Recent Publications | April 23, 2020
Courtesy of the Folio Society

London — There are few novels as unconventional as The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. A fictional autobiography of hapless anti-hero Tristram Shandy, it is one of the greatest works of imagination in English literature.

This stunning new limited edition from The Folio Society pairs Laurence Sterne’s narrative, in the authoritative Florida edition, with the equally extraordinary Tom Phillips, who designed, illustrated and signed this unique edition. Phillips has packed his instantly-recognisable collages with verbal and visual puns, to form the perfect pictorial counterpart to Sterne’s masterpiece.

Presented in an elegant burgundy slipcase blocked in shimmering metallic foil, this beautiful limited edition is simultaneously modern and redolent of the 18th century, its off-kilter lettering hinting at the delightfully unbalanced tale housed within.

Everything about Tristram Shandy is unusual, from its stream-of-consciousness style; its chronology, with sentences that start in one chapter and are completed in another, and the whole tale ending four years before Tristram has even been born. By doing this, Sterne rewrote the rules of novel-writing, and the result is a hilarious, compelling, joyful read.

Sterne was determined to give his readers a visual experience unlike any other book. Readers could turn from a blacked-out page, to a blank one, to a hand-dipped marbled page. Unlike most modern printings, Folio have replicated these just as Sterne intended, including unique marbled pages newly created by Jemma Lewis. As a result, no two copies of this exclusive limited edition will be identical.

Limited to 750 copies numbered by hand and signed by Tom Phillips.

UK £245.00 US$350.00 Can $470.00 Aus $540.00

Auctions | April 23, 2020
Courtesy of RR Auction

The selected works of Mao Zedong, inscribed to the special counsel of Cambodia's King Sihanouk (Estimate: $300,000+)

Boston — With over 1,000 lots up for bidding, RR Auction's May Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale is the biggest thus far in 2020, with online bidding through May 13.

Highlights include a book boldly signed by Mao Tse-Toung; Oeuvres Choisies de Mao Tse-Toung. Tome IV [Selected Works by Mao Tse-Toung. Volume IV]. First French edition. Beijing: Editions en Langues Etrangeres, 1962. Brown leatherette hardcover with original slipcase. Prominently signed on an opening page in black ink Mao Zedong, brush-written in 1965 shortly before the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, with an extremely rare calligraphic inscription to foreign diplomat Charles Meyer. (Estimate: $300,000+)

A rare handwritten letter by Sun Yat-sen, founding father and first president of the Republic of China (1866-1925). The three-page handwritten letter in English, signed "Y-S Sen," The Republic of China, President's Office letterhead, November 29, 1921. Letter to the journalist Mrs. Morton, regarding acts of humanitarian relief, photos of which he has just encountered and is sending her, along with a document explaining his recent failed Northern Expedition. He also discusses their success in raising money for humanitarian aid and for the Kuomintang party by organizing various events, such as theatre performances and a bazaar. He finishes by expressing his regret not being able to meet with her and discuss women's actions in southern China due to his departure two days later. (Estimate: $100,000+)

A letter by Karl Marx concerning the publication of Das Kapital in translation.The exceedingly rare one-page handwritten letter, dated January 13, 1872. Letter to "Dear Citizen," apparently the publisher Maurice Lachâtre. (Estimate: $60,000+)

A letter by Claude Monet about Queen Victoria's state funeral: the eight-page handwritten letter in French is signed "Your old man who loves you, Claude," on Savoy Hotel letterhead, February 2, 1901. The lengthy letter to his wife Alice, commenting on the funeral of Queen Victoria (which he had observed earlier that day), meeting the writer Henry James, and attending a dinner hosted by John Singer Sargent at a house once occupied by James McNeil Whistler. (Estimate: $20,000+)

A battlefield message from the Revolutionary War's 'Swamp Fox,' Francis Marion. Due to his irregular methods, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare. The Revolutionary War-dated handwritten one-page letter signed "Fran. Marion," dated February 26, 1781. Letter to Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter, written between the battles of Cowpens and Guilford Court House. (Estimate: $20,000+)

The sale also features a special Civil War section that boasts the thoroughbred racing saddle of George Custer, and autographs of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, William T. Sherman, Robert E. Lee, and more.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Featuring Civil War from RR Auction began on April 17 and will conclude on May 13 at 7:00 PM ET. For more information, go to

News | April 23, 2020
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Washington, D.C. — To celebrate the 220th anniversary of its founding, the Library of Congress announced the release of the LOC Collections app, the premiere mobile app that puts the national library’s digital collections in the hands of users everywhere.

In addition to providing an easy, accessible way to search and explore the Library’s growing digital collections, LOC Collections allows users to curate personal galleries of items in the Library’s collections for their own reference and for sharing with others. Items currently featured on the app include audio recordings, books, videos, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, notated music, periodicals, photos, prints, and drawings.

“The Library of Congress collection can now fit in your pocket,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Library started 220 years ago with 740 books and 3 maps. Today, that collection has grown to make us the largest library in the world and a storehouse of our national history. It’s been our goal to throw open our treasure chest and help every American connect to the Library of Congress. The LOC Collections app is a uniquely personal, easy new way to explore the nation’s library.”  

Users can currently find the app for iPhone and iPad at the Library’s website or the iTunes store. An Android version of the app is slated for release later in 2020.

“The LOC Collections app encourages users to explore over a million maps, photographs, films, books, manuscripts, and more in the Library of Congress’s rich collections,” said Michelle Light, director of Special Collections. “Using its intuitive interface and the ability to favorite items, we hope people of all ages will dive in to discover items that surprise, teach, entertain, or satisfy curiosity.”

LOC Collections was imagined and created by the Library’s own design and development experts in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and is especially designed to give users a more personal experience with Library collections. Usability testing with patrons helped shape the app before its release, with additional functionality and content currently under development. The Library marks its 220th birthday on Friday, April 24.

Auctions | April 22, 2020
Courtesy of University Archives

Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics to the classic rock song Like a Rolling Stone, on an 8 ½ by 11-inch sheet, authenticated by Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen (est. $75,000-$85,000).

Westport, CT – Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics to the classic rock song Like a Rolling Stone, a superb document signed by the British physicist Sir Isaac Newton, and discharge papers for a teenage soldier who lived to be 100 signed by George Washington are just a few of the highlights in University Archives’ next online-only auction, slated for Wednesday, May 6th.

Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Folks can visit the website and browse the full color catalog now, at

The auction is packed with rare books, manuscripts, relics and more, many of them signed by history’s brightest luminaries. Presidential items span the administrations of George Washington through George H.W. Bush (including 11 lots pertaining to Abraham Lincoln); Civil War and slavery (including Grant and Lee); and foreign (Vladimir Lenin, Napoleon, Catherine II and many others).

The literary category will feature Part 3 of items from the legendary Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s estate plus items from Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Clemens, Eugene O’Neill and others. Science and space will include Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and the Apollo and Gemini missions.

Nearly 50 lots comprise Part 2 of the Forbes Collection – items from multimillionaire magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) and his sons, including a dazzling array of foreign and presidential pieces. A group of King George III’s Acts of Parliament (1766-1775) including one of the Townshend Acts and several punitive Acts, illustrate life in the American colonies on the eve of the Revolution.

Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone was voted the number one rock ‘n’ roll song of all time by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine in 2004. The lyrics to the song, handwritten by Dylan on a single 8 ½ by 11-inch sheet plus his signature, have been authenticated by Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen. The lot has an estimate of $75,000-$85,000.

The partly printed and partly handwritten one-page document signed by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is dated July 13, 1720 and is regarding his investment in the ill-fated South Seas Company just prior to its collapse. The piece, with a red wax seal, is signed “Isaac Newton” (est. $35,000-$40,000).

On June 8, 1783, then-General George Washington signed a discharge document for Private Daniel Davis (1750-1851), releasing the soldier from military service. The lot should achieve $10,000-$12,000.

Staying in the category, a carte de visite portrait photograph of Abraham Lincoln dated Aug. 9, 1863 – signed by the president (as “A. Lincoln”) and authenticated, slabbed and graded Mint 9 by PSA – should bring $55,000-$60,000; while a rare Rev War letter written and signed by Thomas Jefferson (as “Th. Jefferson”), dated Aug. 7, 1779, in which he sets command of “battalions to be raised for defence (sic) of the Western frontier”, carries a pre-sale estimate of  $15,000-$17,000.

Other presidential material – from FDR, JFK, Lincoln, Jackson, Reagan and others – is sure to be of interest. Included is a 21-page original corrected draft of an article written by Harry S. Truman that appeared in a 1958 issue of Look Magazine, in which Truman demands respect for the office of the presidency, praising Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and both Roosevelts, while criticizing  Fillmore, Taylor, Pierce and Harrison as mediocre. The lot is expected to make $2,000-$2,400.

Not forgetting the First Ladies, University Archives is also offering rare, collectible pieces from Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Caroline Fillmore, Julia Grant, Jackie Kennedy and others.  

Jack Kerouac fans will be thrilled to see the latest treasures from the Beat writer’s estate, Part 3, including almost 50 lots of Kerouac’s apparel, books and beloved possessions. This installment will contain Kerouac’s mailbox from his home in Florida; his much-loved crucifix with rosary bead fragment; the wedding band he presented to his third wife, Stella; and original photographs.

Other memorable Kerouac will items include his personal tobacco pouch, Panama hat, velvet slippers, Catholic religious icon, Buddhist or Hindu silver ceremonial cup and kitschy 1960s entertainment accessories. Books are estate stamped and sealed; other items will be accompanied by estate certification signed by John Shen-Sampas, executor of the Kerouac estate by descent.

One interesting Kerouac item added to the auction is a four-page letter handwritten and signed by him, dated Oct. 26, 1954 and addressed to Robert Lax (1915-2000), Kerouac’s friend, fellow writer and a Catholic. The letter explores Christianity, Buddhism, spirituality, philosophy and linguistics and mentions Kerouac’s upcoming book, Some of the Dharma (est. $15,000-$16,000).

Early American lots include a rare Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, printed in 1848 with remarkably exact renditions of the signers’ hands, one of perhaps as few as 500 copies issued (est. $14,000-$16,000); a John Hancock signed 1776 soldier’s commission for a man who served with Nathan Hale (est. $10,000-$12,000); and a Paul Revere signed receipt for silver tankards commissioned from a Massachusetts church (est. $10,000-$12,000).

The phenomenal Civil War subcategory includes six lots of Robert E. Lee items, including a single-page letter written and signed by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, dated Jan. 17, 1862, to Lee’s relative Shirley Carter Turner, regarding his defense of Charleston, S.C., estimated to fetch $12,000-$14,000; five lots of Ulysses S. Grant; and items pertaining to J.E.B. Stuart, James Longstreet, Jubal Early, Abner Doubleday, Daniel Ruggles, and Mary Surratt. Of the nine lots of Slavery-related material, the most significant are an autograph letter signed by Harriet Beecher Stowe regarding abolition and an early Virginia runaway slave poster.

A letter written and signed by Russian leader Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), penned between the failed revolution of 1905 and the successful revolution of 1917, while he was in exile in Berlin, Germany, has a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$60,000. Also, World War II lot pertaining to The Big Three at Yalta (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin), including a currency note signed by all three men and a photo signed by FDR and others in Hawaii, should finish at $12,000-$15,000.

A two-page letter written and signed by Albert Einstein from Gatow, Germany, dated Jan. 5, 1929, regarding his United Field Theory (“I have been brooding and calculating almost all of my days and half the nights”), should reach $40,000-$45,000. Also, a one-page letter typewritten and signed by Oskar Schindler (of “Schindler’s List” fame), in German, dated Jan. 8, 1962, saying how proud he was to have saved the people on the list, is expected to garner $14,000-$16,000.

A Fresno Mining Company stock certificate signed by Samuel Clemens (author Mark Twain’s real name), one of only three known (and the only one available), dated May 19, 1863 and signed as “Sam. L. Clemens”, should realize $30,000-$35,000.

University Archives is happy and honored to be able to make a generous donation to Feeding America, a non-profit organization administering to over 200 food banks across America. The contribution was made possible by the success of the March sale and the already significant interest in the May sale. “Considering Feeding America’s 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the independent charity evaluator, and with over 98 percent of its monetary donations earmarked for food, we are confident that these contributions will go far,” said John Reznikoff, the president of University Archives.

University Archives has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare items of this kind. It is actively seeking quality material for future auctions, presenting a rare opportunity for sellers. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that may be a fit for a future University Archives auction may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111, or email him at

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.
For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, May 6th online-only auction, please visit For phone bidding, please call 203-454-0111.

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Events | April 21, 2020
Courtesy of ILAB

Due to the current worldwide COVID-19 crisis, the Paris Salon du Livre Rare / Paris Rare Book Fair was postponed to a new date in September: 4-6 September 2020.

The Paris fair should have opened its doors this Thursday. However, in an enormous effort, the organizers have put together the first VIRTUAL RARE BOOK FAIR which will be launched with a digital catalogue this Thursday at 5pm Paris time (the launch of the virtual book fair NOT the webinar!)

The stock which would have been for sale in Paris is now available in this new format and can be accessed from Thursday!

Access to the virtual fair will be via the fair's website, see:

The actual Paris digital catalogue will be launched on Thursday, 23 April 2020 at 17h Paris time - the same time as the fair had scheduled its official opening.

Please join ILAB and SLAM, the French Antiquarian Booksellers Association in a brief presentation about this virtual fair and a presentation of this unique digital catalogue!
There will be 2 webinars  - ENGLISH & FRENCH
Wednesday, 22 April (tomorrow!) at 13h Paris time in FRENCH
Wednesday, 22 April (tomorrow!) at 14h30 Paris time in ENGLISH
They have two different links! See all information below.
We hope to see many of our colleagues tomorrow at one of these sessions.

The webinar is run on a video conferencing software called Zoom.
Please click this link to join the FRENCH LANGUAGE webinar:
No pre-registration is required.  Only click on the link on the day.
DATE: Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Please click this link to join the ENGLISH LANGUAGE webinar:
No pre-registration is required.  Only click on the link on the day.
DATE: Wednesday, 22 April 2020
New York / Toronto:  7am French / 8.30am English
London: 12 noon French / 1.30pm English  
Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Vienna, Copenhagen, Prague, Budapest, Oslo, Madrid, Stockholm, Zurich: 1pm French / 2.30pm English
Moscow / Helsinki  2pm French / 3.30pm English
Tokyo  8pm French / 9.30pm English
Sydney/Melbourne  9pm French / 10.30pm English
Just click on the link a few minutes before the beginning of the webinar. It should then give you the following message: "Please wait. The webinar will begin soon." If it has started already, you will see the panelists on the screen.

On some browsers it asks to put in your name and email address, please do.
Questions & Answers during the webinar - USE THE "Q&A" BUTTON on your screen!
The webinar allows all viewers to ask live questions which are sent to the moderator who will put as many questions as possible to the panelists. The panelists will answer as many questions as possible.
Please use the "Q&A" Button on your screen: click on it and then type in your question! We will try and discuss as many points as possible.
Some tips:
If you have not used Zoom before, please allow yourself an extra 15 minutes as your computer will download the software first and this might take a moment.
If your computer has downloaded the software but you can't find where to click, please look for the ZOOM logo on your desktop and click on it. See below an image of the logo!
If you log in from a tablet or mobile phone, there is a Zoom app you can use. It will make it easier if you install the app beforehand. It's free of charge. Download "ZOOM" in the App Store. See logo below in this email.
Please contact Angelika Elstner in the ILAB Office if you have any technical questions beforehand and if you would like to send us questions or discussion points ahead of the webinar: Also contact the ILAB office if you are asked for a webinar ID (it should not but just in case).
Hervé Valentin, France (SLAM)
Michel Bouvier, France (SLAM)
Anne Lamort, France (ILAB)
Sally Burdon, Australia (ILAB)
Anne Marie Coulon (SLAM Secretariat)
Angelika Elstner (ILAB Secretariat)
Recording available after the webinar
We are recording the webinar and will send out the link shortly after the webinar is finished if you cannot attend the live webinar.

Auctions | April 21, 2020
Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, Sclaven-Handel, Philadelphia, 1794. Estimate $12,000-18,000.

New York — Swann Galleries’ sale of Printed & Manuscript African Americana will take place on Thursday, May 7. The auction itself will be held live, remotely. While there will not be bidding in the room, Swann will be accepting order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live online via three different bidding platforms, including on the Swann Galleries App.

“We are delighted to be able to bring our Printed & Manuscript African Americana auction to the block. When Covid-19 forced us to postpone some of our spring sales, we spent time figuring out the best way to continue delivering to our clients the exceptional material for which Swann is known. We are confident that in our virtual salesroom, we will be able to provide the exceptional Swann service which our bidders and consignors have come to expect over our 78 years of operation,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann president.

Highlights from the sale include family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family of Portland, Maine. The collection includes material from five generations dating from 1853 to 1961, with items from an Underground Railroad conductor, a Tuskegee Airman, as well as a state senator in Reconstruction Texas. The archive is expected to bring $3,000 to $4,000. Further family papers include those of Dora Stephens and her family who were enslaved in the household of Confederate Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens in Crawfordsville, Georgia, and who continued working there after abolition. The small archive features 19 items with correspondence and family photographs dating from 1866 to 1907, and is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000.

Among other items related to slavery and abolition is a scarce, early illustrated German-American anti-slavery broadside, printed in 1794 in Philadelphia by Tobias Harte. Likely the first American effort to disseminate powerful images that would remain an important part of anti-slavery iconography for decades, it is expected to cross the block at $12,000 to $18,000.

Notables of pop culture feature throughout the sale. Highlights include comedian Julius “Nipsey” Russell with a large archive featuring photographs and letters from 1929–2000, with a personal letter from Martin Luther King, Jr., signed by his secretary, thanking him for performing at the culmination of the Selma-to-Montgomery march ($6,000-9,000). E. Simms Campbell’s A Night-Club Map of Harlem, as featured in the inaugural issue of Manhattan: A Weekly for Wakeful New Yorkers, 1933, present in its original wrappers, illustrates the heart of African-American culture during the Harlem Renaissance ($10,000-15,000).

Letters from artist Romare Bearden to longtime friend and collaborator Harry Henderson are among artist-related items. Dating from 1949 to 1987, the letters offer a rare insight into the vision of an important American artist, estimated at $5,000 to $7,500. Also of note is a poster for an exhibition at the Weusi-Nyumba Ya Sanaa Gallery in Harlem Cookin’ and Smookin’: Where We At, Black Women Artists, 1972, which included works by Faith Ringgold, Ann Tanksley and Dindga McCannon, among others. The poster is expected to bring $600 to $900.

A run of Black Power posters includes several firsts at auction with Power to the People, 1970, printed by Gemini Rising ($800-1,200); Black Art, 1970, by Charles Bible with a poem by Amiri Baraka, credited as LeRoi Jones ($500-750); and Power to the People Time, Now, 1971, printed by Lonmill Industries ($800-1,200). 

While current restrictions will not allow for in-person examination of the material, Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Live online bidding platforms available will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

News | April 21, 2020
Credit: Star Black

Former California Poet Laureate and Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts Dana Gioia

San Marino, CA — The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has acquired the papers of Dana Gioia, an internationally acclaimed poet and writer who served as the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003–09 and as the California Poet Laureate from 2015–19.

Having published poems for many years while working as a businessman, Gioia exploded onto the national poetry scene in 1991 with the publication of his provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" in The Atlantic.

In subsequent decades, Gioia made literary writing his life's work and exerted great influence on contemporary culture, not only as a poet and essayist, but also as a translator, editor, anthologist, opera librettist, teacher, and advocate for the arts.

The archive documents Gioia's work as a poet through fastidiously maintained drafts of poems and essays from his books, which include five books of poetry and three books of critical essays. He is one of the most prominent writers of the "New Formalist" school of poetry, a movement that promoted the return of meter and rhyme, although his arts advocacy work situates him in a broader frame.

"In his correspondence, you see a writer who has been willing to engage the young and old, the esteemed and emergent—anyone who wants to critically discuss poetic form, contemporary audiences for poetry, and the importance of literary reading during decades when popular culture has become increasingly visual and attention spans have fractured," said Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington. "We are delighted that Dana has entrusted his papers to The Huntington, where his collection fits perfectly. He is a local author—he grew up in a Mexican/Sicilian American household in Hawthorne—and even as he attained international recognition as a poet and assumed the chairmanship of the NEA, he remained loyal to the region and invested in Los Angeles' unique literary communities."

"I'm delighted to have my papers preserved in my hometown of Los Angeles, especially at The Huntington, a place I have loved since the dreamy days of my childhood," said Gioia.

While the range of correspondents in the collection is broad and eclectic, the sustained letter writing with poets Donald Justice, David Mason, and Ted Kooser is particularly significant.

Gioia's work co-editing a popular poetry anthology textbook with the poet X. J. Kennedy from the 1990s to the present will interest scholars working on canon formation during those decades when the "culture wars" were a politically charged issue.

A portion of the materials represent Gioia's work as an advocate for poetry and the arts at the NEA and as the California Poet Laureate. This work is integral to his career and will be important to scholars interested in the place of poetry and the role of reading for pleasure within greater debates about literacy and literary reading at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Huntington's formidable strength in collecting literary materials, particularly in the area of poetry, began with Henry E. Huntington's focus on collecting the history and culture of English-speaking peoples. The Ellesmere manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and outstanding Shakespeare print holdings anchor these broad and deep collections. Among the exceptional Romantic poetry holdings at The Huntington are Percy Bysshe Shelley's autograph notebooks and the illuminated books of William Blake, as well as important manuscripts by Robert Burns. At The Huntington, Gioia's archive joins that of another businessman poet, Wallace Stevens; that of a very different but also quintessentially Los Angeles poet, Charles Bukowski; and those of two other New Formalist poets, Henri Coulette and Robert Mezey.

"The papers of Dana Gioia join a long and distinguished roster of collections at The Huntington whose authors have helped shape literary history," said Sandra L. Brooke, Avery Director of the Library at The Huntington. "This collection will provide scholars with a wealth of material to explore the cultural vitality of literature and the arts not only in California but across the nation."

Auctions | April 16, 2020
Courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions

Stephen Minch’s The Vernon Chronicles: The Lost Inner Secrets, Volumes I-IV. Estimate: $3,000-4,000.

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is excited to announce its upcoming Magic Auction to be held on Saturday, May 2nd starting at 10am, CDT. Given the current public health situation, this sale will be streamed live from Potter & Potter's gallery and held on Bids can be placed on the company's website. Phone and absentee bidding are available as well. All lots are available for preview now on Potter & Potter's website.

Outstanding, museum quality selections of letters, photos, postcards, and other ephemera signed by Harry Houdini take many of the top slots in this signature spring sale.

•    Lot #209, a Houdini The Famous Jail Breaker New Year postcard from 1907 is estimated at $2,000-3,000.This postcard, mailed to a Russian hotel operator in Odessa, depicts Houdini shackled, his wife Bess in the corner, and a holiday sentiment in English and German.
•    Lot #247, a signed photograph of Houdini from the turn of last century, is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This half-length portrait shows the escape artist dressed in a high white collar and tie.
•    Lot #240, a typed signed letter from Houdini on mourning letterhead, is estimated at $1,500-2,500. It is dated Sept. 29, 1914, addressed to a Mr. Evans, notes his recent move, and mentions the creation of a scrapbook filled with memorabilia supplied by Evans.
•    Lot #246, a signed, c. 1908 notebook of secrets from Harry Houdini’s collection, is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This personal diary is filled with notes, diagrams, and descriptions of magic tricks and apparatus in two different hands; its contents include drawings of trick cigar boxes, vest holdouts, card vanishers, and other assorted apparatus, as well as lists of card sleights to be practiced, and references to works by Hoffmann and others.
•    Lot #236, a Houdini signed salary receipt issued by Moss Empires, Ltd. for the week ending April 10, 1920, is estimated at $1,00-1,500. This paperwork shows that Houdini was paid £400 for his work at The Empire, Cardiff; adjusted for inflation, this suggests Houdini’s salary was the equivalent of about $23,500.

This sale presents a fantastic collection of important broadsides from two centuries of famous and lesser known entertainers and troupes.

•    Lot #363, a framed poster promoting Harry Kellar’s Latest Theosophic Wonder, is estimated at $6,000-9,000. It features Kellar in a scene from his performance of the Morritt Cage illusion.
•    Lot #365, a broadside for Maskelyne & Cooke’s Marvellous Entertainment from the Egyptian Hall, London, is estimated at $5,000-8,000. This c. 1880 lithograph features highlights from the troupe's spooky show including spirit cabinet and table lifting effects, a ghostly manifestation, and a dancing, decapitated skeleton.
•    Lot #356, a three-sheet color lithograph outlining a full-length portrait of magician Karl Germain materializing a female ghost from flames, is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This c. 1908 linen backed rarity was printed in Cleveland by Schmitz-Horning Co. and measures an impressive 76 ½ x 41”.

This sale's noteworthy selections of magic themed archives and collections offer enthusiasts amazing opportunities for research, study, and new insights.

•    Lot #311, an 1880s-era scrapbook of magic, ventriloquist, and thought-reading materials, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. This collection was likely gathered by magician and ventriloquist Sidney Oldridge, and includes a variety of printed documents related to variety entertainments in London in the late Victorian era.
•    Lot #176, an archive of John Fisher's correspondence from the 1960s - 2000s is estimated at $3,000-5,000. This collection includes roughly 1,000+ pages of magic related letters and materials sent to British TV producer, historian, collector, and author John Fisher, the force behind many of the great televised magic shows spanning three decades.
•    Lot #263, a collection of Houdini memorabilia, is estimated at $300-600. This grouping of 20+ items includes a handbill for Houdini and Conan Doyle, The Houdini Messages by Francis R. Fast, Weird Wonders for Wizards by Joselyne, newspaper clippings, a vintage photograph of Hardeen at his brother’s grave, two engraved portraits of Houdini clipped from his mourning stationery, a prospectus for Cannell’s Secrets of Houdini, two vintage magazines with Houdini articles, Houdini’s Book of Magic and Party Pastimes, and more.

This sale presents a fine range of staged used materials from popular performers, including Johnny Thompson (American, 1934-2019), the Las Vegas illusionist best known as The Great Tomsoni.

•    Lot #470, Thompson’s engraved cups and balls used for his version of the classic sleight-of-hand trick, is estimated at $2,000-4,000. This set is illustrated in The Magic of Johnny Thompson and is noteworthy as their form was based on cups endorsed by his close friend, Charlie Miller.
•    Lot #476, Thompson's locked "Close-Up Case" and contents is estimated at $2,000-4,000. This briefcase was used to carry the apparatus for his close-up performances and includes the props used for many of his signature routines.
•    Lot #468, Thompson’s “Great Tomsoni” costume and associated accessories for his Las Vegas magic act, is estimated at $2,500-5,000. The outfit consists of a custom tailored jacket, a white dress shirt, cummerbund, white bow tie, custom-tailored pants, a satin ribbon/sash, and patent leather boots. Also included are a number of top hats, props, and a large cloth suitcase.

Modern and antique magic books, artwork, personal effects, and oddities that defy traditional auction categories bring this magic sale full circle.

•    Lot #102, Stephen Minch's The Vernon Chronicles: The Lost Inner Secrets, Volumes I - IV, is estimated at $3,000-4,000. Each volume is number 9 from the privately printed and numbered edition of 14 copies and is housed in a matching cloth slipcase. The books feature signatures by Dai Vernon, Bruce Cervon, Larry Jennings, and Thomas Blue.
•    Lot #208, Eugene Tolkachev's Harry Houdini – Debunker of Spiritualists is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This Russian language example, one of three extant, was printed in Moscow in 1927.
•    Lot #524, a sculpture by Toni Moretto (Italian, 1929-2011) of The Great Tomsoni, is estimated at $2,500-3,500. This c. 1990s work depicts Thompson in a signature moment of his act: inadvertently stripping his assistant of her dress while attempting to grab something from her without looking.
•    Lot #154, Chung Ling Soo’s c. 1915 costume headpiece is estimated at $3,000-6,000. This is the only known wig with an attached braided pigtail worn by Soo, one of the best-known and most successful magicians of the Edwardian era. This fully provenanced rarity consists of a flesh colored cloth skullcap with an attached human hair ponytail braid measuring nearly a yard long.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "This is one of the best and most diverse offerings of magicana to cross the auction block at Potter & Potter in a long, long time. It has been quite some time since such a robust collection of Houdiniana has been offered all at once in our catalogs. And the assortment of vintage ephemera is of true historical significance, as well. At the same time, Johnny Thompson was a personal friend, and having the tools of his trade pass through our hands to those in the collecting community is bittersweet."

Auctions | April 16, 2020
Courtesy of Neue Auctions

Stipple engraving, hand finished, by Pierre Joseph Redoute (French 1759-1840), titled Tulip Suaveolens, Tulip Odorante, circa 1802-1816, matted (est. $2,000-$3,000).

Beachwood, OH – Neue Auctions’ online-only auction of collections and ephemera on Saturday, April 25th, will be packed with 340 lots of books, library furnishings, Natural History and orthinological (bird-related) prints, works on paper, assorted estate goods and a single-owner collection of collectible knives. There will be no live bidding and the start time is 9 am Eastern.

“In this strange and grim time of COVID-19, we need to reach for and retain the parts of our former life wherever we can,” said Cynthia Maciejewski of Neue Auctions. “Luckily, we still have online auctions, and the trade in fine and rare and interesting goods can continue. We’re doing our best to manage selling and shipping to customers as well as serving our consignors.”

Maciejewski said the April sale is bigger than originally planned. “We put everything scheduled for the May auction into the April sale just to be safe, because the future is so uncertain,” she commented. “Our tagline – ‘Auctions Evolved’ – is certainly coming true as we recreate our business model to continue working while social distancing. We’re living in a different world.”

Collectible books from the family of a Civil War general and an antique dealer’s personal library are certain to appeal to bibliophiles. Included will be rare children’s illustrated books and books dedicated to Civil War and related military themes, American history, government, slavery and abolitionists, American geology with fold-out maps, and rare first editions, including leather sets.

Presidential and militaria items will be led by an autographed letter signed by Ulysses S. Grant, a letter signed by Woodrow Wilson, George W. Bush autographs and collectibles relating to the Civil War and World Wars I and II.

The antique maps category will be highlighted by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) Valentia c.1662, Gales and Hurricanes, from the Admiral Perry expedition of 1855, as traced by William Redfield; and Disposition of the English and French Fleets at the commencement of the Action, August 1st, 1798 from the memoirs of Lord Nelson. Other desirable maps will also be offered.

Rare, highly collectible books will include a collection of works by Helen Bannerman, Little Black Sambo volumes, Andrew Lang’s The Brown Fairy Book and others, as well as 17th and 18th century books with maps, including The Ladies Flora, with a dictionary and glossary of botanical names by Richard La Galienne, with 18 hand colored plates. The in-depth study of floral lore, literature, cultivation and home and medical use has a pre-sale estimate of $100-200.

Other noteworthy books include Histoire De La Guerre De Mil Sept Cent Quarante Et Un by Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire (est. $100-$150); a Book Regarding the History of the Constitution with Anti-Abolitionist Tracts; Slavery in American History (est. $150-$300); and three 19th century books regarding privateers, naval combat and Lord Nelson (est. $100-$200).

“If we can’t be free to fly as we’re used to, we might as well study our feathered friends from our shelters through ornithological prints,” Ms. Maciejewski commented, referring to a collection of Amsterdam Edition prints from John James Audubon’s book Birds of America, in nine lots, double elephant folio size (est. $200-$400 per lot). The book was published in 1972 in an edition of 250 on high quality watermarked Holland wove paper of 100 percent unbleached cotton rag.

Also up for bid will be first edition (1840-1844) and second edition (1856) Royal Octavo plates from Audubon’s The Birds of North America From Drawings made in the United States and Their Territories; Edward Lear’s (British 1812-1888) Black Kite, Milvus Ater, hand-colored lithograph, printed by C. Hollande (British 1789-1850) matted and framed (est. $200-$400); and three Pierre Joseph Redoute hand-finished plates, each with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Other lithographs will include John Gould’s (British 1804-1881) Short Eared Owl, 1832-1837, from Birds of Europe, hand-colored and printed by C. Hullmandel (British, 1789-1850 est. $200-400); and four framed reptile lithographs in decorative frames from Emory's Report of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey by William Emory, Reptiles, 1859, matted and framed in eglomise and gilt hand-painted decorative tortoise shell pattern frames (est. $400-$600).

The many antique engravings, lithographs, etchings and original works in the sale include examples by Rembrandt, Cantu, Hollar, Mahn, Guerard, van de Velde, Holden and others.

The catalog also contains library furnishings and accessories from a distinguished gentleman. Items from his freestanding Cleveland Heights, Ohio personal library include the following:  

•    A pair of extraordinarily comfortable Scalamandre upholstered fabric sofas, to be sold separately and both in like-new condition (est. $1,000-$2,000 each).
•    A pair of table lamps and a floor lamp after those designed for the New York Public Library, by Carrere and Hastings, architects of the library, having bronzed baluster bases with brass shades (est. $150-$300).
•    A gorgeous pair of Italian walnut Baroque style side tables with octagonal tops raised on quadrilateral baluster bases carved with foliate form and scrolls, raised on paw feet (est. $600-$1,200)
•    An antique dictionary with original iron and oak stand (est. $150-$300).
Along with library work tables, torchiere lamps and other furnishings, Neue Auctions is also offering unique collections such as colorful handmade custom leather cowboy boots, presidential autographs, Cleveland sports memorabilia, antique collectible toys, antique medals for rifle shooting from the 1930’s and a wide collection of American and European knives and weapons.

Well-known knife makers include Joe Kious, Ted Miller, J.I. Cottrill, Parker, Boker, Henckles, Kebar and Kershaw. Antique bayonets, daggers and swords will include pieces by Hoffritz, Eikhorn and Weyersberg, plus a Spanish military bolo machete, all from the same collector.

Internet bidding will be provided by, and Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Virtual gallery previews will be held via the Neue Auctions website, at Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

Neue Auctions provides a bespoke experience for sellers and buyers, with all items presented fully guaranteed and vetted, and combines regular online auctions with selected art exhibitions and educational opportunities. Offering consignment services for single items or entire estates, Neue Auctions gladly assists clients in the complicated process of settling estates and general downsizing, working with private individuals, as well as trusts, estates, banks and attorneys.

In addition, Neue Auctions continues the long-standing history and tradition of art collecting in Cleveland by bringing fine works of art to the market for sale, encouraging both the current and next generation of collectors. Neue Auctions is always accepting consignments for future sales. To inquire about consigning a single piece, an estate or a collection, you may call Cynthia Maciejewski at 216-245-6707; or, you can send her an email at

To learn more about Neue Auctions and the Saturday, April 25th online-only auction, please visit Updates are posted frequently.

News | April 15, 2020
Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

 Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. — The Library of Congress announced today that it will cancel all scheduled public events at the Library until July 1 as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 coronavirus. Whenever possible, the Library will reschedule the public programs that have been canceled. We will also provide regular public updates on the operating status of Library facilities.

Library of Congress buildings and facilities remain closed to the public until further notice. Because the health and safety of Library employees and visitors is our first priority, the Library continues to consult with public health professionals regularly, particularly when considering the Library’s operating status, building access, public programs and public tours.

The Library has introduced flexibilities to expand the capacity for staff to accomplish their work remotely and has reduced the number of employees reporting to Library facilities to only those who perform critical work that can only be accomplished on site.

During this period, the Library has expanded its online events and programs, launching Library of Congress: Engage! with original content from bestselling children’s author Dav Pilkey and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds.

In collaboration with the Washington Post, the Library has launched a weekly video series with the Washington Post for National Poetry Month called “The Poetry of Home” that spotlights current U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and will feature three previous U.S. poets laureate, Robert Pinsky on April 17, Natasha Trethewey on April 24 and Juan Felipe Herrera on May 1.
Each weekday, the Library is also spotlighting author talks from the past 20 years of the National Book Festival through the Best of the National Book Festival video series.

The public can also still access many Library resources through, Ask a Librarian and Users of the U.S. Copyright Office’s services can submit applications online, browse FAQs, and submit emails with questions through The Copyright Office is also available by phone at (202) 707-3000.

More information about the Library of Congress’ response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic can be found at: Individuals may subscribe to email bulletin services for the latest information on Library events and other special topics at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.