Auctions | December 12, 2013

Pre-Pub <i>Wizard of Oz</i> Leads Bonhams Fine Books Sale in NY

NEW YORK—Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts auction on December 11 saw notable prices achieved in a diversity of categories. 

A Book of Cats illustrated by Tsuguharu Foujita in 1930 more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to achieve $68,750. The remarkable book contained 20 full-page etched plates, splendidly showcasing Foujita's application of Japanese ink techniques to Western-style painting.

Saul Steinberg's ink and crayon illustration from 1964, titled Allegory, also exceeded expectations. The satirical scene depicted a serpent on a pedestal gripping a question mark in its mouth, with an eagle clutching an unfurled scroll pierced by a sword, and other quasi-allegorical elements. It reached $25,000 after a lengthy bidding war, more than eight times its pre-sale estimate. 

The sale's top lot was a rare pre-publication copy of The Wizard of Oz, one of only two known copies signed and inscribed by both the author, L Frank Baum, and the illustrator, William Wallace Denslow. The superb first edition copy achieved $87,500. 

Highlights from the sale's Russian literature section included an important collection of manuscripts, as well as an unpublished poem by Anna Andreevna Akhmatova which sold for $37,500, a signed photograph of Ivan Alekseevich Bunin that fetched $31,250, and an autographed manuscript in Russian from Joseph Brodsky that brought $23,750. 

Complete results for Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts auction on December 11 are available at

Bonhams next Fine Books & Manuscripts auction in New York, Treasures from The Caren Archive: How History Unfolds on Paper, will take place in April 2014. 

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