights from the collection include:

  • A letter signed by William Harvey (1578-1657), the royal physician to Charles I (estimate: $25,000-35,000)
  • A very rare autograph manuscript of William Osler (1849-1919), a commentary on the remarkable knowledge of tuberculosis and its contagiousness (estimate: $6,000-8,000)
  • First edition of Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen's (1845-1923) first original communication of the discovery of the x-ray (estimate: $6,000-8,000)
  • An autograph letter signed by Edward Jenner (1749-1823) to an unidentified correspondent expressing pleasure for a patient's seeking a second opinion (estimate: $3,000-5,000)

vcsPRAsset_3568579_79012_959f49a9-65a2-4869-9341-5967db45e1c8_0.jpgParis — On February 20, Christie’s will present the Marc Litzler Collection, in collaboration with Bertrand Meaudre of Librairie Lardanchet. Composed of 248 lots, the Collection is notable for the quality and rarity of its illustrated editions and art books which comprise the majority of the sale.  On public view and to be auctioned prior to the traditional book fairs in Spring, this sale will mark the opening of the bibliophilic season.The Marc Litzler Collection features what is considered to be the first “Painter’s book”, L’Apocalypse, executed by the artist Albercht Dürer, the result of two years of work and published in 1498. This publication includes a series of 15 xylographies, while the dual text columns were written and printed in Koberger’s workshop. Dürer breaks with the traditional medieval representations of the 15th century with a new and personal vision influenced by his trip to Italy to study the novel works of the Renaissance, featuring more dramatic subjects portrayed through wood engravings, and partly inspired by Schongauer’s etchings.  L’Apocalypse is estimated at ??150,000 - ??200,000.

In contrast, the Marc Litzler Collection also features the groundbreaking Jazz by Matisse (1869-1954).  Marking Matisse’s transition to a new form of medium, according to Jean Leymarie the publication is comparable to “an album of chromatic and rhythmic improvisation…with a lively and violent aura”. Made of 20 stenciled colour plates "from Henri Matisse's collages and cutouts" and a signed text, it takes the form of a succession of Matisse’s reflections and thoughts.  Originally a gift from the editor Albert Skira to his wife Rosabianca for her birthday, this is offered with an estimate of ??200.000 - ??300.000.

Book lovers will also have the possibility to acquire the mythical object-book La Prose du transibérien et la petite Jehanne by Blaise Cendrars, illustrated by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979). 

This copy comes from André Lefèvre’s library, one of the most important modern art collectors of the 20th century. Maintained in a notable condition, the copy is provided with a painted cover by Sonia Delaunay, and the stenciled announcement banner that became even rarer than the Prose itself. The estimate is set at ??150,000 - ??200,000.

The Marc Litzler Collection demonstrates a fascination for binding.  In addition to a predilection for Henri Creuzevault, the collector often mentions Les Cent vues du Mont Fuji, a masterpiece of the Japanese Print master, Hokusai, as one of his favorite books. Comprising three volumes, the copy was gently bound in the “Japanese style” by Jean de Gonet who used, for the flat parts, shagreen’s soft and tinted skin, and is estimated at ??50,000 - ??70,000. 

The bookbinding realised by Georges Leroux on Georges Bataille’s Madame Edwarda, is adorned with arabesques implying feminine shapes and luscious lips.  It is illustrated by Jean Fautrier and enriched with original drawings from the same artist who found inspiration from the erotic book he decorated (estimate: ??12,000 - ??18,000).

 A notable bestiary is another highlight.  Among the several illustrated copies of Histoires naturelles - Bonnard in 1904, Benjamin Rabier in 1918, Auguste Roubille in 1928 - the one by Lautrec is regarded as the most original.  His admiration for animals, which he talked about with all the confidence of a specialist, enabled Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) to produce this exceptional example comprising 22 lithographs, enriched by an exceptional Pierre Legrain bookbinding.  Estimated at ??40,000 - ??60,000, this example also features an Edouard Degaine (1887-1967) wildlife lacquer on the first flat, one of the few contributions by this artist featured in book form. 

Another bestiary, Apollinaire’s Bestiaire ou cortège d’Orphée (1911), in which the poet’s texts interact with the 39 woodcuts by Raoul Dufy, was finely bound by Jean de Gonet and is estimated from ??25,000 - ??35,000.  The Second Livre de la jungle (1919) by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), illustrated by Paul Jouve (1878-1973), is estimated at ??35,000 - ??45,000 euros, and this edition marks the beginning of the partnership between Paul Jouve and François-Louis Schmied (1873-1941).

In addition to the 130 colour compositions by Paul Jouve interpreted on wood by Shmied, the owner of this copy further enriched it with seven original gouaches by Jouve.

Among the plurality of the subjects which inspired M. Litzler, we must pay special attention to those books illustrated by Georges Barbier, a significant fashion illustrator, as well as books displaying Paul Poiret’s creations. 

Auction :  20 February 2019 at 2 pm

Viewings : From 15 to 20 February from 10 am to 6 pm except on Sunday from 2pm to 6 pm and Wednesday 20 from 10 am to noon

Christie’s : 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris


Walt Kelly and Dr. Seuss Lot 56569A_lg.jpegLos Angeles - Three letters and two pages of illustrations by Dr. Seuss will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on January 31, 2019. The letters and illustrations were directed to fellow author and long-time friend Mike McClintock.

The letters were written in 1957, which was a blockbuster year for Seuss (Theodor Geisel) as both The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were published that year. Dr. Seuss enthusiastically wrote about the success of his new books and addressed the marketing potential of toys and games based on his characters. The lot comes from the estate of McClintock, who wrote the 1958 children’s book, A Fly Went By.

The first letter in the lot is dated May 19, 1957 and is written on Seuss’ personal stationery. It reads in part, “...you picked me off Madison Ave. with a manuscript that I was about to burn in my incinerator, because nobody would buy it. And you not only told me how to put Mulberry Street together properly...(as you did later with the 500 Hats)...I definitely am going into the by-product field this year. Because the CAT will reach 100,000 very shortly, and the print order on HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS will in the first edition be over 50,000. And the Sat. Eve. Post will talk about this shortly in a profile that I wish to hell that you had written, / ANYHOW, if you want to talk toys and games, I'd rather talk to you than anyone I know…”

In the second letter, Seuss analyzes McClintock’s manuscript for A Fly Went By and also wrote “Cat Reading Game is a swell idea!'' 

Seuss’ last letter was written on December 5, 1957, in which he elaborates on game opportunities for The Cat in the Hat. It reads in part, “…The Hat Cat is doing a thousand a day. Latest printing brings print up to 200,000 in nine months...Which brings me to our toy-making-policy-planning... I believe that by fall...when my 'HAT-CAT COMES BACK' comes out, we'll have the biggest character that has ever come out of childrens' trade books...So, I think we're idiots if we don't think non-educationally, and start off on an opportunistic line......with a Cat-in-the-Hat Doll, Toy, put-together plastic, rag, fuzzy or whatever. But fast! / I'm riding a wave right now that may never again roll so high. So I think we oughta and gotta start in a different way than we planned. And get a Cat Character out as soon as we can. And THEN follow up with the game and the blocks and all the other things we want to do that make sense…”

The lot also includes two pages of several illustrations by Seuss.

Bidding for the lot begins at $3,500.

Additional information on the letter can be found at