November 13, 2012

Pulitzer Prize Winners, Children’s Literature, Sporting Books at Swann Galleries

New York—On Tuesday, November 20 Swann Galleries will conduct an auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature that features first editions—many signed—of Pulitzer Prize winners, fascinating association copies, and fine examples of mystery and detective fiction, children’s literature, science fiction and 19th-century English sporting books.

Among the scarcest items in the sale are a copy of Gertrude Stein’s Portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia, which was privately printed in Florence in 1912, one of 300 unnumbered copies, ex-collection Arthur Dove, the American abstract painter, and containing his signature (estimate: $8,000 to $12,000); a first edition of John Steinbeck’s first book, Cup of Gold, 1929 ($8,000 to $12,000); and a signed limited edition of Jorge Luis Borges’s Siete Poemas Sajones; Seven Saxon Poems, embossed with designs by Arnaldo Pomodoro, signed by the author and artist, 1974 ($7,000 to $10,000).
A publishing oddity is a “dummy” sample copy of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, with title page, copyright page and text through page 16, followed by all blank pages, 1934 ($5,000 to $7,500).

Other crime fiction highlights include an advance proof copy of Paul Cain’s Fast One, his first and only novel, 1933 ($5,000 to $7,500); as well as a small correspondence archive related to Dashiell Hammett, containing one Autograph Letter Signed and three Typed Letters Signed from Hammett to his presumed mistress while he was stationed in Alaska during World War II, 1944-45 ($1,000 to $1,500).

There is a copy of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, with an esteemed provenance. This limited edition signed by Cather was given by notorious oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny to noted New York attorney Frank Hogan, who represented him during the Teapot Dome scandal of 1922-23, and contains a lengthy inscription by Doheny ($1,500 to $2,500).

Other Pulitzer Prize winning selections include first editions of Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918, in the very scarce dust jacket, and Alice Adams, 1921, both signed and inscribed ($3,000 to $4,000 and $1,000 to $1,500 respectively); Upton Sinclair’s Dragon’s Teeth, signed and with a partially erased inscription, 1942 ($1,000 to $1,500); James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, 1947 ($1,000 to $1,500); Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 ($6,000 to $9,000); John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, 1980 ($1,000 to $1,500); and group lots of signed Pulitzer winners from the 1980s to 2010.

Among a large and varied assortment of signed books are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, with “The Author’s Apology” leaf, 1920 ($4,000 to $6,000); a limited edition of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 1928 ($6,000 to $9,000); Sigmund Freud’s Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, inscribed to pioneering English psychiatrist and sex researcher Havelock Ellis, 1930 ($7,000 to $10,000); a limited edition of William Faulkner’s The Hamlet, 1940 ($2,500 to $3,500); Ray Bradbury’s first book, Dark Carnival, 1947 ($1,500 to $2,000); Charles Bukowski’s It Catches My Heart in its Hands, with an original inscribed nine-line poem, 1963 ($1,200 to $1,800); and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, 1963 ($400 to $600).

Other classic children’s books include a first edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s Nye Eventyr [-Anden Samling], containing the first appearance of The Ugly Duckling and The Snow Queen, Copenhagen, 1844-45 ($6,000 to $9,000); and a complete set of A.A. Milne’s quartet of Christopher Robin books ($10,000 to $15,000).

A run of sporting books features Henry Alken’s A Cockney’s Shooting Season, in Suffolk, in the original wrappers, 1822 ($2,500 to $3,500) and The National Sports of Great Britain in fine condition, 1825 ($1,500 to $2,500); in addition to a signed copy of C.F.G.R. Schwerdt’s privately printed Hunting, Hawking, Shooting, 1928-37 ($1,500 to $2,500).

Notable sets are Charles Dickens, Complete Works, Beaux Arts edition, 30 volumes with 30 hand-colored portraits by “Kyd,” circa 1900 ($2,500 to $3,500); Henry David Thoreau’s The Writings . . . Manuscript Edition, 20 volumes, signed by the publisher and with an original manuscript sheet from Thoreau’s journal, 1906 ($6,000 to $9,000); and the Crowborough edition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Works, 24 volumes, signed by Doyle in volume 1, 1930 ($3,000 to $4,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20. The works will be on public exhibition on Friday, November 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, November 17, from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, November 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 20, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue with information on bidding by mail or fax is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to arrange in advance to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact John Larson at (212) 254-4710, extension 61, or via email at

Live online bidding is also available via