New York—Christie’s announces the fall various owner sale of Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, encompassing over 200 lots including autograph manuscripts, cartography, literature, and historic artifacts to take place on December 5, 2017, with a stand-alone auction Russian America and Polar Exploration: Highlights from the Martin Greene Library to follow on December 7, 2017, at Christie’s New York.
Highlighting the various owner sale are important artifacts and manuscripts from pivotal moments of American history, including Brigham Young's copy of the 1823 Stone-engraved Declaration of Independence, one of only six known proofs executed on paper (estimate: $400,000-600,000); Abraham Lincoln’s Wooden Bench Mallet, the earliest artifact attributed to Lincoln in private hands (estimate: $300,000-500,000); an extremely rare autograph letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Asbury preparing for the Lincoln-Douglas debates (estimate: $500,000-700,000); and John F. Kennedy's own copy of the Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States with his own speech marked and corrected in his hand (estimate: $60,000-80,000).
Additionally, featured within the Americana section is a selection titled The Yorktown Campaign and the Franco-American Alliance: The Papers of the Marquis de Chastellux, featuring over 20 lots of autograph material and historical documentation belonging to the French general and philosopher to the founding fathers of the United States, led by an important manuscript map of New York City prepared by cartographers attached to Rochambeau’s forces during the Yorktown Campaign (estimate: $150,000-200,000); and important autograph letters by Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau.
Other top lots include objects emblematic of scientific acheviement, led by the 1978 Nobel Prize Medal in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Daniel Nathans "for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics," (estimate: $400,000-600,000), with proceeds pledged to an endowment that supports the research of young biomedical scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School; and Albert Einstein’s telescope, the only scientific instrument owned by Einstein offered at auction (estimate: $200,000-300,000).
Highlighting culture and literature are the earliest Jackie Kennedy letters to appear at auction (estimate: $20,000-30,000); five iterations of an original unpublished love poem, by Bob Dylan to girlfriend Margie Rogerson (estimate: $8,000-12,000); A very rare original drawing by Ralph Steadman for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (estimate: $30,000-50,000); and prime examples of first editions with exceptional provenance including a superb copy of the privately printed first edition of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit (estimate: $40,000-60,000); and Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the first edition belonging to actor Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film (estimate: $30,000-50,000).
Also within the sale is a beautiful selection of illustrated and decorated manuscripts from The Jay T. Snider Collection, spanning centuries and continents, presenting an array of original handmade and painted works. Lots include documentation of nature, such as an album of Chinese watercolors of fruits and flowers, made in the 19th century (estimate: $50,000-80,000), to artists recording their travels, architectural drawings such as a Venetian Renaissance manuscript of imaginary fortresses (estimate $90,000-120,000), and illuminated religious texts, including A fine, richly illuminated Old Believers manuscript from 1818 (estimate: $90,000-120,000).
On December 7, the Books & Manuscripts department will also present a stand-alone auction, Russian America and Polar Exploration: Highlights from the Martin Greene Library, a choice selection of important books chronicling the exploration of the Earth’s antipodes. Additional information on this sale can be found here.