Courtesy of Cowan's

A 1776 letter from a Continental Army soldier to his father detailing the disastrous loss at the Battle of Long Island (Est. $500 - $700) sold for $11,250.

Cincinnati, OH – Cowan’s American Historical Ephemera and Photography auction surpassed expectations achieving a sales total of $701,849 against a presale estimate of $409,700 - $615,750. The November 19 auction also saw 93% of the auction’s 414 lots sell with nearly a third selling above their presale estimates.
 
“I am proud of all that the team at Cowan's and Hindman have accomplished in a year filled with so many unique challenges,” said Katie Horstman, Senior Specialist of American Historical Ephemera and Photography. “This was the highest sell through rate for a various-owner sale in my 13 year career – this is a great time to sell at auction.”
 
The top lot of the day was an extensive archive of Medal of Honor winner and Civil War hero Lt. General Nelson A. Miles (Lot 322). The Miles archive featured over 300 items detailing Indian Wars campaigns, including his interactions with Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph. The archive was consigned by a direct descendant of Miles, increasing its appeal and drawing a great deal of attention from prominent book and manuscript dealers from across the country. Ultimately, the archive sold to a private collector for $87,500 against an estimate of $30,000 - $50,000.
 
Another archive of note from the auction was a collection of photographs and manuscripts from a member of the 7th Cavalry (Lot 328) serving under the notorious Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.  At the heart of the archive was a collection of stereoviews purportedly once owned by Custer’s wife, Elizabeth, that included never before seen views of Little Bighorn, Miles City, and Fort Keogh. Estimated at $10,000 - $15,000, the lot nearly tripled its estimate selling for $26,250.
 
In the early photography category, an extraordinarily rare half plate daguerreotype of a California gold mining camp (Lot 376) more than doubled its estimate selling for $36,250. The photograph depicted six men posed around a large depression at the Angel’s Camp gold mine in Calaveras County, California. Daguerreotypes of gold mining scenes are rare to begin with, but adding to the desirability of the lot, the mining camp and miners themselves were identified.
 
Other notable lots from the auction include:
 
    •    Lot 247 – A sixth plate daguerreotype of bare-knuckle boxer John Morrissey, circa mid-1850s (Est. $10,000 - $15,000) – Sold for $15,000
    •    Lot 406 – A 1903 letter written and signed by William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody describing the battle of Warbonnet Creek and the killing of Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hand (Est. $12,000 - $16,000) – Sold for $13,125
    •    Lot 7 – A 1776 letter from a Continental Army soldier to his father detailing the disastrous loss at the Battle of Long Island (Est. $500 - $700) – Sold for $11,250
 
The American Historical Ephemera and Photography auction was held November 19 with all bidders and staff participating virtually. Bidding was available via absentee bid, over the phone, and live online using one of four online bidding platforms. Phone bidders drove most of the action accounting for nearly half of the sale’s total, although, as has been the case throughout 2020, the auction saw heavy online bidding with more than 40% of the total coming from online bidders.
 
Cowan’s is now inviting American Historical Ephemera and Photography consignments for several 2021 auctions. The next auction in the category will be a February auction dedicated entirely to African Americana. For more information, please visit cowans.com.

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Courtesy of Potter & Potter

A presentation copy of Ricky Jay's Extraordinary Exhibitions, is estimated at $400-600.

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce this nearly 500 lot sale to be held on Saturday, December 12th starting at 10am CST. Given current public health regulations, the event will be held online and live streamed from the company's gallery. All bidding will take place through the company's website at www.potterauctions.com. Phone and absentee bids are also welcome. All items are available for in-person preview now, by appointment only.  

As expected, breathtaking props made by Owen Magic Supreme take several of the top slots in this exciting sale.
•    Lot #90, Marvyn Roy’s Lady in the Diamond Illusion, is estimated at $5,000-10,000. This trick consists of a giant jewelry box resting on a low platform. It is opened, revealing a huge diamond, studded with rhinestones. The gem is replaced, the lid closed, and moments later when the box is reopened, a woman springs from the box. It was used throughout Roy’s tours as an opening act with Liberace.
•    Lot #67, a Palladian Lock from the 1990s, is estimated at $3,000-6,000. With this illusion, a giant brass padlock is closed and locked with a key by a spectator, who holds it high overhead. From across the stage, the magician turns another key in mid-air, pointing it at the lock all the while. As the key turns, the lock opens in the spectator’s hand.
•    Lot #6, a Growing Ball from the 1990s, is estimated at $2,500-5,000. Here, a small billiard ball is placed in a cabinet resting atop a pedestal. Visibly, the ball gradually expands to many times its original size and is removed from the cabinet. This illusion is enabled via an electronic mechanism, fine mechanical works, and a wireless remote control.
•    Lot #83, a finely made example of the company's classic Rice, Grapefruit, and Checkers transposition trick from 1995, is estimated at $2,000-4,000. With this illusion, a quantity of dry rice, a stack of checkers, and a bright grapefruit change places on command, between a turned wooden vase and two decorated canisters.   

Vintage props, with robust provenance or industry significance, are also well represented at this sale.
•    Lot #397, Dai Vernon’s Harlequin Act Linking Rings, is estimated at $5,000-10,000. This set of giant rings consists of two single rings, one key, and one linked pair. Vernon brought this ancient trick, in which the solid rings apparently link and unlink in a dizzying and deceptive sequence along with noises and chimes, to new heights using this custom made set.
•    Lot #105, F.G. Thayer's The Voice from the Great Beyond, is estimated at $2,000-4,000. This rare example, from the 1930s, is the Thayer version of D.P. Abbott’s Talking Teakettle. The gold leaf gesso-covered vase answers questions posed by audience volunteers in a ghostly voice.  
•    Lot #63, an Eclipse Vanishing Lamp from 1966, is estimated at $1,500-3,000. Here, an illuminated electrical lamp is wrapped in paper and lifted from the table. The paper is crushed; the lamp is gone. This rare example in fine condition, produced by Owen Magic Supreme in 1966, was recreated from an original Thayer Magic Company pattern.  

Stunning broadsides promoting some of the most famous 20th century illusionists are certain to catch the eye of collectors worldwide.
•    Lot #448, Howard Thurston's Thurston Magician and Daughter Jane. Wonder Show of the Universe, is estimated at $7,000-9,000. This 1920s-era, linen backed color litho features the performer's daughter, Jane, billed alongside him.
•    Lot #413, Alexander's Alexander. The Man Who Knows, is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This example from 1915 was printed in Bombay by Av Yaga and depicts the mind-reader holding a crystal ball as he gazes at the viewer.
•    Lot #423, a 1910-era Chung Ling Soo. A Name to Conjure With poster, is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This color litho depicts the legacy magician juggling lanterns spelling out his name, flanked by a spritely lady and dragon.  

Also available are a number of magic related scrapbooks and archives, offering researchers and historians a goldmine of firsthand data, observations, and materials.
•    Lot #240, a scrapbook from magician, escape artist, and mentalist Joseph Dunninger (1882-1975) is estimated at $1,000-2,000. This collection from 1911-17 includes 60 leaves filled with letters, photographs, and clippings highlighting the performer's achievements.
•    Lot #113, a collection of eleven Owen Magic Supreme guestbooks from 1966-2020 is estimated at $1,500-3,000. These include the signatures of the magicians, designers, promoters, and customers who patronized the magic manufacturing firm over the course of half a century and include luminaries like Doug Henning, Charles Reynolds, Don Bice, Fred Kaps, Eric Lewis, Ricky Jay, Siegfried & Roy, Dai Vernon, and hundreds of others.
•    Lot #306, a group of published and unpublished Charlie Miller (1909-1989) manuscripts and correspondence, is estimated at $1,000-2,000. This collection includes over 120 pages and is a unique and significant archive of secrets and information related to the life, career, and magic of one of magic’s great unsung sleight-of-hand artists.

Fine century-spanning magic books are bound to be best sellers at this can't miss auction event.
•    Lot #254, a first edition copy of Harry Houdini's The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, is estimated at $1,800-2,400. This book was published 1908 in New York by The Publishers Printing Company and is signed by Houdini: “With compliments of the author/Harry Houdini/Aug 10-1912.”
•    Lot #214, Strozzi Cicogna's (1568-1605) Del Palagio De Gl’incanti Et Delle Gran Meraviglie De Gli Spiriti & Di Tutta La Natura Loro, is estimated at $1,500-2,500. This first edition from 1605 is a rare example of the author’s most important work on occultism. It was published simultaneously, by four different publishers, in Venice and Brescia. This is the first copy of this imprint at auction in over 70 years; only one institutional copy was traced, at Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
•    Lot #257, a presentation copy of Ricky Jay's Extraordinary Exhibitions, is estimated at $400-600. This first edition was published in 2005 in New York by Quantuck Lane Press and is inscribed and signed to the former owner. This lot includes the letterpress broadside advertising the book and the publisher’s complimentary pictorial bookmark.

Ephemera, artwork, and other can't look away magic-related antiques bring this event full circle.
•    Lot #351, a sepia toned portrait of Beatrice Houdini inscribed and signed to Dai Vernon, is estimated at $800-1,200. This image dates from around 1915 and includes a letter of provenance from Vernon’s son, Derek.
•    Lot #296, a sculpture by Toni Moretto (1929 – 2011) is estimated at $1,200-2,400. This caricaturish porcelain work depicts a magician standing behind his table laden with cards, props, books, and flowers, with a set of linking rings in his hands.
•    Lot #442, a signed, hand painted magician sideshow banner by Fred Johnson (1892-1990) is estimated at $2,500-5,000. It was produced in Chicago around 1955 by O’Henry Tent & Awning and features a full-length portrait of the conjurer at the center, livestock and props filling out the scene.  

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "The name "Owen Magic Supreme" looms large in the history of magic, and we are honored to be offering relics and props from the company's 100+ year history in our December auction. There has been a lot of buzz in the industry about the future of Owen's business - the company is now available for sale - and when you look at the scope of what it produced over the years, it's easy to understand why its stellar reputation has persisted for over a century. We're excited for auction day, and equally enthusiastic that someone new will step up to the helm of Owen to "keep the wheels turning," as the saying goes. On a personal note, I am also thrilled to bring so many important props from Dai Vernon's legendary Harlequin Act to the auction block, in concert with memorabilia and props from the career of his counterpart, Charlie Miller."

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Courtesy of Christopher Bishop Fine Art

Arthur Rackham's The Tempest, 1926.

New York — The lines between art, science and magic are explored in a new exhibition at Christopher Bishop Fine Art. The Magic of the Draughtsman: Images of the Occult presents nearly 20 Old Master and early modern drawings from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the works are being exhibited in New York City for the first time. The exhibition is on view in the gallery through December 18, 2020, and will be available in an online viewing room. A fully illustrated online catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

From witches and satyrs to angels and mermaids, the exhibition surveys pre-modern views of the occult, mysticism, and alchemy, topics that often neither science nor philosophy can fully address. Among the highlights are images from mythology, religion, and Shakespeare, which have inspired artists through the ages.

A drawing by Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian 1547-1627) presents a musical competition, The Contest of Apollo and Pan c. 1590. Ligozzi, who was often commissioned by the Medici family of Florence, was interested in the power of images to be a conduit for prosperity, in order to bring about a golden age. He may have viewed the drawing as a talisman to ward off evil. The drawing is on public view in New York for the first time.

A mysterious calm pervades an intriguing underwater scene as mermaids toll the bell for Shakespeare’s dead king in The Tempest. The 1926 drawing by Arthur Rackham (British 1867-1939) underscores the expression “sea change,” which was coined by Shakespeare in the play. “Full fathom five thy father lies…/ Nothing of him that doth fade/ But doth suffer a sea-change/ Into something rich and strange.”

Another Shakespearean character from The Tempest was depicted by the painter John Trumbull (British/American, 1756-1843), who was friends with America’s founding fathers and became famous for his historical paintings of the American Revolutionary War. His drawing of Prospero, 1784, one of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic characters known for his use of magical powers, could be a metaphor for American optimism and ambition.

The Magic of the Draughtsman also includes a drawing by a draughtswoman. The only surviving work attributed to the artist Anna Hoffman (Swiss, born 1622-3) depicts a scene that could be termed white magic. The resurrected Christ reveals himself as a messiah to two surprised pilgrims at dinner in The Supper at Emmaus. The drawing is dated c. 1642 and is inscribed in a way that speaks volumes about how women artists were described during the Renaissance. The copy reads in German on the back of the drawing as “by Hoffmann’s daughter in Basel.” Anna Hoffman’s father was Samuel Hoffmann (1591-1648), the Swiss painter who trained in Rubens’ studio. Recent scholarship has shown that the rest of her work and her name were lost to history.

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Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1813, sold for $75,000. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1811, sold for $57,500. Emma: A Novel, three volumes, first edition, London, 1816, sold for $15,000.

New York — Swann Galleries’ Tuesday, November 17 sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts saw great success across categories with a 90% sell-through rate by lot, and closed above the total high-estimate at $675,481.

“Literature tipped over to an eye-opening 95% of all lots sold. Steadfast buyer confidence, a constant throughout the entire sale, drove high prices via a multitude of bidding platforms,” remarked John Larson, the house’s specialist for literature and art books. Enthusiasm for Jane Austen proved to be enduring as 100% of the 12 works by the author on offer found buyers. The success of the editions comes after the house offered a complete run of first editions of Austen’s novels in rare period binding earlier in the year. Highlights from this sale’s selection included first editions of Pride and Prejudice, 1813 ($75,000), Sense and Sensibility, 1811 ($57,500), Mansfield Park, 1814 ($16,250), Emma, 1816 ($15,000), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, 1818 ($10,625).

Additional nineteenth-century literature of note included an exceptional association copy of Charles Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation, 1842. The first edition presentation copy from Dickens’ first tour in the United States included an inscription to Richard Henry Dana, Jr., the author of the memoir Two Years Before the Mast, and sold for $35,000. John Keats’ Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, 1820 ($9,375), and an inscribed presentation copy of Oscar Wilde’s Poems, 1882 ($6,250), also featured. Twentieth-century literature saw success with a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960, by Harper Lee with an inscribed leaf laid into the edition ($6,750); and a first edition of the most influential economic work of the twentieth century John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936 ($7,000).

Of the autographs offering specialist Marco Tomaschett noted, “signed books performed surprisingly well: an Albert Schweitzer inscribed book realized three times the high estimate at $2,250; two uncommon books signed by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry both exceeded their high estimates at $3,250 and $1,820, respectively; and most surprising was an uncommon pamphlet signed and inscribed by Ezra Pound which realized six times the high estimate at $7,500!”

Americana also proved to be popular among autograph buyers. Highlights included partly-printed documents, signed by George Washington as President and counter-signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, granting permission to a ship in 1894 in three languages ($22,500); Abraham Lincoln as President with the 1863 issue ordering New York to furnish 2,050 troops under the Enrollment Act of March 3, 1863 ($18,750); and John Hancock as President of the Continental Congress issuing an uncommon privateer commission during the Revolutionary War ($9,375); as well as an autograph letter signed by Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury helping the Bank of the United States to quell the panic of 1792 ($11,875).

Illustrated works included a signed deluxe limited edition of Alexander Calder’s Calder’s Circus, New York, 1964 ($6,240); a first edition of Aubrey Beardsley’s The Lysistrata of Aristophanes, London 1896 ($5,000); Maurice Utrillo’s La Rue Norvins à Montmartre, Paris, 1952, published for the 25th Anniversary of the Societe Francaise d’Assurance pour Favoriser le Credit ($3,120); Auguste H. Thomas’s Formes et Couleurs, a 1921 album of 20 brilliantly colored plates ($1,235); and a limited edition copy of Omar Khavyám’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: A Personal Selection from the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald, London, 1980, printed by the Curwen Press and signed by the editor ($1,062).

The house is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit swanngalleries.com.

Additional highlights can be found here.

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Courtesy of Doyle

Audubon's The Birds of America from drawings made in the United States and their Territories. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

New York — Doyle’s Rare Books, Autographs and Maps timed auction closing on November 24, 2020 beginning at 10am offers an interesting range of material from a number of private collections and estates. These include a small collection of Montaigne, including the first three John Florio editions; a good collection of the limited first editions of Arthur Rackham; a collections of catalogues raisonnées; a small collection of movie and television ephemera; and the next installment of the Jake Johnson collection of sporting books.

In the area of science and technology, we are pleased to offer material relating to three of the most illustrious figures in those fields: Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. Tesla is represented by an inscribed copy of Thomas Martin Commerford’s The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla… 1894, inscribed by Tesla to General Daniel Adams Butterfield (lot 34). Two Einstein lots are on offer (lot 35 and lot 36), the first of which is an interesting pair of letters and other materials relating to a logical question posed by Professor Julian Hugo Bonfante. For Jobs, we have the lid of an Apple II plus inscribed at the “unveiling” ceremony for the Apple Macintosh by the two Steves: Jobs and Wozniak (lot 37).

Of antiquarian interest are a pair of very lovely miniatures from a Book of Hours, attributed to Alexander Bening (lot 2). A copy of one of the great exemplars of Elizabethan prose, John Florio’s great translation of Montaigne, in a binding with the arms of Queen Elizabeth, heads up a small group of editions of Montaigne (lot 14). A small group of binding executed for the library of Madame la Marquise de Pompadour is offered (lot 21).

Art and illustration are strongly represented in this catalogue. Four delightful and funny drawings by H.M. Bateman, most done for The Tatler are offered (lots 77-80). His work is quite scarce, and it retains its wit and verve remarkably well. A small group of very fine Kate Greenaway drawings are on display (lot 82). The collection of Rackham includes several copies with original drawings, most notably the Walton Compleat Angler, this copy 4, one of approximately twelve issued with a drawing. The catalogues raisonnée include the great Zervos catalogue of Picasso (lot 156); and an attractive Lichtenstein drawing in a copy of Drawings and Prints, Lausanne: [1970] (lot 144).

Literature includes a fine copy in dust jacket of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (lot 74) and an inscribed copy of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, now adapted into major television series (lot 41). Also offered from the Estate of television producer Richard Schilling are several quality items of film and related memorabilia such as a prop chair from Rick’s Café in Casablanca (171) and six books especially bound for Humphrey Bogart’s yacht, Santana, formerly in the estate of his wife Lauren Bacall (lot 170). A group of film posters rounds out this section and includes the very large and rare three sheet poster for the 1951 film version of The Great Gatsby (lot 174).

In Americana, we offer a remarkably timely reminder of the nature of American civic life, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, 1838 and 1840 (lot 201). Sets of the quarto editions of Audubon’s Birds and Quadrupeds are always attractive and desirable (lots 182 and 183), as is McKenney and Hall’s series of portraits of the North American Indians (lot 193). An exceptional American naval desideratum, the log for Matthew Calbraith Perry’s voyage in the Shark, during which he claimed the Florida Keys for the United States, is presented as lot 194.

The sale ends with a further tranche of material from the collection of Arnold (“Jake”) Johnson, pertaining to angling, hunting, travel and Americana. This includes The Log of the Cruise of President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the Schooner Yacht Sewanna to Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick 14 July 1936 28 July 1936, inscribed by Roosevelt to a friend (lot 262); a superb album of original drawings by C.B. Betts of angling and sporting scenes, Washington State, about 1900 (lot 236); the very rare Leave of Absence in the Straits Settlements, Ceylon, Madras and Bombay, Bombay: 1859 (lot 292).

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Courtesy of Getman's Virtual Book & Paper Fair

An Emily Dickinson original handwritten manuscript poem will be offered for sale for the first time in more than 25 years.

Boston – A Few of our Favorite Things, Getman’s Virtual Bibliophilic Holiday Gift Fair, will open for business on Friday, December 4 at noon EST and close at 9 pm EST on Monday, December 7.
 
More than 200 dealers from all over the country will be offering unique gifts for the holidays including rare books, manuscripts, maps, and ephemera —more than 3,000 rare items for sale with an additional 800 fresh items posted on the last day. Prices range from under $50 to many thousands of dollars so there will be something for everyone from the seasoned collector to the first timer.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
One of the items up for sale will be the very first commercially produced Christmas card dated December 1843. The card is a hand-colored lithograph on card stock, measuring 3-1/16 x 5 inches, probably the finest surviving example in unused condition, and likely to have been a salesman’s sample. The card is framed with double-sided glass. Only one thousand copies of this original Christmas card were produced to sell retail for one shilling each, and it is estimated that that less than 30 examples have survived.
 
The artist John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) designed this very first Christmas and New Year card in 1843 at the suggestion of Sir Henry Cole, founder of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and it is believed to have gone on sale the same week that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published. As it illustrates a family toasting the recipient with raised glasses of red wine, including children, it was quickly denounced by the puritanical Temperance Society and it took another three years before the next Christmas card was produced.
 
The second highlight of the show is an Emily Dickinson original handwritten manuscript poem offered for sale for the first time in more than 25 years. Dickinson was an American lyric poet who lived in seclusion and commanded a singular brilliance of style and integrity of vision. The This poem is titled "Santa Claus" and differs slightly from a transcription made during the 1950s.
 
The card and the manuscript are for sale on the site, and while the show will be open for four days, unlike an auction, items are sold to the first person who offers to buy them.
 
“We all remember the joy of receiving a special book as a gift for the holidays,” says Marvin Getman, Founder of GetmansVirtual.com, producer of the largest virtual antiquarian book and ephemera fairs in the country. “You may still own that book or, more likely, it was sold at a yard sale when your family moved or was given away during a spring cleaning. This holiday season, you can shop from the comfort of your own home to find a truly memorable gift for someone you love—and maybe you'll even rediscover that favorite book that you once owned!” 
 
At noon on December 4th, there will be a panel discussion presented by the Rare Book and Manuscript Society Membership & Professional Development Committee. The panelists will discuss favorite items from their personal collections. Registration for the panel discussion can be done here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-few-of-our-favorite-things-rbms-membership-professional-development-tickets-127397484305
 
To enter the online Bibliophilic Holiday Gift Fair visit this link www.getmansvirtual.com  
 
Like everything else in our world, COVID-19 has altered the way businesses display and sell their wares to the public. Marvin Getman pivoted in May of this year to host his popular in person fairs online transforming the way buyers meet sellers of rare books, maps, prints and ephemera. Getman has already hosted six successful online book fairs since June, and other organizations around the world are now licensing his platform, seen as the emerging gold standard in the industry. With a virtual show, collectors will be able to peruse the booths of every exhibitor in the fair one by one, or easily visit just their favorite dealer. A built-in search feature allows visitors to browse by category, subject, any search term, or price to find specific items of interest. To keep the online shows fresh, exhibitors will be asked to only feature items not available on any other book selling site. For more information, visit www.getmansvirtual.com

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Courtesy of Bonhams

Schedel, Hartmann. 1440-1514. Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12th July 1493. Estimate: $200,000-300,000

New York — When Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type to Europe in 1439, he sparked a revolution in the dissemination of knowledge that changed the world for ever. Books printed in the period from then until around 1500 are known as incunabula. Among the most famous of these – and certainly the most lavishly illustrated and beautiful – is the Nuremberg Chronicle, an extremely rare first edition of which, hand colored by contemporary artists and bound for the publisher in Nuremberg by the Weltchronik-Meister, leads Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale in New York on Friday 11 December. It is estimated at $200,000-300,000.
 
A pictorial history of the world, the Nuremberg Chronicle was written over several years by the doctor and book collector Hartmann Schedel, who was commissioned by two Nuremberg merchants. It was originally published in Latin in an edition of around 1400-1500, of which 400 are thought to have survived. It came in two formats; unbound and uncolored and, at a considerably higher price, hand-colored and bound - this copy is hand-colored and bound in the original first binding from the Nuremberg Weltchronik-Meister.
 
The 29 large double-page city views, many illustrated for the first time, are accurate in depicting particular, distinguished, features of each city. In addition it includes many details of 15th-century daily life: carpenters with their tools, astronomers and their instruments, archers, bridges, derricks, dishes, furniture, windmills, ships, beds, houses, fortifications, weapons, tents, wharves, ferries, books, drawing materials, dogs, horses, and other animals, as well as costumes.

Bonhams Director of Fine Books in New York, Ian Ehling, said: “It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Magisterial in its scope and ambition, it was the first printed work to integrate text and illustrations in a truly successful and effective way. First editions of the Chronicle in their original binding with contemporary hand-colored illustrations very rarely appear on the open market. This wonderful copy is already exciting much interest among collectors.”

Other highlights include:
 
    •    A 12th-century manuscript of the Confessions of St Augustine of Hippo 354-430. Written in AD 397-400 while Augustine was in his early 40s, The Confessions is an autobiographical work of 13 chapters covering the writer’s sinful youth, his conversion to Christianity and the development of his thought. A revolutionary and influential work, the book still enjoys a reputation as a key text of Western literature. This edition is believed to have been produced in Italy in the mid-12th century. It is estimated at $100,000-150,000.
    •    A handwritten letter by Malcolm X. 1925-1965. (El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz). A profoundly important Malcolm X letter written from Mecca upon the completion of his pilgrimage (hajj) on the transformation he experienced and acknowledging a turning point in his thinking on race in America. Estimate: $40,000-60,000.
    •    Original manuscripts, documents, and photographs from the estate of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, including an original autograph manuscript of the Charter for the American Red Cross in the hand of Clara Barton ($30,000-40,000), a series of letters from Susan B. Anthony to Clara Barton, and her original diary from 1874-1875.
    •    The Charles Dickens Collection of Martin Nason including a presentation copy of the Old Curiosity Shop (estimate: £30,000-50,000), the rare trial issue of A Christmas Carol, as well as a fine collection of signed photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera from the writings and life of Charles Dickens.

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Courtesy of Catawiki

Amsterdam — Thank goodness he adopted a pen name, as Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto is quite a mouthful. We now have two Pablo Neruda auctions live for bids: “Pablo Neruda: Essential Works” and “Pablo Neruda: Rarities.” These auctions are from the private collection of a Spanish journalist. Collected over many years, in addition to some 250 books, most of them first editions signed and several dedicated by the author, the collection includes black and white photographs, handwritten poems and a variety of miscellaneous items. In short, one of the most comprehensive Neruda collections to come to market in recent years.

And our next Exclusive Collection
Our Exclusive Collection proved more popular with sellers and buyers than we could imagine.  As a result, we are starting a regular “Exclusive Books & Manuscripts” auction.  Our next will be held in early December It will begin on 27th November and end on 6th December 2020.

“Neruda is often considered the national poet of Chile, and his works have been popular and influential worldwide.  We are very pleased to offer this collection Neruda material to the market. Gabriel García Márquez once called Neruda ‘the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language’ we are very pleased to give a wide audience an opportunity to experience first editions of his poetry.“ —Marc Harrison, Books & Cartography Category Manager

The Pablo Neruda (Essential works) auction -  will be online starting Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Friday 25th November 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409565

The Pablo Neruda (Rarities) auction -  will be online starting Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Saturday 26th November 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409567

The December Exclusive Books & Manuscripts auction -  will be online starting Friday 27th November 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Sunday 6th December 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link: https://www.catawiki.com/a/409689

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Courtesy of Tennants

E.H. Shepard ‘Pen and Ink Sketch of Christopher Robin’ sold for £3,800.

Leyburn, North Yorkshire, UK -- Tennants Auctioneers’ Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Photographs Sale on 18th November saw impressive results. Whilst the sale took place behind closed doors with no public viewing, online bidding facilities and extra imaging provided by Tennants helped the sale exceed the pre-sale estimate and achieve a 94% sold rate.

Lots relating to children’s literature are a strong theme amongst the highlights of the sale. A small pen and ink sketch of Christopher Robin by E.H. Shepard was one of the top lots, selling for £3,800 (plus buyer’s premium). The sketch, in which Christopher Robin faces away, is signed by the artist and is accompanied with a manuscript note on headed paper reading ‘with [heart] and xx from Christopher Robin’. Both the sketch and the note are mounted in an autograph book compiled by Miss Joyce Cartmell from 1937.

A fine first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling sold for £2,900; a second impression, the volume contained a label for Rowling’s agent – Christopher Little Literary Agency – to the half title page. Strong results were also seen for a 1926 first edition of Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne (sold for £1,700), and a numbered limited edition copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince from 1913 that was signed by the illustrator Charles Robinson (sold for £1,000).

Top lots of classic fiction included a first edition, second issue of Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall from 1848, which sold for £5,400, and a third edition of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: An Autobiography from 1848, which sold for £3,600.

Interesting non-fiction highlights included Transactions of the Guild and School of Handicraft, Vol. 1, 1890, with manuscript inscriptions by the volume’s editor and founder of the Guild C.R. Ashbee. Ashbee, one of the leading figures of the Arts and Crafts movement, inscribed on the flyleaf a verse from Rudyard Kipling’s The Conundrum of the Workshops (sold for £2,100).

Photographic lots saw strong bidding, with a volume of sixty collotype plates of Korea, Japan and China photographed by Isabella L Bishop circa 1897 selling for £750. An outstanding collection of 47 early aviation photographs recording what is believed to be the first aviation meeting in Africa, which was held at Heliopolis in Egypt in 1910, sold for £1,400. Aircraft both on the ground and airborne are shown in the photographs, as well as scenes of spectators.

Finally, a collection of 1920s catalogues, brochures and price lists, mostly from Fortnum & Mason, sold for £2,100 against an estimate of £60-80. Featuring colourful graphic design of the era, interesting items in the collection included the brochure ‘Fortnum and Mason make Entertaining easy in your own home’.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the next Book Sale on 10th March 2021, please contact them on 01969 623780 or enquiry@tennants-ltd.co.uk for details.

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Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Dallas, TX — An extremely rare letter written and signed by composer Ludwig van Beethoven sold for $275,000 to lead Heritage Auctions' Historical Manuscripts Auction to $1,762,995.50 in total sales Nov. 12.

The Ludwig Autograph Letter Signed "Beethoven" roared past its pre-auction estimate of $60,000+ to reach its final result, which was the most paid for a Beethoven-signed document in the last decade. In a short letter to a Mr. von Bauman, Beethoven requests the return of a piano trio and writes he will return soon with a violin sonata.

"It came as a complete surprise because it's beyond the norm for what his letters sell for," said Sandra Palomino, director of Rare Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. "He [Beethoven] rarely comes on the market, but people got excited about this because he was talking about his music."

The letter was bought by a musician who has researched and given lectures on Beethoven, and intends to donate the letter to the music school at which she studied. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the letter was especially appealing to her because "it refers to a trio sonata, which I played so I knew where he was coming from."

"It was my idea that I am getting older and, besides enjoying in enormously, I am going to give it to my alma matter in my will," the collector said. "This was a last-minute purchase, but I feel it is something that will be important for young people to feel.

"It means a lot to me, and Germany has always been so welcoming to me. and Beethoven was my refuge growing up."

Also climbing above and beyond expectations was a John Adams Autograph Letter Signed "J. Adams" that sold for $81,250, against a pre-auction estimate of $25,000+. The letter was written by Adams to his good friend, Philadelphia physician and fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, renewing a correspondence between the two men that was suspended for several years due to a misunderstanding. During the 1800 presidential election, which Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson, Rush allegedly claimed that Adams favored monarchy over democracy, which Rush denied. Adams took great offense at what Rush allegedly said and stopped their correspondence.

A Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel Legal Document Signed "Ben Siegel" as President of the Nevada Project Corporation found a new home at $45,000. The legal document marks the transference of the Flamingo Hotel project from William R. Wilkerson to Siegel, who signed the bottom of the document. The second page, also dated March 19, 1947, is a signed statement by the Los Angeles, California Notary Public, N. Joseph Ross. Siegel is popularly thought to be the impetus behind large-scale development of Las Vegas. Siegel returned to Nevada and began working on his dream to construct a hotel-casino complex on what later would become known as the Las Vegas Strip, an establishment called the "Flamingo," a project started by Los Angeles businessman and Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson, who turned the project over to Siegel after running short of funds. This signed document is the evidence of this deal, which was completed in 1947.

A George Washington Autograph Letter Signed "Go: Washington" nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate when it drew a winning bid of $40,000. The letter commends Colonel David Humphreys, his former aide-de-camp, for a position, either as secretary of foreign affairs or as a minister to another country. In a letter to Washington, Humphreys reported that Continental Congress president Thomas Mifflin indicated that a position may be available to him. Humphreys suggested that a letter from Washington would be more effective in helping him a position. Thus, Washington wrote the letter offered here.

Other highlights in the auction included, but were not limited to:

$37,500: A William Harvey Autograph Document Signed

$35,000: A Steve Jobs "Fortune" Magazine Cover Signed "steve jobs"

$30,000: A George Washington Revolutionary War Letter Signed "Go: Washington"

$30,000: A Mary Queen of Scots Document Signed "MARIE R."

$27,500: A Benjamin Franklin Document Signed "B. Franklin Presdt" as President of Pennsylvania

$27,500: A Franz Schubert Autograph Letter Signed "Schubert"

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