March 2018 Archives

145-Hopper copy.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings on March 13 offered an especially grand selection of original works by some of the greatest artists of the last 200 years. Works by Martin Lewis and Diego Rivera achieved new auction records, and many of the top lots were won by collectors.

            Leading the sale was an important early etching by Edward Hopper. House by a River, 1919, was one of the artist’s first forays into the themes of modern isolation that would define his oeuvre. The house depicted still stands in Nyack, NY, just a short walk from the artist’s birthplace. It was purchased by a collector for $100,000.

            Pablo Picasso was well represented in the sale by a fine selection of prints and ceramics. These were led by the masterful lithograph La Colombe, 1949, at $67,500. Another lithograph, Téte de jeune femme, 1947, reached a record $50,000. A partially glazed terre de faïence pitcher titled Flower Women, 1948, was purchased by a collector for $27,000. 

            Setting the sale apart was a selection of original drawings: a charming pencil sketch on blue paper by Claude Monet, at just 16 years old, of a cottage in Gainneville sold to a collector for $30,000. An elegant pencil drawing by Amadeo Modigliani, Femme nue, trois quarts, debout, circa 1915, reached $50,000, while Francis Picabia’s Sans Titre (Transparence), circa 1930s, sold for $40,000, above a high estimate of $15,000. A drawing in crayon by Picasso, Profil d’Homme Vert, 1956, exceeded its high estimate to sell for $17,500.

            Works by Diego Rivera led a robust section of Latin American art, featuring each of his three most important lithographs. The 1932 El sueño (La noche de los pobres) sold for a record $40,000. Zapata, 1932, and Frutos de la Escuela, 1932, also performed well ($32,500 and $27,500, respectively). A charming ink and wash painting of a Niña sentada doubled its high estimate to sell for $30,000 to a collector.

            New York Nocturne, circa 1930, an extremely rare charcoal drawing by Martin Lewis, more than tripled its high estimate to sell for $47,500 to a collector. The iconic drypoint Bedford Street Gang, 1935, sold for $25,000, a record for the work. Swann currently holds the record for any work by the artist.

            The important Benton Spruance lithograph Riders of the Apocalypse, 1943, warning of the destructive tendencies of modern man, was purchased by a collector for $27,500.

            Todd Weyman, Vice President of Swann and Director of Prints & Drawings, said of the sale, “The market for nineteenth- and twentieth-century works continues to expand, as it appeals to both seasoned collectors and those who are newly entering the market. Works by American artists continue to impress, with outstanding results for Hopper, Lewis and Spruance. The growth of the Latin American market has been exceptional, with record-setting prices for Rivera, and promising results for artists new to Swann, like Oscar Niemeyer and Romeo Tabuena.”

            The next auction of Prints & Drawings at Swann Galleries will be Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 8, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Image: Lot 145: Edward Hopper, House by a River, etching, 1919. Sold March 13, 2018 for $100,000.


Amherst, MA — The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to announce the 2018 Carle Honors Honorees, to be awarded at Guastavino's in New York City on Thursday, September 27, 2018. The 13th annual gala and fundraiser will honor those who have played an instrumental role in making picture books a vibrant and influential art and literary form. This year, The Carle will award the following honors:

Artist: Paul O. Zelinsky is master of many styles, bringing exceptional artistry and poignant storytelling to the field. He received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel. Three additional books received Caldecott Honors: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel (1995). Zelinsky is regarded as one of the most critically acclaimed artists in the field of children's literature. 

Angel: The Sendak Fellowship, represented by Lynn Caponera and Dona Ann McAdams

The Sendak Fellowship has made remarkable strides in advancing the next generation of talent within children's literature. The annual fellowship, created by Maurice Sendak in 2010, encourages the creation of work that "excites and incites," while fostering young illustrators and writers, providing them with artist residencies. Previous fellows include Elisha Cooper, Terry and Eric Fan, Yuyi Morales, Sergio Ruzzier, and other talents.  

Bridge: The Bologna Children's Book Fair, represented by Elena Pasoli

The Bologna Children's Book Fair has successfully brought together books and publishers from around the world, creating a global audience and strengthening international bonds across cultures. Organizers showcase the importance of quality children's books as a tool for opening minds and helping children grow as global citizens. As both a cultural book show and international rights business forum, the fair creates a unique locus of discussion for children's books.

Mentor: Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop has influenced generations of students as a children's literature scholar and as author of Shadow and Substance: Afro-American Experience in Contemporary Children's Fiction (1982) and Free Within Ourselves: The Development of African American Children's Literature (2007). She has been a champion of diversity in the field and is credited with the indispensable metaphor of books as both "windows and mirrors."

The Host of the 2018 awards is best-selling author Andrea Davis Pinkney. Her exemplary work has garnered numerous accolades, including multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Jane Addams Children's Literature Honor citations, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor medal, and many more. Pinkney is also a successful children's book publisher and editor with titles by Allen Say, Lois Lowry, Toni Morrison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and more.

The awards are selected each year by a committee chaired by children's literature historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus, who was central to the founding of the Honors. The committee recognizes four distinct awards: Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field; Angel, whose generous resources are crucial to making illustrated children's book art exhibitions, education programs, and related projects a reality; Mentor, editors, designers, and educators who champion the art form; and Bridge, individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields. 

The Carle Honors is a key fundraiser for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, supporting the Museum's mission to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The annual event includes a silent auction featuring works of art donated by the industry's most celebrated artists, including Eric Carle. For ticket and sponsorship information, please contact Rebecca Miller Goggins, Director of Development at 413-559-6308 or Use the 

hashtag #CarleHonors and follow @CarleMuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up to date on new announcements!

voice of truth.jpgPBA Galleries will offer The Voice of Truth by Mormon founder Joseph Smith and two early letters written by civil rights leader Martin Luther King on Thursday, March 22nd. In addition, the Americana, Travel & Exploration, World History and Cartography sale will include over 400 lots of rare and collectible material, with printed books, original letters, diaries and other manuscript items, photographs, ephemera, maps, views and more. There will be key pieces on the history of the United States and the Americas, revealing the political, economic, social and cultural evolution of the New World. Travels to the far reaches of the world are also present; from the frozen lands of Antarctica to the torrid deserts and jungles of Africa. And the accumulation of geographic and cartographic knowledge over the centuries is demonstrated by a selection of maps from the 16th through 20th centuries.

The exceedingly rare The Voice of Truth contains correspondence between Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and General James Arlington Bennett, John C. Calhoun, and Henry Clay as well as an appeal to the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont. In these letters, Smith seeks retribution for the 1838 Missouri Mormon War to no avail. This first edition, printed by John Taylor in Nauvoo, Illinois, also contains Smith’s final sermon, the King Follett discourse from April 7, 1844, less than three months before his death. The discourse is notable in its controversial suggestion that God was once a mortal and that mortals can become gods (Estimate: $30,000-$50,000).

The two early letters from Martin Luther King date from his time at Boston University where he studied in the University’s School of Theology. The first letter, typewritten in Atlanta, asks Dean Charles Alter for his assistance in locating living accommodations near campus. The second letter is a handwritten petition on a Boston University form and requests additional class hours towards his graduate degree which he received in 1955. These are rare and unique glimpses into the education of the great Civil Rights leader (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000).

Highlights from the travel section of the sale include Pen Sketches of Los Angeles, 1896, with sketches and photographs of the growing metropolis, a superb historical record of the economic and industrial history of Los Angeles (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a bound volume of 18th & 19th century engravings of Italy, including the rare "Téâtro prospetico fabriche più considerabili della città di Padova" which features topography, public buildings, streets, squares and other areas of interest of Padua, and, of which, only two copies are recorded (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000); and a superb album of albumen photographs of Egypt, with Cairo street scenes, pyramids, temples & the sphinx, Aswan & the Nile, plus some of Greek ruins many of which are captioned by hand (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

The world map, Typus Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius, was the first world map included in his famed atlas, beginning in 1570 and continuing through sixteen editions. It a simplified one-sheet reduction of the large world map by Gerard Mercator which appeared the year before (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000). Also featured in the sale is Sebastien Münster’s influential woodcut map of the Americas, 1545, which was crucial in establishing the name “America” to the newly discovered continents (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000) and the rare two-volume Philadelphia edition of Alexander Mackenzie’s Voyages from Montreal… to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans, with three important maps (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, March 19th, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20th and 21st, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, March 22nd, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or

Amherst, MA -- In 1970, Eric Carle published The Tiny Seed, which chronicles the life cycle of a plant across the four seasons. It was the first of many stories he would illustrate about the wonders of nature at all times of year. The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons celebrates five decades of Carle's seasonal imagery, from hibernating bears in winter and hatching chicks in spring to colorful flowers in summer and apple trees ripe for picking in fall. The exhibition, on view April 3 through August 26, 2018, features Carle's iconic collage art from 15 picture books as well as several never-before seen watercolors. It also includes a special display, Eric Loves Bobbie, of personal artwork Carle dedicated to his late wife throughout their 42-year marriage. 

The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons features original art from Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?, Draw Me a Star, Little Cloud, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, Animals, Animals, and I See a Song, among other titles. Carle's work for other authors, such as Norma B. Green's The Hole in the Dyke, Arnold Sundgaard's The Lamb and the Butterfly, and Alice McLerran's The Mountain that Loved a Bird are also on display. Linoleum prints, which Carle created in 1965 for the cookbook Red-Flannel Hash and Shoo-Fly Pie, are showcased. Also included are several never-before-seen watercolors and unpublished drawings and collages, all providing glimpses into Carle's working method and personal interests.  

There are several activities for guests to enjoy in the gallery. A custom-designed "book garden"--which grows both felted vegetables and real books!--encourages visitors to harvest a story. There are flip-and-find character surprises among the exhibition graphics (including the Very Hungry Caterpillar!). In keeping with the theme of seasons, guests can manipulate felted tree forms to mirror the season they love most. 

Love is a central theme in the mini-exhibition Eric Loves Bobbie. Carle often presented Bobbie with gifts of art to celebrate their anniversary or to mark other special occasions. He shares some of these pieces, including a Christmas portrait of their dog Tock and a sweet Valentine of a cat licking its paw. 

Chief curator Ellen Keiter says the idea for The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons developed while planning for Bobbie's Meadow, a two-year project that will debut in June and honor the Museum's late co-founder. The new outdoor space, in which visitors can experience every season of the year, inspired Keiter to think about the cycles of nature, growth, and renewal--all themes present in the exhibition. "Once I landed on the subject, it was fun to research Eric's artwork of the various animals, plants, and activities associated with the different seasons," says Keiter. "I was particularly excited to discover early floral watercolor paintings and a garden plan Eric sketched for his former home in nearby Hawley." Keiter adds, "I'm eagerly anticipating springtime and the exciting new exhibitions and programs it will bring."

Bobbie's Meadow: A Celebration and Dedication

June 23, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Join Eric Carle and Museum staff for a ribbon-cutting and grand opening of Bobbie's Meadow, a new outdoor space in the Museum's orchard. Visit for more information. 

K95A9934+copy.jpgMinnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is pleased to announce the next participant in our Artist-in-Residence program:  Kelly Taylor Mitchell.

Project summary and artist bio:

Kelly Taylor Mitchell will research Minnesota’s “Pilgrims,” a group of formerly enslaved Civil War soldiers and their families who fled the south for Minnesota. Mitchell will create a limited varied edition suite of three artist books as well as an in-response open edition of zines and poetry chapbooks which will work to historicize the present by sharing oral histories and decentering narratives of colonization. Mitchell's project will explore how the stories of the Minnesota “Pilgrims” contextualize place-making in Minnesota for new and diverse populations, and inform a collective history of community building, confronting obstacles, and reciprocity in the state. 

Kelly Taylor Mitchell is an installation, book, and print artist currently based in Rhode Island. Mitchell's work recontextualizes oral histories in order to navigate the intertwined decolonial landscape of "Black" trauma and "Black" joy. Concepts of land tenure, territorial claims, community autonomy, inherited identity, and maronage act as an anchor in a cobbling of identity. Mitchell holds a BFA in printmaking from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and in May will receive an MFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

The Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program is designed to support selected artists by providing financial and community resources, space, and equipment to assist in the creation and promotion of their work. Residencies may be from two weeks to three months in duration. Studios and equipment are available to facilitate work in papermaking, printing and bookbinding. Artists-in-Residence also receive a stipend of $2000 to be used at the artist’s discretion for supplies, travel and/or living expenses. Participation in the program is based on the artistic merit of proposed projects as well as the degree to which artists further MCBA's artistic mission: to lead the advancement of the book as an evolving art form.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through all-ages educational and artistic programming. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit

Image creditOf John: A Story in 13 Pockets by Kelly Taylor Mitchell.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 12.56.08 PM.pngLondon-Christie’s will present Einstein and Family: Letters and Portraits, an online sale open for bidding from 2 to 9 May 2018.

Albert Einstein’s younger sister, Maja Winteler-Einstein (1881-1951), is our main witness to Einstein’s childhood and youth. His confidante in adulthood, she fled Europe in 1939 to join her brother in Princeton, and lived out her last years with him after a stroke prevented her return. Drawn from Maja’s archive, and that of her husband, Paul Winteler, the letters,  postcards and photographs in this sale, many unpublished, shed new light on the extraordinary life and complex character of the 20th century’s most famous scientist. 

The collection includes a remarkable group of documents from Einstein’s early years, including a previously unseen photograph of the future scientist as a five-year-old (illustrated right, estimate: £4,000-6,000) and the only surviving letter from Einstein to his father (estimate: £2,500-3,500).

Further insights into Einstein’s life reveal the difficult relations with his first wife, his delight in the natural wonders of America and delves into his hobbies of sailing, playing the violin and reading his favourite books. 

The sale will also present a letter written to Maja by Einstein and his second wife, Elsa, immediately after they learned of the Nazi confiscation of their property in Germany (estimate: £1,200-1,800). Further documents within the sale showcase Einstein’s confidence in the value of science in an uncertain time of Nazi oppression, including a letter stating ‘The only unshakeable things are the stars and mathematics’ (estimate: £4,000-6,000).

The letters and photographs will be on view to the public at Christie’s London from 18 to 20 April, before the online sale opens for bidding from 2 to 9 May 2018. Estimates range from £500 to £15,000.

Image: Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Portrait photograph, Munich, [c.1884], by Joseph Albert (1825-1886). Estimate: £4,000-6,000.

230-Sidney-lg copy.jpgNew York—On March 8, Swann Galleries held an auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books, coinciding with the opening of Rare Book Week in New York City. With 94% of offered lots sold, the sale exceeded its high estimate by more than $200,000, indicating a healthy market for early printed material.

            The paramount performance of the auction was due in large part to an Elizabethan literary critique with a complicated publication history: Sir Philip Sidney’s influential treatise The Defence of Poesie first appeared in 1595 in two editions set from different manuscripts. Two parties fought for the right to publish it: William Ponsonby was granted the publication rights first, but Henry Olney managed to publish an unauthorized first edition as An Apologie for Poetrie. Ponsonby published the authorized edition as The Defence of Poesie. In the same year, he also took over unsold copies of Olney's version and replaced the title page with his own. Offered in the sale was one of the extremely rare crossovers of the Olney copy with the title page replaced, making it a remainder issue of the unauthorized first edition. Very few copies of this hybrid edition are known to be in institutional collections. Widespread interest drove the bidding past the conservative pre-sale high estimate of $9,000. It ultimately sold to an institution for $149,000, a record for the work.

            Early Spanish books pervaded each category of the auction. Among these, the earliest surviving manual of chess, Luis de Lucena’s Arte de Ajedres, circa 1496-97, which introduced a new mode of play still in use today, quadrupled its high estimate of $15,000 to sell to a collector for $68,750, a record for the work.

            A remarkable selection of medieval guides to astronomy performed well overall. Highlights included Julián Gutiérrez’s De computatione dierum criticarum, 1495, which provides insights into the most astrologically auspicious days affecting the progression of an illness. A copy of the only edition was purchased by an institution for $30,000. The first illustrated edition of Poeticon Astronomicon, 1482, by Caius Julius Hyginus, contains the earliest printed depictions of the constellations, and sold for $17,500.

            Manuscripts were led by Pedro de Gracia Dei’s Blasón General y Nobleza del Universo, a circa 1500 copy of a substantial portion of his 1489 Coria original edition of the same name. The Spanish book, containing 41 drawings in color based on the printed version, tripled its estimate to sell for $23,750. An early sixteenth-century Flemish illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, with six full-page borders filled with flowers, birds, animals and insects in colors on a gold leaf background, reached $15,000.

            The next auction of Books at Swann Galleries will be Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics on April 26, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Image: Lot 230: Sir Philip Sidney, The Defence of Poesie, unauthorized first edition, London, 1595. Sold March 8, 2018 for $149,000, a record for the work.

gmhgbmgoofcoogjk.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Printed & Manuscript African Americana on Thursday, March 29 sheds light on some of the darker moments in American history and provides crucial context for cultural sea changes, from abolition to the Civil Rights Movement.

Setting the auction apart is a selection of documents concerning named individuals who are too often lost to history. First-person accounts of enslaved people rarely appear on the market because literacy was uncommon in the community. An archive of 1842-45 letters revealing multiple perspectives regarding a single incident includes a letter by Gabriel Johnson, a man enslaved at Mount Vernon, declaring that he would not be whipped by anyone but his own master. It is addressed to John Augustine Washington and is believed to be the only extant letter written from the infamous Bruin’s Slave Jail in Alexandria, VA, and was dictated to Henry P. Hill ($12,000 to $18,000). An 1854 letter by Moses Walker to his mother, enslaved on another plantation, describes his living conditions and the recent birth—and death—of his child; it carries an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.Also available is an archive of letters, 1791-1800, by members of the Washington Abolition Society concerning the kidnapping of a freed man named John Davis, who was forcibly brought from his adopted home in Pennsylvania to a plantation in Virginia. The case led to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 ($10,000 to $15,000). The first letter by David Ruggles to come to auction urges the establishment of a Committee of Vigilance in Syracuse, NY to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad. The organization would contribute to central New York’s role as a major hub on the path to freedom. The 1838 manuscript letter carries an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.

200 years after his birth, a rich selection of material relating to Frederick Douglass is a testament to his legacy. Six letters by the abolitionist to his friend Ebenezer Bassett during his 1890-91 tenure as consul-general to Haiti, concerning race relations and his fatigue, among other things, are together expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000. Another highlight is a signed cabinet card featuring the photograph used as the frontispiece of his third autobiography, circa 1879 ($10,000 to $15,000). The only known complete copy of the Farewell Song of Frederick Douglass, on Quitting England for America, 1847, by Julia and T. Powis Griffiths, makes its first appearance at auction, with an estimate of $5,000 to $7,500. Also available is an 1848 issue of The North Star ($8,000 to $12,000) and various letters.

Unusual offerings include a pair of patriotic slippers said to be made by legendary seamstress Elizabeth Keckley in 1865 for cabinet member Gideon Welles, carrying an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

An autograph letter signed by Malcolm X in 1950 bears one of the earliest examples of his usage of that moniker. Written to Elijah Mohammed of the Nation of Island, the missive reveals his early enthusiasm and curiosity for Islam ($20,000 to $30,000).

Material from the Civil Rights Movement includes a previously unknown poster for an appearance by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Paris while on a fundraising tour for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1966, estimated at $2,500 to $3,500. As the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968 approaches, two Memphis Sanitation Worker’s strike placards reading Honor King: End Racism! remain relevant.

A possibly unique album of aerial photographs of the historic march on Montgomery, taken by the Imagery Interpretation Section of the 11th Air Assault Division, the army unit tasked with protecting the marchers, shows final preparations in place the day before the march in addition to images of the marchers ($3,000 to $4,000).

New findings clarify information behind iconic portraits of Black Panther co-founder Huey P. Newton. A poster of the famous image of Newton in a wicker peacock chair is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000—the first signed and inscribed copy ever to come to auction. The date commonly given to the piece, captioned The Racist Dog Policemen Must Withdraw Immediately from our Communities, is 1967 or ‘68; however, another photograph ($500 to $750) of Newton taken in 1967 shows the image behind him, pushing the date of the better-known poster back to 1966-67.

The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 112: The Racist Dog Policemen Must Withdraw Immediately from our Communities, poster of Huey Newton, signed and inscribed, circa 1967. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

March17_01_pics.jpgIthaca, NY—National Book Auctions, located in Ithaca, NY, announces the launch of their next auction catalog.    

This catalog features rare, antique and decorative books as well as select additions of ephemera. Featured is a private collection of rare books by celebrated illustrator, J. J. Lankes, along with original engravings and artwork by Lankes. A varied array of first editions will be offered, along with a sizeable collection of original, vintage technical titles published by NASA.                

Antique and rare books are numerous in this catalog. Among the earliest examples are the 1556 printing of Castigione's "Il Libro del Cortegiano," bound in vellum and featuring woodcut initials, Nifo's 1560 treatise on etiquette, "Il Cortigiano del Sessa," and Tacitus' "Annalium et Historiarum," produced in 1576. Additional rare and antique selections relate to travel & exploration, books-on-books, Civil War, theology, polar exploration, children's, decorative antique sets, Easton Press & Derrydale Press bindings, art history and beyond.                        

Several interesting collections will also be showcased. Highlighted is a fine and diverse selection of first editions by authors such as Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Vita Sackville-West, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Heinlein, Virginia Woolf, Philip Roth and others. Decorative antique sets present the works of notables including Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin, Sir Walter Scott, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allen Poe. Other collections in include NASA publishings relating to extra-terrestrial life, rocket technology, the Mercury and Apollo programs and more, and a nautical history and reference private library.        

Found throughout this catalog are interesting ephemera offerings and many group lots of desirable titles. Featured among the ephemera lots are original engravings and plates by illustrator, J. J. Lankes. Other ephemera lots include early manuscript leaves, a robust antique scrapbook from Goucher College in Baltimore, original 1970's Star Wars trading cards, and more.    

National Book Auctions is a public auction service specializing in books, ephemera, and art. National Book Auctions is a targeted service offering experience and expertise unique to marketing antique and modern books and ephemera for consignors and collectors alike. The upcoming auctions will feature a wide assortment of collectible, signed, and first edition books. For more information, please contact the gallery at 607-269-0101 or email

Seacrest GG copy.jpgDallas, TX - A private collection of rare, first editions offered in Heritage Auctions’ March 7 Rare Books Auction in New York pushed the sale total to more than $2.1 million, nearly doubling the sale’s estimate. The James C. Seacrest Collection, assembled over decades by a Nebraska publisher and philanthropist, sold for a combined $918,196 and claimed nine of the auction’s 10 most expensive lots.

The Seacrest Collection’s Signed and Inscribed Copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby sold for $162,500 - a house record for a 1925 first edition. A signed and dated First Edition, Second Issue, of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens, ended at $45,000 and a 1685 compilation of Mr. William Shakespear's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies also brought $45,000. All proceeds from the Seacrest Collection will be donated to charity, according to a family representative.

“We attracted many new clients in the market for top-quality first editions - particularly those signed or inscribed by literature’s most respected authors,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. “The auction price for the inscribed copy of The Great Gatsby now ranks among the highest ever paid for an inscribed first edition.” 

The auction’s biggest sleeper was Seacrest’s copy of Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 First Edition of Lolita, which soared to $32,500 - more than eight times its pre-auction estimate. A scarce, Presentation Copy of The Catcher in the Rye, featuring a rare inscription by reclusive author J. D. Salinger, sold for $27,500.

An extensive offering of signed modern editions included Gone with the Wind, signed by author Margaret Mitchell, which ended at $21,250 and an 1874 first edition of Friedrich Nietzsche's [Untimely Meditations, Part II], which sold for $22,500. A rather extraordinary two-volume first edition of Count Lyof N. Tolstoi’s War and Peace, inscribed by the author and auctioned along with two autographed letters signed by Tolstoy's secretary, one of which states he was successful in getting an inscription from Tolstoy in English, sold for $22,500.

Additional highlights include: 

·         An inscribed, 1939 first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Bill Wilson, sold for $30,000

·         A first edition of Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming, sold for $23,750

·         An 1845 first edition first printing copy of Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, considered by critics as the first important book of detective fiction, sold for $21,250

·         Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, an 1891 first edition signed by the author, sold for $20,000

Sir David Attenborough, the much-loved and admired veteran naturalist and television presenter, is an avid collector of rare books and will be opening the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) flagship 61st Fair, which takes place this May in Battersea. For the last 20 years the Fair, which is one of the largest and most prestigious rare book fairs in the world, has taken place at Olympia but this summer it is moving to its new home - the attractive Battersea Evolution venue in Battersea Park. 

As Sir David Attenborough says “You could say that, after so many years at Olympia, the Fair has indeed evolved. Most living organisms do.” 

Sir David Attenborough will open the Fair at 12pm on Thursday 24th May 

The 160 plus British and international exhibitors will be showcasing a wide range of rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, ephemera and original artwork which will include Medieval museum quality manuscripts to modern day first editions such as Harry Potter. Prices will range from tens of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds, and the ABA are sure there will be something which will appeal to everyone from serious collectors to those who are new to book collecting. 

Visitors of all ages, who wish to buy and sell books, are expected to come from all over the British Isles, Europe and the world to visit the three-day long Fair for which admission is free of charge.

Exhibition Highlights 

Some of the exhibition highlights include an original, signed and inscribed illustration by EH Shepard which was first used for AA Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner, a first edition of The Federalist essays by Alexander Hamilton, a collection of theatre designs by Eugene Berman for Don Giovanni performed by the Metropolitan Opera and an inscribed copy of Grace and Favour by Loelia Duchess of Westminster with forward by Noel Coward. 

Sir David Attenborough 

Sir David is an Honorary member of the ABA and as he says in the introduction of this year’s Fair catalogue: 

“For me, a book brings more than the cumulative meaning of its sentences. It can seduce me by the feel of its paper and the smell of its binding. I delight in recognising whether or not the copy I hold was the work’s first appearance and treasure the misprints or bound-in advertisements that tell me whether or not that was so. And I rejoice if I can discover who once owned it and whose eyes once scanned the printed lines just as mine do.” 

Fair Sponsorship - NEW Vintage Corner 

For the second year running AbeBooks will be sponsoring the Fair as well as Vintage Corner which is new for the 2018 Fair. In Vintage Corner visitors can find out what makes a book rare, listen to talks on all aspects of book-collecting, be signposted around the Fair to the subjects of their choice and meet for Guided Tours of the Fair. 

Live Book Craft Demonstrations 

Visitors will also be able to take part in a series of hands-on workshops in fine printing, book binding and calligraphy run by craftspeople, some of which will be suitable for children. 


The Fair is being held at Battersea Evolution, Chelsea Bridge Gate, Battersea Park, London SW11 which is just over Chelsea Bridge in Battersea. 

There will be frequent shuttle buses from Sloane Square tube station and Pay & Display parking in and around Battersea Park. 

Opening Hours 

The Fair will be open on Thursday 24th May from 12pm - 8pm; on Friday 25th May from 10am-7pm; on Saturday 26th May from 10am - 5pm. 


Wenner scroll (cropped) copy.jpgThe Manuscripts Meet the World: Handwriting from Around the World is the culmination of a months-long partnership between Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML). This exhibition—which complements HMML’s ongoing lecture series at MCBA exploring the history of the book—showcases manuscript samples from HMML’s extensive collections. The manuscripts in the exhibition hail from around the globe and throughout history, but their purpose is the same: to highlight the universality of handwriting as an inextricable part of human life and creativity. The manuscripts on display will include codices, scrolls, and other book styles from European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and African cultures.

The exhibition runs from March 22 to July 8 in Open Book’s Cowles Literary Commons located at MCBA. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Open Book’s regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

Founded in 1965 as the Monastic Microfilm Library, HMML initially focused on preserving works from Benedictine monastic libraries in Austria in reaction to Cold War-era tensions. After decades of successful work throughout Europe, it eventually broadened its cultural focus. Because of HMML’s early preservation work with Christian manuscripts, scholars around the world have access to manuscripts that document Western Europe’s history and culture from the early modern period. In 2003, HMML broadened its focus and began digitizing Islamic manuscript collections and secular documents with themes ranging from science and medicine to music. The Manuscripts Meet the World exemplifies this inclusivity and recognizes HMML and MCBA’s shared appreciation of the written word.

Located at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, HMML is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, digitally photograph, catalog and archive endangered manuscripts belonging to threatened communities around the world. Having formed partnerships with over 540 libraries and archives, HMML has photographically preserved over 250,000 manuscripts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India.

HMML is currently preserving manuscript collections in many global sites, including Croatia, India, Lebanon, Iraq, Jerusalem, Egypt, Mali, Malta, Montenegro, Ukraine and Yemen. These resources are available online through the vHMML, (Virtual HMML), HMML’s online resource for manuscript research.  

HMML is also the home of The Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned in 1998. Other rare manuscripts and books in HMML’s collections include early prints of the Bible and Qur’an, liturgical texts, book art, and medieval manuscript fragments. Local, national, and international news outlets including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, CBS’ 60 Minutes, and BBC World News Service have recognized HMML’s work to preserve and make accessible the world’s manuscript collections.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit

RR Marx.jpgAn extremely rare letter written by Karl Marx sold for $53,509 according to Boston-based RR Auction. 

The one-page letter written by Marx from 41 Maitland Park Road in London, dated October 1, 1879, to Collet Dobson Collet. In full: “On my return from the seaside I found your letter d’d 23 September. You will much oblige me by being so kind as to forward me some of the copies of the ‘Revelations,’ as I have none left.” 

The sheet is bright, the writing dark, precise, and easily legible in spite of Marx’s distinctive tiny hand, according to the auction house. 

Marx was a close friend of the Collet family, which included pioneering feminist activist Sophia Dobson Collet, social reformer Clara Collet, and the recipient of this letter, Collet Dobson Collet, the editor of The Free Press: A Diplomatic Review, to which Marx contributed a number of articles. 

The men became good friends and soon held weekly meetings at each other's houses to recite Shakespeare. 

The assembled group, which was formally coined as the Dogberry Club, included Marx's daughter Eleanor and Collet's daughter Clara, as well as Edward Rose, Dollie Radford, Sir Henry Juta, and Frederic Engels. 

The publication to which Marx evidently alludes, ‘Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century,’ was originally serialized in the Free Press from August 1856 to April 1857.

"Marx letters are extraordinarily rare and virtually nonexistent outside of institutions—in almost forty years of business, this is the only one we have ever encountered." said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. 

Highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

Mahatma Gandhi signed photograph sold for $41,806.

Leo Tolstoy letter written in 1903 offering editorial advice sold for $21,450.

Claud Monet letter describing the intensity of his artistic process sold for $21,128.

John F. Kennedy signed copy of As We Remember Joe, privately printed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1945 sold for $15,926.

Wolfgang Pauli letter written in 1949 to an eminent American physicist sold for $14,700.

Jean-Paul Sartre portion of a handwritten draft for his autobiographical work Les Motes sold $12,105.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on February 17 and concluded on March 7. More details can be found online at

AA mss.jpgLos Angeles—Profiles in History is proud to announce its historic auction will commence. The original typed working manuscript for The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is back on the auction block. It will be going under the hammer on May 5th in Los Angeles.

A lawsuit commenced by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S.) prevented the sale from taking place last year. That lawsuit is now concluded and as part of a settlement a Stipulated Order was entered by the Court which states as follows:

A.A.W.S. irrevocably waives and surrenders any and all rights or claims it has or may have to possession, ownership of, or title to the 1939 "Printer's Copy" also known as the "original working draft" manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous  (the "Manuscript"), based upon a certain 1979 letter from Barry Leach or otherwise and that Roberts has the right to transfer, auction, or otherwise sell the Manuscript at his sole discretion without being subject to any claim or encumbrance by A.A.W.S.

The 161 typed pages are filled with hand written edits by the founders, some by William Griffith Wilson, aka, Bill W. It belonged to Lois Wilson, Bill's widow. It is one of the best selling books of all time, over 30 million copies have been sold since 1939. It has been translated into 43 languages. The Library of Congress ranks it the number one non-fiction book that shaped America.

In “The Book That Started It All,” a facsimile edition of this manuscript published by Hazelden, an essay succinctly states the extraordinary importance of the present manuscript: “Amid the wealth of literature on Alcoholics Anonymous, you have in your hands the greatest treasure of all, the beginning of it all, the charter of the Fellowship.”

Best-selling AA historian and author, Dr. Ernest Kurtz, said, “Not only is this Manuscript the most important nonfiction manuscript in all history, I consider it right up there with the Magna Carta because of the personal freedom it has provided so many millions of alcoholics!”

It is estimated to sell for $2,000,000 - $3,000,000.


197-Mucha copy 1.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Vintage Posters Featuring Highlights from the Gail Chisholm Collection on March 1 offered premier examples of advertising and propaganda from around the world, and broke several auction records. Nicholas D. Lowry, President of Swann and Director of Vintage Posters, announced, “This was our best winter poster auction since 2013, and our third-best winter poster auction of all time.”

A quarter of the auction was devoted to highlights from the collection of Gail Chisholm, renowned dealer and lifelong poster aficionado. Included in the collection was the largest selection of Erik Nitsche’s designers for General Dynamics ever to come to auction. All of the 19 works found buyers, with two achieving new auction records: the French version of Hydrodynamics from the influential Atoms for Peace series 1955, sold for a record $5,500, while General Dynamics / Atoms for Peace, from the same series, was purchased by an institution for $5,250. According to Lowry, “The strength of the Gail Chisholm Collection, which achieved a staggering 87% sell-through rate, seemed to set the tone for the rest of the auction.” In accordance with her wishes, proceeds from the sale of Chisholm’s collection will benefit Planned Parenthood of New York City.

Swann’s winter auctions of Vintage Posters have become the premier destination for scarce and valuable ski resort advertisements. The March 1 sale was no exception, offering a run of historic images, some of which were previously unknown to scholarship. Leading the selection was Alex Diggelmann’s azure Gstaad / Berner Oberland, 1937, at $8,750. Additional Alpine highlights included The Golden Pass Route / Switzerland, 1934, by Edouard Elzingre, which sold for more than twice its high estimate for $7,813, and the English version of Erich Hermès’s Winter in Switzerland, 1936 ($6,250). A previously unrecorded advertisement for Sun Valley, Idaho, circa 1936, showing the world’s first chairlift just after the resort’s opening, sold for $3,750. Lowry said, “We sold 84% of the ski posters we offered—a ‘peak’ that reflects the current buoyancy of the market.”

Paragons of Art Nouveau performed well, with Alphonse Mucha’s suite of four decorative panels of allegories of The Seasons, 1896, leading the sale at $45,000. Another highlight by the master was The Times of the Day / Réverie du Soir, 1899, which reached $10,000. 

Records were achieved by unusual examples of Judaica from both World Wars. The rare Canadian poster The Jews the World Over Love Liberty / Have Fought For It & Will Fight For It, circa 1917, was purchased by an institution for $9,375. An Israeli advertisement for the Auxiliary Territorial Service by the Shamir Brothers, You Can Shorten the Road to Victory, Join the A.T.S., 1943, was also purchased by an institution for the same price.

The next auction of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries will be Graphic Design on May 3, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Image: Lot 197: Alphonse Mucha, The Seasons, four decorative panels, 1896. Sold March 1, 2018 for $45,000.

Batman copy.jpgLynbrook, NY - A copy of Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), bought by the consignor at a tag sale for $20, gaveled for $53,675 at a two-day auction held February 14th and 15th by Weiss Auctions, online and in the firm’s Lynbrook gallery, at 74 Merrick Road. The vintage comic book, graded VG/VG-, was an early Batman cover that had the first appearance of Doctor Death.

“It’s a great comic book and scarce at any grade,” said Philip Weiss of the auction’s top lot. “It wasn’t in perfect condition by any means but is still an important addition to any collection. The fact that it was picked up at a tag sale for twenty dollars only added to its cachet. Bidders were not deterred by some loss to the edge to the cover, tanning to the pages and a loose centerfold.”

Bringing nearly as much was a copy of DC Comics Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), the origin and first appearance of Barry Allen as The Flash. Boasting cover art by legendary illustrators Carmine Infantino (Am., 1925-2013) and Joe Kubert (Polish-Am., 1926-2012), the comic was graded CGC FN+ 6.5, in overall fine condition but with some off-white pages. It commanded $50,850.

The first day of the auction contained nearly 500 lots of sports memorabilia, comics, comic art, animation and more. Day 2 was an estate sale, with close to 500 lots of oil paintings, jewelry, bronzes, porcelain, silver, lighting and more. The top lot from that session was a Tiffany Studios Acorn-style table lamp, 20 inches tall, with a Tiffany-signed base and shade. It sold for $8,750.

About 150 people attended the event in person over the course of the two days, while another 800-1,000 people registered to bid online, via and Thousands of absentee (or left) bids were submitted, and the phones were ringing constantly on auction day. By the time it was over and the last gavel fell on Day 2, the auction had grossed about $750,000.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

A nearly complete set (30 of 31 cards) of the U.S. Caramel Presidents cards from 1932, missing Benjamin Harrison but including the rare William McKinley card, changed hands for $23,100. Also, a large photograph of Babe Ruth, 16 ½ inches by 20 inches, showing the Yankee great in a classic home run swing, signed, inscribed and dated (2.29.48) by the Bambino (“To the Golden Strand, Sincerely, Babe Ruth”), made $18,080. The Golden Strand was a resort hotel in Florida.

An oil on canvas painting by Theodore Robinson (Am., 1852-1896), titled On the Seine, artist signed lower left and measuring 22 inches by 15 inches, realized $7,250. The painting, #192 in Robinson’s catalog, was originally offered at auction in 1924 by Keeler Art Galleries. Robinson was close friends with Claude Monet and is best remembered for his impressionist landscapes.

Returning to the comics, original cover art for DC Comics Showcase #102 (July 1978), featuring Hawkman, 12 inches by 17 inches, pulled directly from the estate of its illustrator Joe Kubert and signed by him, went for $14,250. Also, a copy of Marvel’s Incredible Hulk #1, cover art by Jack Kirby, graded CGC 1.5 and featuring the origin and first appearance of The Incredible Hulk, sold for $6,900. The comic was also the first appearance of Rick Jones, Betty Ross and General Ross. 

Weiss Auctions has an auction titled Trains, Trains and More Trains planned for Wednesday, March 21st, in the Lynwood gallery, starting at 10 am Eastern time. Offered will be early Lionel O gauge; Ives and American Flyer O gauge; Lionel post-war boxed sets; and European O and 1 gauge by Marklin, Bing, Carette, KBN and Hornby with live steam, electric and clockwork units. 

Also sold will be Marklin HO trains from the 1960s thru the digital age, many LN with boxes; examples of S Gauge, G Gauge and American HO; articulated steam locos, large diesels and diesel sets; and passenger and freight trains by Lionel, MTH, Weaver & Williams. Add to that tons of accessories, stations and signals, and the sale is a must-attend for toy train enthusiasts.

The next day - Thursday, March 22nd, also in Lynbrook at 10 am - Weiss Auctions will conduct a sale loaded with over 500 lots of toys in all categories, to include toy soldiers with Britains, Mignot, modern soldiers, and more; and diecasts, including Matchbox, Tootsietoy and Dinky.

Also featured will be a collection of mint-on-card Star Wars figures; a collection of Steiff animals, tin litho toys, airplane toys from the Sy Merrall Collection; pressed steel, with boxed Tonka, Structo, Buddy L and Smith Miller; and dolls of all kinds, including Barbie and bisque.

Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign an item, estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731; or, you can send an e-mail to Philip Weiss at For more information about Weiss Auctions and the auctions slated for March 21st and 22nd visit Updates are posted often.

Image: Copy of Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), graded VG/VG-, an early Batman cover and featuring the first appearance of Doctor Death ($53,675).

Open-Album-Tubman-Portrait copy.jpgThe Library of Congress has conserved and digitized an album containing 48 rare photographs dating to the 1860s - including a previously unrecorded portrait of Harriet Tubman and images of other abolitionists - and the album will be exhibited for the first time at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture later this year. Each image was cleaned, digitally scanned and returned to the album.

The full collection is now available online at this link.

The two national cultural institutions jointly acquired the historical album at auction in 2017 by pooling funds to ensure this remarkable gathering of American portraits would be accessible to the public in perpetuity. The images included the previously unknown portrait of Tubman at the back of the album, as well as the only known photograph of John Willis Menard, the first African-American man elected to the U.S. Congress.

Since the acquisition, Library conservators have carefully reattached the cover, treated the leather album and cleaned the photographs to ensure long-term preservation. Digitization experts from both institutions consulted on the best scanning specifications to apply. Two catalogers have studied the individuals portrayed and found full names for all but three of the people. They invite the public to help identify the remaining individuals.

The portraits displayed together in the album can tell many stories. Education is a strong theme as well as abolition. At least 10 individuals portrayed were teachers, including African-American women. They were identified through genealogy records and Freedmen’s School reports published in Quaker journals. Two of the teachers, Nancy Johnson and her sister, Mary Ann Donaldson, were part of the American Missionary Association’s effort to educate African Americans at Port Royal, South Carolina, during the early 1860s.

 “Now people in our nation’s capital and around the world can see these important figures from American history and learn more about their lives,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are proud this historic collaboration with the Smithsonian has made these pictures of history available to the public online.”

The public will have a chance to view the rare album for the first time in person at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in a special exhibit later this year. The digital images also will be presented through the museum’s website.

“This photo album allows us to see Harriet Tubman in a riveting, new way; other iconic portraits present her as either stern or frail. This new photograph shows her relaxed and very stylish. Sitting with her arm casually draped across the back of a parlor chair, she’s wearing an elegant bodice and a full skirt with a fitted waist. Her posture and facial expression remind us that historical figures are far more complex than most people realize. This adds significantly to what we know about this fierce abolitionist. And that’s a good thing,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The album was originally compiled as a gift for Emily Howland (1827-1929), a Quaker schoolteacher and abolitionist who lived in Sherwood, New York, and taught at Camp Todd, a Freedmen’s camp in Arlington, Virginia, during the Civil War and then founded her own school after the Civil War. Howland continued adding photographs later.

Tubman escaped slavery in 1849 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and took great risk to help relatives and others escape bondage as a famous conductor of the Underground Railroad.  Abolitionists and prominent figures portrayed in the album include: Charles Sumner, Lydia Maria Child, William Henry Channing, Colonel C.W. Folsom, Wendell Phillips and Charles Dickens.

The album was jointly acquired with funds from the Library of Congress James Madison Council and funds from the Smithsonian.

Image: Representatives from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress inspect the photo album of Emily Howland, containing rare portraits of Harriet Tubman and John Willis Menard, April 10, 2017. (Shawn Miller/Library of Congress)


CROMWELL (OLIVER) Autograph letter signed copy.jpgThe celebrated letter written 375 years ago by Oliver Cromwell in July 1643, after his first victorious encounter during the English Civil War at the Battle of Gainsborough, is to be offered for sale at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on Wednesday 21 March. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

Cromwell was a lively correspondent providing vivid, free-flowing pen sketches of the fighting.  From circumstantial evidence, the letter is presumed to have been written to his fellow MP, Sir John Wray and here Cromwell describes for him the moment he first encountered the enemy,” The great body of the enimie advanced, they were within Muskett Shott of us when wee came to the pitch of the Hill, wee advanced likewise towards them and both charged each upon other.” [The great body of the enemy advanced, they were within Musket Shot of us when we came to the pitch of the hill, we advanced likewise towards them and both charged upon each other]. 

After his comprehensive victory in this first skirmish, he tells Wray, “All their force beinge goun, not one man standinge, but all beaten out of the field, we drew up our body together, and kept the field” [All their force being gone, not one man standing, but all beaten out of field, we drew up our body together and kept the field.”]

Elsewhere, Cromwell shows the qualities of leadership and vision for which he became renowned, exhorting Wray to see this success as a sign of God’s favour, to raise a troop of his own and strike while the iron is hot -  “A reasonable strength now raised speedilie, may doe that which much more will not doe after some time.” [A reasonable strength now raised speedily, may do that which much more will not do after some time.]

Bonhams Senior Books and Manuscripts valuer, Simon Roberts said, “This has long been recognised as an important letter, detailing Cromwell’s coming of age as a commander in battle. The experience he gained at Gainsborough made a direct contribution to his victories at the two pivotal battles of Marston Moor and Naseby, which fatally undermined the future effectiveness of the Royalist army, and set Charles I on the long road to the scaffold.”    

Like many Parliamentarians who opposed King Charles I, Cromwell had been preparing for war throughout 1642. With little previous military experience, he nevertheless succeeded in raising a cavalry troop in Cambridgeshire, and by the time the letter was written, Cromwell had begun to forge his troops into the fiercely disciplined Ironsides of legend.

It was at the Battle of Gainsborough in July 1643 that they were, for the first time, to prove their worth. During the encounter, the Parliamentarian cavalry charged successfully, managed to stage an orderly retreat under counter-attack from Royalist troops, and then charge again. This iron discipline under pressure, first seen at Gainsborough, was a key factor in Cromwell’s subsequent success as a military leader.

2018 marks the 360th anniversary of Cromwell’s death in 1658.

Sale: Fine Books and Manuscripts

Location: Bonhams Knightsbridge

Date: Wednesday 21 March at 10.00 am

Specialist: Matthew Haley: Head of Departement Fine Books and Manuscripts

Image: Letter written by Oliver Cromwell after the Battle of Gainsborough, 1643. Estimate £20,000-30,000

PBA Galleries of San Francisco California is excited to announce the return of Mr. Ivan Briggs to their staff as Director of Fine Pens and Comics.  

In 2007 Mr. Briggs moved to Bonhams Auctioneers where he quickly advanced to Senior Specialist and then Director of fine writing instruments. He established himself as a leading worldwide authority on fine pens at auction, with a series of successful previews and sales in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong. Selling over $10,000,000 in fine and rare pens during his nine years, numerous world record prices for pens were realized, including $305,000 for a pair of vintage Namiki Emperor fountain pens in 2015. In his role as premier authority, Mr. Briggs has discussed the pen market with the New York Times, the BBC, Robb Report, the South China Morning Post and numerous other media outlets.

Ivan Briggs also brings a longstanding expertise in comic books to PBA.  As comic book buyer in the 1990s for San Francisco's Green Apple Books, he compiled two highly successful mail-order catalogues for rare comic book material, with emphasis on pre-code horror and crime comics and comic-related hardcover books.  During this time, he sold the original cover for Mad #21 (the first cover appearance of Alfred E. Neuman) for five times the value achieved by Sotheby's for the same piece. In December 2014, Mr. Briggs sold a single-owner collection of comic books and graphic novels for Bonhams, San Francisco, and realized world-record auction results for half a dozen lots (including a final price of $16,250 for a copy of Incredible Hulk #181, that featured the first full appearance of Wolverine, CGC-certified at 9.8).

Mr. Briggs has served as a consultant for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and maintains the world's most extensive collection of vintage comic-related photographs, a number of which have been published by Taschen Books, Kitchen Sink Press and others.  His interest in comics is wide-ranging, with an emphasis on pre-code horror and crime comics (particularly EC), undergrounds (particularly the work of R. Crumb), Golden Age, Silver Age, and original comic art.

Mr. Briggs is excited to bring his expertise to PBA. “I’m eager to work with my network of pen clients around the globe, and to welcome new buyers and sellers into the fold, especially young collectors seeking a more tactile, individual and authentic relationship to the act of writing than is afforded by electronic devices.”

PBA Galleries is a leader in collectible books, maps and works on paper and holds auctions of these every two weeks.  For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or

5-Washington copy.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries will offer an auction of Autographs on Thursday, March 22, featuring vestiges of history spanning the thirteenth to twentieth centuries. Revolutionary Americana makes up a significant portion of the auction’s pre-sale estimate, as do letters by scientists and some of humanity’s greatest luminaries.

Leading the sale is a 1778 letter signed by George Washington, as Commander-in-Chief, to General James Clinton. From his headquarters in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he discusses preparations for the Sullivan Expedition against Loyalists and enemy Iroquois in western New York and Pennsylvania. The letter carries an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

Revolutionary Americana continues with a letter signed by Thomas Jefferson as Governor to Major-General Nathanael Greene, reporting on February 17, 1781 that he has ordered more than 1,000 riflemen to join him against the British General Cornwallis ($15,000 to $25,000), and a 1772 letter by the treacherous Benedict Arnold, at $3,000 to $4,000.

The earliest item in the sale is a manuscript charter on vellum by William, the Bishop of Coventry, granting a church to an abbey in Cheshire in 1222, replete with the pendant Episcopal wax seal of William Cornhill, carrying an estimate of $3,500 to $5,000. Another early highlight is a 1470 document signed by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy to Johann IV of Nassau, at the height of his powers and concerning his ongoing military campaigns across Europe, valued at $3,000 to $4,000. Additional European historical autographs include a letter that mentions the burning of Whitehall in 1689, fifteenth-century vellum legal decrees and various royal missives.

An 1878 letter by Thomas Edison contains an early use of the word “bug” to describe a technical issue, a term he coined: “I did find a ‘bug’ in my apparatus, but it was not in the telephone proper. It was of the genus ‘callbellum.’” The letter, addressed to Western Union President William Orton, explains that there would be a delay in the delivery of his phonograph ($10,000 to $20,000). Additional laboratory notes and correspondence paint a vivid picture of the inventor’s life.

The Edison correspondence complements a characteristically deep selection of autographs by important scientists, among them an extremely scarce autograph letter signed by Wernher von Braun, who played a key role in the space program, about a conversation he had with President John F. Kennedy “on his promise to the American people to land a man on the moon before the year 1970” ($5,000 to $7,500). Signed photographs and drawings of Albert Einstein join letters by the genius on a variety of subjects, and an autograph quotation signed by Oppenheimer to photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt (who took his portrait in Princeton, NJ) rounds out the selection ($1,500 to $2,500).

Correspondence relating to Charles Dickens is led by a letter by the author to Lord Robert Grosvenor, explaining the inspiration for Wackford Squeers and Dotheboys Hall of Nicholas Nickleby, and announcing that Oliver Twist will soon be published ($3,500 to $5,000).

Autographs by cultural luminaries include Letters by Jacob Lawrence and Hale Woodruff to a Miss Esther Krasny, describing their processes and, in the case of the Woodruff letter, with illustrative sketches ($400 to $600 and $800 to $1,200, respectively). Also available is a print by Léon Bakst of Vaslav Nijinsky as the lead in The Afternoon of the Faun, signed by the dancer in 1916, with an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000. A full-length signed photograph of Josephine Baker inscribed to Eubie Blake, the writer of Shuffle Along, the show that launched Baker’s career, carries an estimate of $1,500 to $2,500. A draft of Walt Whitman’s last work, A Thought of Columbus, with his signature and holograph corrections, dates to 1892, and illuminates the poet’s pre-publication process ($20,000 to $30,000).

Curious revelations into the personal lives of some of history’s greatest players include two letters by Louis Armstrong to his lip salve purveyor, 1965 and 1970, signed “Satchmo” and estimated together at $1,500 to $2,500.

The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at

Image: Lot 5: George Washington, Letter Signed, as Commander in Chief, planning the Sullivan Expedition, “Head Quarters,” Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1778. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.

Hamilton Hair with Seal w.jpgNew York City - Here on display are the bold and innovative ideas of the American Revolution and Founding, shown through official and personal letters, reports, and documents of its central players detailing the flashes of genius, passions, & foibles of our founding fathers.

“Deciding what highlights to exhibit out of the 1,100 plus documents in The Alexander Hamilton Collection was a tortuous process,” related Seth Kaller. A leading collection-builder and dealer in rare historic documents based in White Plains, N.Y., Mr Kaller has been in the history business since 1989. Documents he acquired for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History are being used in 12,000 schools.

Making the cut for exhibit at booth A40 at the INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR, MARCH 8-11 at the PARK AVENUE ARMORY:

• A very rare July 8, 1776 Declaration of Independence imprint - the first book printing - bound with a very early copy of Common Sense.

            The first printing of the Declaration in book form, bound together with other significant pamphlets of the American Revolution compiled by Thomas Paine. The first owner, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, served as Aide-de-camp to the French at Yorktown.

• One of Hamilton’s most revealing love letters to Eliza 

            He writes, “You are certainly a little sorceress…and have rendered me as restless and unsatisfied with all about me, as if I was an inhabitant of another world.”

            According to Kaller, he’s seen all kinds of people look at this letter and start singing Lin Manuel Miranda’s lyrics -“I have never been satisfied…”.

• George Washington’s letter transmitting Act Establishing the Treasury 

            On the same day that Washington signed this letter, September 11, 1789, he nominated Hamilton to lead the new department. Remarkably, the Senate confirmed on the very same day.

• Hamilton’s financial plans, founding Acts of Congress, the Bill of Rights

• A document signed by Hamilton and Eliza and Angelica and a dozen other Schuyler sisters, brothers, cousins, in-laws, and even father General Philip Schuyler 

• A rare first edition of the Reynolds Pamphlet, with a scarce second edition printed by Hamilton’s enemies

The Reynold’s Pamphlet, which exposes Hamilton’s adultery, is also in the exhibit.

            Copies of this first edition are very rare, as Eliza reportedly burned all she could find.

 • letters and documents of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Aaron Burr, the Schuyler Sisters & Brothers & patriarch, John Hancock, every signer of the U.S. Constitution, and more.

• After he left the Treasury to return to the practice of law, Hamilton’s bill for representing the government in the very first Supreme Court Judicial Review case, Hyland v. United States.

            Marbury v Madison was the first Supreme Court Judicial Review that declared a law (ironically, part of the Judiciary Act) unconstitutional. So, why isn’t the earlier Hyland v United States case as well-known? Because Hamilton won; the court affirmed the constitutionality of the carriage tax. With Hamilton no longer around to defend it, the Hyland interpretation was overturned 99 years later, but then was effectively reinstated by Constitutional Amendment.

• A lock of Hamilton’s hair, preserved in his family for generations; a unique ivory miniature; a stunning memorial painted and drawn by a student shortly after his death.

Mr. Kaller talks about the relevance today of these two hundred-year old documents:

“While our current government seems definitionally incapable of analysis, Alexander Hamilton provided our finest example of the opposite: he could see both the big picture and the gritty details of cost benefit analysis. In impossible situations, he came up with a plan that sought to use the least bad options, and then he executed as well as anyone possibly could have.”

Weighing the differences between Jefferson and Hamilton, Kaller adds, “While many gave their lives fighting for the ideals that Jefferson expounded in the Declaration, without a Hamilton to make the experiment work, the nascent Federal Government would likely have met the same fate as prior attempts at republican government.”

Kaller is hopeful that the original documents of the founders will provide lessons for today: “By looking back, we often can find the way forward. The Founding Fathers were able to transcend their personal flaws and political conflicts to lay the groundwork for our great nation.”

The Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the American Revolution and Founding, is being offered for sale by Mr. Kaller, intact, for $3.8 million. A detailed catalog can be found at (the valuable domain name is included in the offer).

Interested parties may call Mr. Kaller at (914) 289-1776, or e-mail him at

1860.jpgYork, PA - After a 50th-anniversary year whose record-setting sales far surpassed all expectations, Hake’s Americana is on track for a blockbuster 2018. A full two weeks ahead of its March 13-15 auction, Hake’s had already recorded more than $1 million in absentee bids, with the numbers flipping rapidly upward with each passing hour. 

“This is unprecedented,” said Hake’s president Alex Winter. “It’s a clear Hake’s indication that rare comic books and blue-chip pop-culture and entertainment memorabilia has a rapidly expanding fan base worldwide. It also tells us that collectors have listened to the experts. They’re going for rarity and the best quality they can afford.” 

A premier example of rarity and quality in one package would be the auction’s headliner: a fresh-to-the-market issue of Detective Comics #27 CGC 5.0 (May 1939) featuring the first appearance of Batman - then known as “The Bat-Man.” It emerged from a recently discovered Golden Age comic book collection whose original owner had purchased all of the comics new off the rack during the 1930s and ’40s. 

“In any collecting category, there are certain items that every collector wants to own. For baseball card collectors, it would likely be a Honus Wagner 1909 T206 card. In the numismatics world, it might be a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar coin. To comic book collectors, nothing compares to the Golden Age issues that introduce beloved superhero characters,” Winter said. “The top comic book in the eyes of most collectors has always been Action Comics #1 with the first appearance of Superman, but there are fewer copies of Detective 27 in the CGC census - which maintains a global record of all known comic books - than there are copies of Action 1. From that comparison, collectors would immediately recognize the level of rarity. The Detective Comics #27 in our auction is complete, unrestored, and of a grade that may not appear for sale again for many years. When it does, it will likely be at a much higher price point.” Hake’s auction estimate is $500,000-$1 million. 

Another superstar entry is Action Comics #7 CGC 4.0, scarce and important because it marks Superman’s second appearance on a comic book cover and also pre-dates Superman #1. Unrestored and in original condition, this comic book is highly prized in the collecting world. It comes to auction with a $100,000-$200,000 estimate.

Two other comics that are more than worthy of the spotlight are More Fun Comics #52 CGC 3.0, with the first appearance of The Spectre; and Captain America #3 CGC 7.0, featuring Stan Lee’s first work for the publisher Timely. “All of the early Golden Age Captain Americas are getting much harder to find,” Winter noted. The auction estimate for each of the comics is $35,000-$50,000.

In Hake’s November 2017 auction, Part I of the peerless Russell Branton Star Wars collection, containing 60 lots of AFA-graded pieces, commanded nearly $300,000. Many figures set new world auction records. A similar result is expected for the 70 lots in Hake’s March sale. Top entries include a Darth Vader 12 Back-A double-telescoping variant, AFA 70 (EX+), $35,000-$50,000; and a Boba Fett rocket-firing prototype AFA 85 (NM+), $35,000-$50,000, which Winter describes as “one of the most legendary and sought-after figures of all.”

The comprehensive 200-lot selection of coveted original comic book art includes covers, interior pages, Sunday and daily strips; specialty pieces and more. Among the highlights are the original Ron Wilson cover art for Marvel’s Daredevil #111 (July 1974) featuring The Silver Samurai’s debut appearance, and Greg Hildebrandt’s large and impressive acrylic-on-canvas cover art for X-Men variant Death of X #4 (November 2016). This near-mint artwork is professionally framed and, like the Daredevil cover art, is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

For more than a half-century, Hake’s Americana has distinguished itself as the ultimate source for rare, early political memorabilia. At the core of the March sale, collectors will find nearly 600 specialty lots from which to choose. The auction’s opening lot is an important copper button from George Washington’s 1789 presidential inauguration. Monogrammed with the initials “GW” and the image of a Liberty cap, it is assigned an R-6 rarity, meaning no more than 5 specimens of its type are known. Its pre-sale estimate is $20,000-$35,000. Another historical relic of great rarity - in fact, the only example ever to have surfaced - is an 1860 cloth campaign banner touting Abraham Lincoln and his running mate Hannibal Hamlin. It bears the image of a spread-winged American eagle, with the written call for “Liberty & Union!” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

A fantastic array of 200 movie posters and lobby cards focuses on horror, sci-fi and other favorite films of the 1950s/’60s. There are some real gems, like the 14 x 36-inch insert posters for the original 1958 release of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman and the 1951 classic The Day The Earth Stood Still. Each is estimated at $2,000-$5,000. 

One of the fastest-growing categories in Hake’s pop-culture stable is concert posters. Approximately 100 lots of 1950s/’60s-era posters will be offered, with many depicting influential jazz and rock stars. The two standouts within the grouping advertise legendary soul music acts Ike and Tina Turner (July 4, 1963), $5,000-$10,000; and the immortal Otis Redding (June 26, 1966), $10,000-$20,000.

Not to be missed is the outstanding selection of James Bond memorabilia, including movie posters and classic toys of the 1960s; as well as an elusive 1966 Ideal Official Batman Play Set in the manufacturer’s original windowpane box, $10,000-$20,000.

Hake’s Americana Auction #223 has opened for bidding by phone, mail or online at The first session will close on March 13, 2018, while the second session will conclude on March 15. March 14 is an interim day in which bidders can peruse the catalog and prepare for further bidding. To request a free printed catalog or for additional information on any item in the sale, call toll-free: 866-404-9800 or 717-434-1600. Email:

Image: Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman insert poster, 1958. Est. $2,000-$5,000. Courtesy of Hake’s Americana


Villa Massei_56_16th Century St. John the Baptist_WEB.jpgChicago, IL—This February Leslie Hindman Auctioneers conducted two unique single-owner auctions of property from Palm Beach, Florida and Lucca, Italy: Property from the Estate of Philip and Mary Hulitar and Property from Villa Massei. Both collections offered furniture, decorative art and fine art with an international flair that included Italian, French, Chinese and Indian objects.

The February 22 Property from the Estate of Philip and Mary Hulitar auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers exceeded expectations with robust participation in the room, on the phone and online. Bidding was strong across all categories including furniture, decorative items and fine art. The collection brought over $665,000 for 446 lots sold.

The best performing lot was a 20th century collection of glass stemware, which sold for $68,750 against a presale estimate of $500 to $700 after competitive bidding from two phone bidders. Other highlights from the sale included two paintings by Stephen Scott Young, Cat on the Island and Chatting, which sold for $35,000 and $30,000, respectively. Decorative art also drew noted interest, such as a collection of Italian ceramic fruit and cabbageware, which sold for $17,500 against a presale estimate of $300 to $500, a pair of Venetian painted blackamoor acrobats, which sold for $10,625 (presale estimate $4,000 ­ 6,000), and a Louis XV style gilt bronze elephant clock, which sold for $9,375, estimated at $1,500-2,500.

The family's history and philanthropic work connected to Palm Beach drove interest in the collection. Philip Hulitar himself was a fashion designer and artist. Notably, he founded the Sculpture Garden for The Society of the Four Arts and went on to become Vice President and its chief benefactor. The Hulitars lived on North Ocean Boulevard in a 12,062-square-foot oceanfront home, designed by Marion Sims Wyeth, a prominent architect who also designed Mar-a-Lago. Both the exterior and interior offered a classic Palm Beach aesthetic with colorfully themed and synchronized rooms. 

Property from Villa Massei was sold February 27 in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' Chicago saleroom, with the most aggressive bidding happening online. The selected 204 lots came from a hunting lodge near Lucca, Italy. Villa Massei was built around 1500 by the Counts Sinibaldi and with renowned Renaissance-style gardens accompanying the 60-acre estate. From 1981 until recently, Villa Massei was owned by Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen, who spent 34 years restoring and entertaining at the estate.

Top results from their collection include a painting of John the Baptist from the Florentine School. It sold for $27,500 against a $8,000 ­ 12,000 presale estimate. A pair of Italian School paintings sold for $6,000, exceeding the presale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. Furniture performed well, such as a pair of custom-designed ebonized bookcases that sold for $5,250 against a presale estimate of $1,500 to $2,500 and an Italian neoclassical painted center table that sold for $4,250. The presale estimate was $2,000 to $4,000.

Both collections told the story of their owners, from worldly travelers with an eye for color to entertainers who created their Tuscan ideal. Conducted in both Palm Beach and Chicago, the auctions drew international buyers for the unique collections offered.   


Auction Guide