Waverly Rare Books' Dec. 1 Auction Offers A Range of Rarities

215-B.jpgFALLS CHURCH, Va. - More than 400 lots of fine and rare books, antique maps, autographs and historical Americana will be auctioned on Thursday, December 1 at Waverly Rare Books in Falls Church, Virginia. The sale will start at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and Internet live bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.

“This is a wildly diverse auction with a timeline that starts with a three-book volume of 18th-century Piranesi prints and travels through the centuries to contemporary times, with Flash Gordon artwork and presidential autographs,” said Monika Schiavo, director of Waverly Rare Books. “We also have an archive of material pertaining to the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.”

A strong candidate for top lot of the auction is an exceedingly rare volume by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), the Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and his imaginary “prisons.” Published in Rome in 1762 by Gernosi Salomoni, the volume weighs a hefty 16 pounds. Printed on wove paper, with mostly near-fine plates, it is expected to sell for $6,000-$9,000.

Rex Wayne Scouten (1924-2013) served ten US presidents in his positions as White House Chief Usher from 1969-1986 and White House Curator from 1986-1997. His collection includes autographs by such notables as John F. Kennedy (as a Congressman), First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and all US presidents from Truman through Clinton. “This collection comes with impeccable provenance. It couldn’t be better,” Schiavo said. The political section also features cards signed by Cabinet members from the Theodore Roosevelt through Jimmy Carter administrations and Supreme Court Justices from multiple administrations. 

Original Flash Gordon artwork from a 1970s Union Carbide-sponsored series, drawn, colored and signed by the comic illustrator Alphonso “Al” Williamson (1931-2010), has an estimate of $500-$700. The artwork is titled The Hairy Giants of Mongo’s Northland. In this nail-biting adventure, Gordon is “taken slave by the Hairy Giants who inhabit an icy cave city.”  

A three-volume set of books containing ink and watercolor drawings on paper by the renowned mycologist (fungus expert) M. F. Lewis is expected to garner $3,000-$6,000. Hundreds of species of fungi are shown in more than 100 sheets. Most of the species are from Shropshire, Englan, and neighboring counties in Wales. Nearly all species are identified, and many are dated (1860-1902).

The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American fighter and bomber pilots who flew missions in World War II. The auction features a fascinating archive of documents and historic photographs from Charles F. Francis, author of The Tuskegee Airmen, an important chronicle of the groundbreaking aviators and their navigators, mechanics, instructors and other support staff.  

The rare and antique map section features a three-volume atlas that accompanied the official records of the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Compiled by Capt. Calvin D. Cowles of the 23rd U.S. Infantry, the set was published in the 1890s and is lavishly illustrated with maps on plates. The large folio is bound in leather and cloth. The set is expected to reach $4,000-$6,000.

Top lots in the cartography section include Herman Moll’s Carolina Map of the Southeastern U.S. and a 1628 map of Honduras - Atlas Sive Cosmographicae - an early depiction of the area from Virginia to Florida.

First-edition fans will be treated to a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s very first novel, This Side of Paradise (Charles Scribner & Sons, 1920), signed by the author himself. The first edition, ninth-printing copy is in fine condition with its original green cloth cover and bright gilt spine. It is signed on the endpaper, “Most sincerely, F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

The auction also boasts signed material from former NASA astronauts, signed baseball and hockey memorabilia, two guestbooks from the landmark Washington, D.C. restaurant Paul Young’s, original Tarzan illustrations by Dale Hoover and Neil Adams, science fiction books and memorabilia from the Phil Petras collection, scrapbooks, diaries, account books and more.

Previews will be held at Waverly Rare Books’ gallery in northern Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 10-2; Monday, Nov. 28 from 10-6; Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 10-7; Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 10-7; and on auction day, Thursday, Dec. 1 from 10-6.

Waverly Rare Books is a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, please call 703-532-5632, or send an email inquiry to info@quinnsauction.com. View the fully illustrated auction catalog and register to bid absentee or live online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com

Image: Lot 215 Archive of letters, documents, photographs and ephemera pertaining to the Tuskeegee Airmen, from Maryland native Charles E. Francis (1916-1993), who authored the first history of the military aviators in 1955, ‘The Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation.’ Est. $600-$900 

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