Auctions | February 3, 2012

Inscribed Hemingway on the Block at Heritage Auctions

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - One of just 300 first edition copies printed of Ernest Hemingway’s first book - Three Stories & Ten Poems. [Paris]: Contact Publishing Co., 1923 - is expected to bring $75,000+ when it comes across the auction block on Thursday, Feb. 8, as the lead lot in Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books Signature® Auction, taking place at the company’s Beverly Hills showroom, 9478 West Olympic Boulevard.

“Any Hemingway first edition is a highly sought-after thing,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books auctions at Heritage, “let alone the very first book he ever published. Making it even more interesting is the warm inscription from Hemingway to two of the editors of The Little Review, the important ‘little magazine’ that published works by avant garde writers of the time such as James Joyce and T. S. Eliot and who published Hemingway’s first mature prose work the very same year.”

That inscription reads: “For j.h. [Jane Heap] and Margaret Anderson with love from Hemingway.”

Heritage Rare Book auctions have increasingly become known as a leader in rare Sci-Fi and Fantasy editions, and one of the most interesting groupings of the auction comes from the Jack Cordes Collection of Science Fiction. It is an amazing assemblage of rare first edition Sci-Fi books inscribed to Mr. Cordes by a veritable who’s who of the genre: Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Beaumont, and more, including a 1957 first edition of Philip Jose Farmer’s classic The Green Odyssey, New York: Ballantine Books, inscribed to Cordes: “Jack, /I know you'll have/a pleasant voyage on your/green odyssey through the/matrimonial sea, because/you'll not be wanting to escape/your own personal Amra./Philip Jose Farmer.” It is estimated at $2,000+.

Two of the 18th century’s greatest writers are represented by first editions of what are among their most important works: fans of Charles Dickens will thrill to the inclusion of several of his Christmas books, including A Christmas Carol; The Chimes; The Cricket on the Hearth; The Battle of Life; The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (estimate: $15,000+), while Edgar Allan Poe aficionados will take special note of his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840 (estimate: $15,000+).

James Bond fans will be happy to find several early Ian Fleming works in this auction, including a gorgeous first edition of Goldfinger, London: Jonathan Cape, [1959], inscribed by Fleming on the front free endpaper, “To Gerald Micklem, This piece - of homework! from (sic) Ian Fleming.” It carries a pre-auction estimate of $15,000+.

A rare Pony Express Bible - The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments… - New York: American Bible Society, 1857, is already making collectors take note as it readies for the auction. The thick, pocket-sized volume, bound in eights, is still in its original custom leather binding, with "PRESENTED BY / RUSSELL, MAJORS & WADDELL / 1858" in gilt at the center of the front board. It is estimated at $10,000+.

“There few things more evocative to Americans than the thought of the Pony Express,” said Gannon. “These bibles, issued to riders and employees of the company that ran the Pony Express are true prizes of Americana, and we expect collectors will bid accordingly.”

Rare Incunabula, or books from the first 50 years of printing following Gutenberg, are represented in the Feb. 8 auction by a rare copy of Guillelmus Duranti’s Rationale divinorum officiorum. [Paris: Ulrich [Gering], Martin [Crantz], and Michael [Friburger], 13 April 1475], which is expected to bring $15,000+.

“This auction, across the board, presents a superb selection of major literature from across the epochs,” said Gannon, “from Chaucer to Cormac McCarthy, a considerable grouping of rare early American imprints, a wonderful selection of genre literature, an outstanding group of children's & illustrated titles and more selected artwork from the estate of illustrator Garth Williams. There is something for every level of collector in this one.”

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Description of Oregon and California, Embracing an Account of the Gold Regions... Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1849: Second edition, with an excellent example of the rare “New Map of Texas Oregon and California.” Estimate: $7,500+.

Thomas Hardy, Desperate Remedies. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1871: First edition of Hardy's rare first book, one of only about 500 copies printed. Inscribed by Hardy on a slip of paper mounted on the recto of the front free endpaper of volume I: “Autographed as requested- / Thomas Hardy.” Estimate: $7,000+.

(Joaquin Miller) C. H. Miller, Specimens (A Tale of the Rogue River War), Portland, printed by George Himes, 1868: First edition of Miller's first book and one of the rarest of all books to emanate from the west - only about 10 copies exist. Estimate: $7,500+.

Henry M. Stanley, In Darkest Africa or the Quest, Rescue, and Retreat of Emin, Governor of Equatoria. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890: Estimate: $4,000+.

Salvador Dali, Illustrator - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 12 Illustrations with Original Woodcuts and an Original Etching by Salvador Dali. New York: Maecenas Press-Random House, 1969: One of 2,500 numbered portfolios printed on Mandeure paper, signed by the artist on the title-page. Estimate: $4,000+.

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are Prints, (N.p., 1971): Complete set of four art prints, each printed in 1971 from the original drawings for this classic and influential picture book, each printed on a single sheet, measuring 15 x 24 inches, and signed by Sendak in the lower left hand corner. Estimate: $3,000+.