February 2019 Archives

Seattle -- Celebrating readers of all types, this week ThriftBooks announced the top-selling books by state for 2018. This is the third year the online used book retailer has released the results, which revealed a move from non-fiction with a slant toward self-help to fiction.

The data found only one state had the same top-selling book two years running. California was the closest with “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in 2016 and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” from the same franchise in 2017. Many states found an entirely new favorite for 2017.

ThriftBooks CEO Mike Ward said, “It was interesting to see reader choices changing by region. The West Coast is focused on self-improvement, with books from the “Seven Habits” franchise and author Malcolm Gladwell topping lists. This could be influenced by the tech and start-up cultures in those states. Whereas, the next generation of Harry Potter fans looks to be in the Northeast.”

    •    All 50 states were included for 2018 seeing 20% more books shipped than in 2017.
    •    Dystopian classics continued to be popular in 2018 with “Animal Farm” being the most popular book in Nevada, “1984” in Colorado, “Fahrenheit 451” in Massachusetts, and “Brave New World” in Wyoming.
    •    The Book Thief was the top book in Utah two years in a row.
    •    There was an increase in states where Alcoholics Anonymous was the top author. By book, “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” was the top in Delaware, “Alcoholics Anonymous” in Oregon.
    •    Books written by J.K. Rowling were the most popular books in 7 states,
    •    The full list of top books by state can be found at https://www.thriftbooks.com/b/most-popular-books-by-state/

Frazetta Buck.jpgDallas, TX - Original comic cover art by legendary artist Frank Frazetta soared beyond its pre-auction estimate, claiming top-lot honors and leading Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art auction to $9,432,650 Feb. 21-23 in Dallas. The auction boasted sell-through rates of 99.5 percent by value and 99.6 percent by lots sold through the world’s largest comics auctioneer.

Frank Frazetta Famous Funnies #209 Cover Original Art (Eastern Color, 1953) drew bids from two dozen hopeful collectors before it closed at $552,000, surpassing its pre-auction estimate of $300,000 by 84 percent. One of just eight Famous Funnies covers the famed artist ever did, it features Buck Rogers and his trusty Sonic Ray Gun, and Wilma Deering, Rogers' equally smart and assertive adventurer, facing certain peril by space goons blocking the only exit from a cave. The image is considered one of the most jaw-droopingly beautiful and graceful full-figure images of a woman ever to grace a comic book cover. The image justified and cemented Frazetta's legendary status as one of the greatest artists of the female form of all time.

“The results of this auction are a reflection of not just the exceptional quality of lots we offer, but also the clients’ base of knowledge,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Todd Hignite said. “That the exceptional lots inspired so many to bid aggressively came as no surprise, and that surge of bidding goes a long way toward explaining these results.”

Similarly competitive bidding also drove Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC VG+ 4.5 Cream to off-white pages beyond its estimate before it sold for $336,000. An exceptionally popular issue, it is the first in one of the most popular titles in comic history; this copy is a rarity in exceptionally high demand because it is one of few known copies that has not undergone any restoration. This issue marked the first time a character created for comic books was given his own title.

Unique in the fact that it was both penciled AND inked by Steve Ditko, Strange Tales #117 Splash Page 1 Doctor Strange Original Art (Marvel, 1964) more than doubled its $100,000 pre-auction estimate when it finished at $228,000. Like several of the other top lots, it was heavily pursued, with 33 collectors submitting bids. The issue features Doctor Strange and his own Astral Projection, adding to the demand among collectors.

More than 30 collectors made a play for Dave Gibbons Watchmen #1 Cover Original Art (DC, 1986) before it finally brought $228,000. The cover of the first Watchmen issue remains one of the most recognizable images in the series, in part because the drip of blood on the smiley face button is reminiscent of the hands of a clock striking 12; “time running out” was a recurring theme throughout the series.

An extraordinary copy of the second-most valuable Silver Age issue, The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages sparked more than 20 bids before it realized $216,000. An absolute rarity in this grade, this issue features the origin and first appearance of the Hulk and supporting characters Rick Jones, Betty Ross and Thunderbolt Ross, with art and cover by Jack Kirby.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1962) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white to white pages: $144,000
Robert Crumb Help! #24 "Fred the Teen-Age Girl Pigeon" Complete 2-Page Story Original Art (Warren Publishing, 1965): $120,000
Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF- 7.5 Off-white pages: $120,000
John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #7 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1970): $87,000
Steve Ditko Strange Tales #117 Story Page 3 Doctor Strange Original Art (Marvel, 1964): $78,000
Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999): $78,000

460.jpgChicago—Potter and Potter Auctions' highly anticipated midwinter sale delivered outstanding temptations as well as sales results.  After a long and exciting day, 80 lots realized $1,000-5,000, 16 lots made $5,001-$9,999, and four lots broke the $10,000 mark!  Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Early 20th magic apparatus caught the eye and imagination of global buyers. One of the top lots in this category - as well as the sale - was #56, Carter the Great’s c. 1910 carved gold leaf wooden table. This item was the centerpiece for many of the magician’s tricks in his illusion show.  It was accompanied by photograph of Carter and Evelyn Maxwell beside the table and a letter of provenance from Carter biographer Mike Caveney. Estimated at $6,000-8,000, it made $10,200.  Lot #16, Harry Blackstone's c. 1930 production screen illusion was estimated at $1,500-2,600 and sold for $8,400. This self-contained trick was made up of a large four-fold black screen with decorative panels accented with flowers and birds; a girl can be produced or vanished from the folds of the screen. And lot #122, a pair of framed Harry Houdini owned Bean Giant handcuffs more than doubled their low estimate to change hands at $9,600.  

Midcentury and contemporary magicana was also well represented in this sale. Collectors were game over lot #159, a handsomely detailed c. 1952 club sized checker cabinet by Okito.  This apparatus enabled the magical transposition of a stack of checkers and a glass full of rice. Estimated at $8,000-12,000, it sold for $13,200. Lot #201, Virgil’s c. 1950 Weird Execution on Mars Space Gun made by Petrie & Lewis topped its high estimate more than five time over to land at $10,800.  In performance, a ribbon fired from this specially modified rifle pierced through the midsection of an assistant’s body without harming her, with a bullet lodging in the target behind her.  Lot #141, Billy McComb’s Whiskey Egg Bag from 1965 significantly beat its $150-250 estimate, selling for $1,440.  This grouping included a cloth bag, three small glasses, a golf ball, and a photograph of the Irish magician using the bag. And lot #54, a c. 2005 jumbo Okito Card Restoration by Dale Pfiester  made $9,000 - six times its low estimate.  This as new apparatus was based on the Willmann/Okito card restorations built in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

This sale dazzled enthusiasts with nearly 100 lots of vintage magic props and materials by legacy manufacturers Thayer and Owen. Lot #296, a 1930s-1940s collection of 130 original cloth “negatives” used to create the famous master blueprints sold through the company's catalogs was estimated at $5,000-7,000 and sold for $13,200. The illusions explained and diagrammed include many of the firm's most famous tricks, including the Mummy Case, Buzz Saw, and Morritt Cage. The devil was in the details with lot #264, a c. 1928 Thayer Satanic Genii Tube. This early, all wooden model with art deco butterfly stencils was estimated at $500-750 and soared to $2,280. And lot #251, a c. 1930s flap die box, was estimated at $200-300 and made $1,020. This round, mahogany box allowed a magician to control the  numbers on the two dice inside even when the box is shaken.  This example, the only one known with this feature, was possibly a prototype or a custom-ordered item. It was most likely turned by Floyd Thayer himself, given the quality of the workmanship. It was owned at one time by The Great Virgil.

Now let's focus on a few noteworthy ephemera highlights from this sale.  Magician related images and autographs were headliners here.  Lot #369, a full-length, framed and inscribed image of  Alexander (Claude Alexander Conlin) - The Man Who Knows - in costume sold for $2,400 on its $500-750 estimate. Lot #445, a 1948 hand colored, half portrait of Okito (Tobias Bamberg) inscribed and signed to Litzka Raymond made $2,040, over four times its high estimate.  Lot #390, an autographed Confucius quotation in the hand of Chung Ling Soo (William Ellsworth Robinson) realized $2,640 on its $500-700 estimate. Lot #395, a 1930s-40s signed real photo postcard of Arnold De Biere delivered $840 on its presale estimate of $150-250. And lot #460, Howard Thurston's c. 1920 stage and trap plot blueprint secured $900.  

Potter & Potter's midwinter magic event came full circle with world class selections of books, posters and broadsides, and other important magic related rarities.  Lot #475, a c. 1908 framed Chung Ling Soo broadside titled From the Land of the Peacock made $8,400 on its $4,000-6,000 estimate.  It was stunningly decorated with a bust portrait of the magician, a Chinese lantern, and a peacock, all surrounded by Chinese trappings and a black border.  Lot #360, a 1929, inscribed and signed first edition Howard Thurston's My Life of Magic was estimated at $400-600 and sold for $1,920.  Lot #5, an as new, c. 2010 bird themed automaton called Le Petit Automate by artist Mike Michaels was estimated at $2,600-3,500 but came to nest at $8,400. And its case closed with lot #497, a leather travel trunk that belonged to Doug Henning. Estimated at $400-600, it took off to $5,280. This well-worn treasure retained its original Eastern Airlines luggage tags bearing Henning’s name and his address in an unknown hand.  

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "This is a sign of good things to come when we look down the calendar at the next three sales from Jim's amazing collection. There are plenty more surprises in store, and I expect each successive sale to be just as balanced and exciting as this, the first. We were pleased to see spirited bidding in every category in the sale."

Image: Thayer Master Blueprints. Realized $13,200

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 10.24.49 AM.pngLondon—This superb two-volume set, limited to just 500 hand-numbered copies, replicates Gustave Doré’s masterpiece, hundreds of illustrations for François Rabelais’s seminal text and comic work of genius Gargantua and Pantagruel. All five books are published in two volumes, with a brilliant English translation integrated with the illustrations for the first time. The edition also features a specially commissioned introduction by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Greenblatt and a revised essay by Milan Kundera.

These tales of the giants Gargantua and his son Pantagruel are the greatest prose narrative of 16th-century France. Attacked as obscene by the Sorbonne, Rabelais’s works were nevertheless to be found in the libraries of kings and cardinals. A champion of Renaissance humanism, influenced by Erasmus, Rabelais’s feast of rhetoric offers profound and complex comedy. It parodies scripture, the law and tales of chivalry, and glories in obscenity and bawdy humour. Each book has a distinct personality, but throughout there is a delight in language, an absence of moral censure and an exuberant sense of fun. These are books of ideas told with much merriment and an extravagant freedom that were crucial in the development of Western literature.

Doré’s illustrations are the definitive images for Rabelais’s humanist classic, but the whole body of work, completed over two decades, is rarely seen and has never before been available in its entirety with the text in English. First published in 2006, this renowned translation by Professor M. A. Screech perfectly captures Rabelais’s sublime mastery of language.

Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies •
UK £495 US $795 Can $995 Aus $1,095

Dallas, TX - A collection of 50 extraordinary photographs by Norman Seeff of some of the most important figures in pop culture, entertainment and sports is being offered in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Photographs by Norman Seeff Online Auction March 13.

Online bidding, which is presented in conjunction with the Norman Seeff Archive and Artsy, beginsFeb. 26 on HA.com, and the images will be available for viewing at Heritage Auctions’ Beverly Hills gallery (9478 West Olympic, First Floor, Beverly Hills, Calif., 90212) from Feb. 29 through March 8.

Among the iconic personalities featured in the auction: artist Andy Warhol, actors John Belushi, Dennis Hopper, Jodie Foster and Steve Martin, musicians James Taylor, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and the Rolling Stones, and athletes like former boxer Ken Norton and former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath.

“Heritage Auctions is very excited to have our first single-owner online photographs auction in cooperation with the Norman Seeff Archive and Artsy,” Heritage Auctions Photographs Director Nigel Russell said. “The online format gives us the flexibility to host this collection of amazing portraits of 20th century music and entertainment icons.”

For 50 years, Seeff has been the man behind some of the recognizable images of the 20th century. The lots offered  are comprised of these music and pop culture icons encompassing some of Seeff’s most memorable sessions, including works featured on album covers and their outtakes, such as Stage Fright by The Band, Frank Zappa’s Strictly Commercial, Carly Simon’s “Playing Possum” and The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street.

“I never fixate on a shot,” Seeff said. “It’s always about a spontaneous unfolding experience. I discovered early on that if I aimed for a particular outcome or goal, the emotional authenticity was lost. Every shot is a one-time moment and then the next one happens spontaneously, so I end up with hundreds of shots that document a chronological sequence of events to when I am able to say ‘we’ve got it, we’re done.’”

The vintage gelatin silver prints, most of which are black-and-white prints, have estimates ranging from $2,000-5,000. Each work is unique and comes directly from Seeff’s archive.

Seeff moved from his native South Africa to New York City in 1968. His photos of people on the streets of Manhattan were discovered by art director and graphic designer Bob Cato, who became a mentor to Seeff and gave him his first major assignment: to produce images for The Band’s 1969 Stage Fright album. The results were so successful that he earned immediate recognition and launched his career as a “rock photographer.”

He relocated in 1971 to Los Angeles, where he became creative director at United Artists Records and soon opened an independent studio on the Sunset Strip, where he created many of his most remarkable images. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, when an assistant went to retrieve film assets from Seeff’s  studio in Studio City, that his archive of gelatin silver prints - overlooked for years due to Seeff’s abounding roster of projects - were rediscovered.

WW Leaves of Grass 1 copy.jpgNew York — Walt Whitman’s astonishing copy of Leaves of Grass highlights Bonhams sale of Extraordinary Books and Manuscripts on March 12 (estimate: $200,000-300,000). This is the first editition, first issue, and signed by Whitman in block letters on the title page, as it was presented by Whitman to William Linton. Leaves of Grass is the only work of modern literature included in Printing and the Mind of Man--the landmark catalogue of the most influential printed works in history--where it is justly called “America's second Declaration of Independence.”

Very few signed copies of the first edition exist, and this copy, attested to as Whitman's personal cloth-bound copy and called his “working copy” by one of the great collectors of the 20th century is unique among them, not only for its provenance and block-lettered signature, but also for being in the first-state of the binding. The provenance is remarkable: given from Whitman to William James Linton, the noted English artist who engraved Whitman’s portrait for the 1876 edition of Leaves, to Frederick W. Skiff, the great bibiliophile and Americana expert, who then sold this copy and in 1942 to Estelle Doheny, the greatest female book collector of the 20th century.  
Additional highlights include:
    •    Sir Isaac Newton’s copy of John Greaves Pyramidographia, which was published in London 1646 (estimate: $50,000-70,000). This was an important book on measurement from the Library of Isaac Newton - used by Newton in his investigations of gravity.
    •    The first Western typographical printing of the I-Ching in any language printed in Stuttgart and Tubingen: J.G. Cotta, 1834-1839 (estimate: $40,000-60,000). This is a pristine, uncut copy of a Chinese classic - a cornerstone of both Taoism and Confucianism.
    •    A fascinating archive of artwork and letters from Harper Lee (1926-2016), with an inscribed first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (estimate: $20,000-30,000). The archive includes rare caricutures by the famed author, the first Harper Lee artwork offered at auction - a rare glimpe of the writer pre-Mockingbird, and traverses the years to a searing letter on the monetization of Mockingbird in Monroeville, 1993.

Image: Whitman, Walt. 1819-1892. Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn: [Printed for the author], 1855. Estimate: $200,000-300,000

Los Angeles - John Lennon’s fascination with aliens and UFOs has been well documented throughout his life. As a member of one of the most famous bands of all time, The Beatles, Lennon often talked about his belief in alien life and even wrote about it. From his earlier years with wife Cynthia to his sighting in New York over the East River in 1974, the Beatles member continued to be mesmerized with life in space, even as much as to site visitations from aliens when he was with Yoko Ono.  On March 30, 2019, Kruse GWS Auctions will offer an extraordinary collection of John Lennon’s personal drawings and Sci-Fi magazines, long collected by an old friend who shared his passion.
On July 6, 1957, a fellow Liverpoolian befriended Lennon when he was performing as part of the Quarrymen, the group that eventually evolved into The Beatles. The band appeared in Woolten Village in Liverpool.
The young man shared a fascination with space and would strike up a conversation with John who was looking through a UFO magazine. From there on, the friendship would continue on for decades and John and the gentleman exchanged letters, drawings, opinions, and magazines about UFOs, space and all things extraterrestrial.  During this time, John Lennon would send his new friend drawings and some of his personal science fiction books and magazines, all of which was kept throughout the gentlemen’s life and even after Lennon moved to the U.S.  The drawings and magazines to be auctioned for the very first time are now being offered by the man’s stepson who has also chronicled the story of the unlikely friendship.
There are four drawings done in crayon and pencil and date to the 1950s and early 1960s. The drawings along with the collection of personal sci-fi books and magazines represent a passion of a member of the world’s most famous band - The Beatles.
Two of the pieces being offered are in red crayon, early examples of his characteristic line drawings. One appears to be someone smoking a marijuana joint, while the back side features a character possessing an excessively large nose and sad face.  The other captures two inversed smiling faces, a kind of yin and yang, staring at each other. The other two drawings are done in pencil and apparently drew inspiration from his first wife, Cynthia. In one drawing a UFO is seen flying above her head and the the word “Cyn” on it and John’s initials ‘JL’ incorporated into the illustration.
The second pencil drawing again captures Cynthia, and this time, displays John's full initials of 'JWL’ (John Winston Lennon).  Lennon’s personal Sci-Fi magazine collection includes Science Fiction Analog and New Worlds Science Fiction. Each drawing will be accompanied by a copy of the letter received from the stepson describing the two’s lifelong friendship.
As the flying saucer drawing and science fiction collection attest, Lennon had long been obsessed with aliens and outer space fantasies. His fixation on ET visits and claims of alien abduction culminated in his most infamous sighting, when he saw a UFO from his balcony fly over the East River on August 23, 1974.
In 1974, John and his lover May Pang (during his separation from Yoko) were living in an apartment overlooking New York’s East River, when John saw what he described as a UFO.  Lennon went on to describe it along with its path and May Pang has been noted as saying John screamed out the window “wait - take me with you.”
The drawings will be offered in museum quality glass and frames and sold individually, and the sci-fi collection will be sold in one lot. The crayon drawings measure 4.5" x 3" and 4" x 3.25" and the pencil pieces are 8.5" x 6" and 5.5" x 3.5."
To register or for more info, please visit: www.gwsauctions.com

San martin truths.jpgNew York — These are the voices of a new generation of young, contemporary artists who are bringing fresh vision to the creation of artists’ books. At the upcoming New York City Book & Ephemera Fair, March 9 & 10 at the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square Hotel, the work of these and over 40 other gifted artists and artists’ groups, will be featured in the premiere of the annual Booklyn Artists’ Book Fair, new fair-within-a-fair section devoted to artists’ books and zines. 

It is the first fair of its kind in Manhattan to provide a cutting-edge alternative to the coinciding Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America Book Fair and to other art fairs happening during Manhattan’s Rare Book Week. The exhibition is curated and organized by Marshall Weber, co-founder of Booklyn, a non-profit artists’-run organization based in Brooklyn, that publishes, distributes and promotes artists’ books and zines. Booklyn actively maintains an exhibition program of prints and works on paper that addresses current social issues. All of the exhibiting artists are members of this organization.

Chilean-born, New York based artist, Maria Veronica San Martin, a studio artist at the Whitney Museum in 2017 &’18, evokes the urgency of history through its capacity to fade in memory. A major work, “In Their Memory: Human Rights Violations in Chile, 1973-1990, documents the erosion of memory deeply connected to the disappearance of War Victims in the Pinochet era. Her books take the form of sculptural memorials and spaces depicting absence, reflection and resistance. It is a protest, a cry from the heart, that asks us to remember, above all, and keep this urgent history with us as we fight against violence inherent in dictatorships today.  

Pop-up artist, Colette Fu, creates exuberant, often very large, intensely colorful collapsible artists’ books that combine her own photography and paper engineering to tell a story. Fu was the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship that enabled her to travel throughout China for six months, immersing herself in local regional cultures. “We are Tiger Dragon People” is a series of pop-up books that focus on the ethnic diversity of minority communities in Southwest China’s Yunan Province. Fu also explored the mountainous Yi landscape - a part of her own cultural heritage. An acquaintance from this region told her that there is an old saying, “although an eagle flies far into the distance, its wings are folded back.” This means that one essential goal in life is to find the path of your ancestors. And Fu has done just that! 

Distinguished artist, Xu Bing, the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts Award for promoting U.S. and China cultural exchange, is known to surprise and at times, shock the viewer. He creates a feeling of purity and serenity in his work. However, when looking more closely, the viewer is bewildered to realize that all is not as originally believed. His “A Book from the Sky,” is an ambitious example that made the artist famous when it was installed at the National Art Museum of China in 1989. A set of four hand-printed books--carved from wood blocks and bound in book form with delicate, thread binding-- hold a subtle surprise. The symbols making up the text are not real. Rather the artist invented 4,000 individual meaningless glyphs, laboriously carved into the woodblocks, that have no meaning. Reality is not always as it appears.

Book artist and poet, Rick Black, fell in love with the poetry of Yehuda Amichai, while working for the Associated Press and the New York Times in Jerusalem, where he resided for six years He particularly loved Amichai’s poems that dealt with family love and war. He spent ten years creating a limited-edition artist’s book, “The Amichai Windows,” of the poet’s work. The poems are letter pressed, and embossed, with some designs highlighted in gold-leaf. One memorable papercut shows the view from Amichai’s terrace, located in an old historic Jerusalem neighborhood called Talpiyat. 

The fair also showcases a provocative new work from premiere cult zinester, Sofia Szamosi, called “#Me too On Instagram: One Year Later” and socially politically engaged publications from Interference Archive, and Justseeds Artists Cooperative. Swarthmore College’s “Friends, Peace and Sanctuary” will premiere collaborations between American artist bookmakers and artists, poets and artisans from the Syrian and Iraqi refugee community in Philadelphia. Booklyn will also represent the work of: Wolfgang Buchta, Ken Campbell, FLY, Candace Hicks, OccupyWall Street/Occuprint, David Sandlin, Maria Veronica San Martin, Veronika Schäpers, Beldan Sezen, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Re:Surgo, Sofia Szamosi, Brian D. Tripp, Marshall Weber, Sam Winston, among others. 

Fair hours are:  Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8AM - 4PM
Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9AM - 3PM

Sheraton Central Park / Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY, 10019

Admission - $15 each day, with student ID - Free
Pre-purchase a weekend pass online and save $5 or register for a complimentary pass for Sunday, March 10 - http://bit.ly/NYCBook19

Image Credit: Maria Veronica San Martin 

British Counter Terrorism Palestine Booklet 56521a_lg.jpegLos Angeles - Three scarce British pamphlets ranging from 1936 to 1946 will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on June 28, 2018.

British Air Force Booklet

In 1936, the British Air Force published a booklet entitled, “Notes on Tactical Lessons of the Palestine Rebellion.”  The booklet was published in Jerusalem and was marked secret. It was a response to the 1936 Arab Revolt due to the perceived response by the British government to the early insurgency. The 18-page booklet gives tactical directives to British pilots in response to the uprising, described as ''armed bands and saboteurs in hill country and rural districts, directed against the civil organization, armed forces, Jewish interests and road, rail and telegraph communications.'' Air tactics are presented including how to locate and hit the enemy with machine gun and bomb attacks. The last section of the booklet outlines various attacks by Arab groups in Palestine during the summer of 1936.

Bidding begins at $1,750.

Additional Information can be found at https://natedsanders.com/British_Air_Force_Booklet_Written_in_Response_to_t-LOT51492.aspx

White Paper of 1939 Booklet

The booklet being auctioned is an original printing of the White Paper of 1939- Britain’s controversial policy towards Palestine from 1939 until the United Nations took over in 1948. The 12-page booklet was “Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament.” The Palestine Statement of Policy was heavily influenced not only by the three-year-long Arab revolt in Palestine but more recently by the failed London Conference between Arabs and Jews in March 1939. Within the White Paper, the intention of creating ''a national home for the Jewish people'' is stated, with an independent Palestine to be established within ten years governed jointly by Arabs and Jews. Jewish immigration is also delineated, limited to 75,000 over five years, with subsequent numbers dependent upon Arab consent. The policy, officially adopted by the British government on May 23, 1939, was almost immediately rejected by both Arab and Jewish groups.

Bidding begins at $3,000.

Additional information can be found at https://natedsanders.com/__White_Paper_of_1939______Original_Printing_of_th-LOT51494.aspx

Rare 1946 British Counter-Terrorism Pamphlet for Palestine 

This pamphlet was published by the British ''Headquarters, Chief Engineer, Palestine and Transjordan'' in December 1946 and was entitled, “Palestine Pamphlet / Terrorist Methods With Mines and Booby Traps.” The 38-page booklet is both an instruction manual on how to detonate various types of mines and booby traps, and also a history of terrorist activity in 1946 undertaken by Jewish groups. Plates of multiple attacks are included, such as the partially destroyed King David Hotel in July 1946, and the demolished building in the David Quarter, Jerusalem, bombed in November 1946. Of that attack, the booklet reads, ''This incident is included for its illustration of the extreme methods which Jewish Terrorists may employ when planning deliberate murder.'' All seven plates are present, including the frontispiece showing a British soldier ''Disarming a Jewish Wooden Box Mine.''

Bidding begins at $2,800.

Additional information on the booklet can be found at 

SHVjayBGaW5uLnBuZw==.pngPeter Harrington, one of the world’s largest rare booksellers, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and is attending The New York International Antiquarian Book Fair in March, with a selection of rare books and manuscripts, each of which has a fascinating history. 

Highlights include:

  • An inscribed first US edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ($195,000);
  • A remarkably rare first edition of the paper Ada Lovelace, the first computer programer, wrote, which belonged to her maths tutor, who has extensively annotated it ($325,000);
  • The original typescript of Fleming's last Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun, with his corrections and those of his posthumous editor Kingsley Amis ($230,000);
  • A first edition of Brighton Rock by Graham Greene in its exceedingly rare dust jacket ($115,000);
  • An excellent first edition of Gulliver’s Travel by Jonathan Swift in a contemporary binding ($162,500).

Pom Harrington, the owner of Peter Harrington, says “We are bringing with us close to one hundred fascinating rare books and manuscripts specially selected to be of interest to visitors to the Fair. Our selection includes remarkable works by Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene and Jonathan Swift. Do come and visit us and see these unique books if you can.” 

The New York Book Fair is being held at Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York, between 66/67 Streets. It is open from noon-8pm on Friday March 8th, noon-7pm on Saturday March 9thand noon-5pm on Sunday March 10th. The Preview will take place on Thursday March 7thfrom 5pm-9pm. Peter Harrington will be on Stand D17.

Peter Harrington Rare Books is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association and offers an ‘unconditional guarantee’for each item it sells on its authenticity and completeness, as described. 

Image: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1885) $195,000. First US edition, first printing, presentation copy inscribed by Twain in the month of publication - "To Major J.B. Pond With the affections of Mark Twain Feb. 21/85". 


IMG_0386 copy.jpgTennants Auctioneers’ Book Sale on 15th March sees the sale of two Scientific works that set the stage for important breakthroughs in the understanding of the physical world. 

The first is an authorial gift copy of an extremely rare essay containing the first description of photosynthesis. Written by John Ingen-Housz FRS, An Essay on the Food of Plants and the Renovation of Soils was printed in 1796 in the Appendix to Outlines of the Fifteenth Chapter of the Proposed General Report From the Board of Agriculture on the Subject of Manures. This essay is one of the great "misplaced chapters" in the history of science. John Ingen-Housz was a brilliant 18th-century chemist, biologist and physiologist, but his most enduring contribution to science was in the discovery of the mechanism of photosynthesis. The origin of carbon in plants was not yet fully understood, the then-current theory being that it was taken from the soil by the roots. Ingen-Housz showed carbon dioxide in the air was responsible. There are two other known editions of this work, the first a German translation, is dismissed by Ingen-Housz biographer Dr Julius Wiesner as "considerably flawed", whilst Dr Bay's private reprint of 1933 omits all Ingen-Housz's marginal notes. Whilst there are some few copies of the work in institution libraries, only one has been traced at auction. Estimate: £800-1,000 plus buyer’s premium. 

Secondly is a first edition of A New System of Chemical Philosophy, written by John Dalton and published in three volumes in the early 19th century. Dalton's major contribution to the study of science was an insistence on the significance of relative atomic weights. Dalton believed that all matter was composed of indestructible and indivisible atoms of various weights, each weight corresponding to one of the chemical elements, and that these atoms remained unchanged during chemical processes. This led to his creation of the first periodic table and created the first scientific theory of the atom, based on experimentation. Dalton's work was not without flaws, in part owing to the quality of this tools, but it shaped scientific thinking and laid the groundwork for Mendelev's table. Estimate: £3,000-4,000 plus buyer’s premium. 

Also on offer in the sale is a fascinating insight into the abuses of the Porto Wine Trade in 1829 by a Commercial Investigator. The author of this intriguing work is unknown, but he was sent by a ‘Mr Lancaster’ to investigate fraud committed against him by the Porto wine trade. This journal is principally a record of the agent's findings, with digressions for sight-seeing and a letter home to his family. By this time the British monopoly, symbolised by the British Factory building, had been broken by the Portugese regulatory powers granted to the Douro Wine Company. The long and detailed breakdown of the operations of the farmers, Douro Wine Company and the English Factory covers the erratic approval process, the dubious storage mechanisms and the mixing of bad wine with good (the 1818 and 1825 vintages being especially poor) which led to the buyer not being sure about the vintage they were buying. The agent describes the splitting of the production into three: home consumption, lucrative export to Brazil, and the remaining third for the British market - all at different prices. There are several pages of probing questions and the answers he received and more on wine-growing districts and the controllers of the Company. The whole has an air of cloak and dagger - he writes about sending letters via a local agent who can get them without interception by the packet agent and about being advised not to go into the farming country because of the danger - but still has time to record the sights and experiences of travel. By the end, he is clearly seeking an exit, writing about his fatigue, before recounting a harrowing triple hanging he saw from his window. Estimate: £150-250 plus buyer’s premium. 

A charming surprise is hidden at the end of a rather unassuming 19th century scrapbook. Mostly containing hand-written poetry, coloured drawings, sketches and the like - the last page contains a marvel of papercraft. A painted roundel of a cottage is in reality a metamorphic novelty - a concertina-cut pull up that reveals a paper cut-out of a mouse on a black and white floor. Estimate: £200-300 plus buyer’s premium. 

A fully illustrated catalogue for the Books, Maps & Ephemera Sale will be available on our website, www.tennants.co.uk leading up to the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details. 

Image:  A papercraft roundel of a house and a mouse

pacioli press release image.JPGNew York - Christie’s is thrilled to announce the auction of Luca Pacioli’s Summa de arithmetica as a single-lot auction titled Summa de Arithmetica: The Birth of Modern Business directly preceding the Fine Books & Printed Manuscripts sale on 12 June 2019 at Christie’s New York (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000). Pacioli’s book, published in 1494, codified the mathematical foundations of our modern and technological world. It includes mathematics, computing, and is the first published description of double-entry book-keeping. Pacioli was among the earliest to recognize the study of economics as a liberal art and this work is the first practical how-to book on succeeding in business. The Summa de arithmetica will be toured to London from 21-27 February, New York from 7-10 March, San Francisco in April and Hong Kong in May ahead of the auction on 12 June in New York.

In writing the Summa de arithmetica, Pacioli sought to include all the mathematical knowledge available at the close of the 15th century, which saw the European adoption of Hindu-Arabic mathematics and its synthesis with rediscovered ancient Greek knowledge. Pacioli was also collaborator and friend of the famed artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. The two shared a home in Milan for five years where they worked together on mathematics and perspective for several productive years   that included Leonardo’s creation of The Last Supper, until both were forced to flee following the French invasion.

Christina Geiger, Head of Books & Manuscripts, New York states “Pacioli’s achievement is one of the great untold stories of the Renaissance. As Leonardo and others made revolutionary strides in art, and Machiavelli did for politics, so too did Pacioli for business. From double-entry bookkeeping to probability theory and computing, the mathematical principles of the most vital features of contemporary finance are all present in the Summa de arithmetica.

Pacioli’s Summa represents the pinnacle of mathematical knowledge in the Renaissance, when the forgotten wisdom of the past was brought up-to-date with Islamic and Indian science—all in service of human life and flourishing. Pacioli’s work is an icon not just of Renaissance learning, but of the history of human knowledge.

Image: Luca PACIOLI (1447-1517). Somma di arithmetica, geometria, proporzioni e proporzionalità. Venice: Paganinus de Paganinis, November 1494. Estimate: $1,000,000 - 1,500,000


Lot 57-Carrera copy.jpgNew York -- Early manuscripts, incunabula and post-incunabula lead Swann Galleries’ sale of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books on March 7.  

Illuminated manuscripts make an impression with a Prayer Book in Latin and French on vellum, France, 1530s-40s, featuring 20 large and 15 smaller miniature illustrations in color and gold. The prayer book was possibly executed for a Benedictine abbess shown in one of the miniatures, and leads the sale with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Additional decorated works include a mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, France, with full floral borders surrounding each of 12 miniatures, and a mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours in Dutch on vellum, Northern Netherlands, (Estimate: $15,000-20,000 and $8,00-12,000, respectively). 

Science and medical publications include first editions of George Agricola’s most important writings on geology, mineralogy and mining, and his monograph on ancient Greek and Roman weights and measures: De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib. V bound with De mensuris & ponderibus Romanorum atque Graecorum Lib. V, Basel, 1546, 1550, ($6,000-9,000); as well as a first edition of Frederick Ruysch’s Icon durae matris in concave [convexa] superficie visae, Amsterdam, 1737-38, with two color mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral of the outermost membrane of a human brain.

Incunabula is led by a handsome wide-margined copy of Lectura super V libris Decretalium, Basil, 1477, by Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis, part five of six of the commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX which contains the portions on marriage and criminal procedure ($4,000-6,000). Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Quaestiones de duodecim quodlibet, Venice, 1476, and a first edition of Arbor vitae crucifixae Jesu Christi, Venice, 1485, by Ubertinus de Casali ensure a stand out section ($3,000-4,000 and $3,000-5,000, respectively).

Additional highlights include a first Ibarra edition of Cervantes’s El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha … Nueva Edición, corregida por la Real Academia Española, Madrid, 1780, in four volumes. The work has been called “The finest edition of Don Quixote that has ever been printed,” and carries an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. Il Gioco de gli Scacchi, Militello, 1617, by Pietro Carrera, a first edition of one of the scarcest early Italian chess manuals, and the first book printed in Militello, is expected to bring $4,000 to $6,000; Michel de Nostradamus’s The True Prophecies or Prognostications, first complete edition in English, London, 1672, comes across the block at $2,500 to $3,500; and a first edition of Medices legatus de exsilio, Venice, 1522, by Petrus Alcyonius, recounting two imaginary dialogues between Giovanni and Giulio de’ Medici in 1512 on the subject of exile. The two were later exiled from Florence along with their nephew Lorenzo ($2,000-3,000). 

Exhibition opening in New York City March 2. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 57: Pietro Carrera, Il Gioco de gli Scacchi, first edition, Militello, 1617. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

EINSTEIN GOD LETTER IN ENGLISH copy.jpgNew York -- Bonhams announces the seventh installment collector Eric C. Caren's voluminous collection of How History Unfolds on Paper, an online-only sale from March 6-14, with an exhibition in the New York galleries March 7-11. The collection begins in the 17th century and covers 4 centuries of American and world history, focusing primarily on letters, documents, and printed media. 

Highlighting the sale is an Albert Einstein letter written to a young U.S. Naval Officer near the end of World War II (estimate: $100,000-200,000). The young man had written to Einstein relaying a conversation he'd had with a Jesuit priest who claimed he had convinced the scientist to believe in a "supreme intellect which governs the universe."  Rather than his usual cagey response, Einstein admits that he has always been an atheist, but that the world is indeed wondrous: "We have to admire in humility the beautiful harmony of the structure of the world--as far as we can grasp it.  And that is all."  The letter includes its original envelope, and copies of the original outgoing correspondence.

From America's pre-Revolutionary War period, two highlights include examples of patriot Paul Revere's artwork: a first issue of his famous engraving of Boston Harbor, published in a 1770 Boston almanac (estimate: $15,000-25,000); and a rare variant of his even more famous engraving of the Boston Massacre showing British soldiers firing on American colonists (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

An important Revolutionary War highlight is the military commission appointing Benjamin Lincoln as Major General of the Army of the United States, signed by John Hancock as President of the Continental Congress (estimate: $60,000-90,000). Issued in February 1777, the appointment was signed at Baltimore during the brief window of time that city served as the nation's capital.  Interestingly, this appointment as Major General (one of 5 suggested by George Washington), provoked jealousy and outrage in Benedict Arnold, who was not one of the 5 promoted, and who nursed a grudge which likely led him to betray his country a short while later.

Further highlights include reportage of Alexander Hamilton's duel with Aaron Burr, providing both an account of the tragic event and printing the correspondence exchanged between the two in the run up. Most devastatingly for Burr, the paper prints Hamilton's message to his family, in which he announces his intention to throw away his shot (and make Burr look the villain) (estimate: $3,000-5000); two remarkable broadsides from the War of 1812: a Baltimore paper's first hand account of the bombardment of Fort McHenry (estimate: $8,000-12,000), and a rare, early printing of the full lyrics of the "Star Spangled Banner" (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

The sale also offers several items of Mormon interest, including a fine copy of the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon (estimate: $40,000-60,000), and an 1844 letter from an early church member relaying a first-hand account of Joseph Smith's last words to his flock before his death at the hands of a mob (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

From the realm of sports, the collection offers the earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth (estimate: $6,000-9,000). In an April 4, 1914 issue of the Baltimore News, as the Babe's first professional season with the Orioles got underway, the newspaper emphasized the young player's prowess as a pitcher, not a batter, reporting that the "St. Mary's schoolboy is going to do plenty of twirling."  Not long after this story appeared, Ruth was traded to the Red Sox, who would infamously trade him to the Yankees after only 2 years.

Image: Einstein "God Letter" in English. Einstein, Albert. 1879-1955. Estimate: $100,000-200,000

Lot 20-Hallo.jpgNew York-Swann Galleries’ February 7 sale of Vintage Posters saw numerous firsts and records. Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann President, noted, “Lively bidding for ski posters and Art Nouveau images set the pace for an enthusiastic auction where eager bidders drove prices high for rare examples. Collectors dominated the activity.”

The sale was led by Alphonse Mucha’s Documents Décoratifs, 1902, a complete portfolio with 72 plates displaying examples of jewelry, furniture and silverware, as well as illustrations of how to draw women and flowers. The portfolio, which prominently displayed Mucha’s stylistic expertise, reached $18,750. Other notable works by the artist included Rêverie, 1897, which sold for $8,125; Biscuits Lefèvre - Utile, 1897, The Seasons, 1896, a group of four decorative panels on fabric, and The Times of the Day / Éveil du Matin, 1899, each earning $7,500.

Additional Art Nouveau posters included records for La Garonne, 1898, a whimsical image by Arthur Foäche, at $5,460, and The Studio, 1899, by Frank Brangwyn, with $5,000. Louis J. Rhead’s colorful image, Le Journal de la Beauté, 1897, originally commissioned by La Plume, sold for $6,750.

Firsts at auction included a 1927 advertisement for the Stockholm premier of Josephine Baker’s La Sirène des Tropiques, which featured Baker in her “pearl and feather” costume, and brought $9,750; Gli Avvisi Delle Officine G. Ricordi E C., a complete portfolio with 70 plates, by G. Ricordi celebrating the rise of the poster in Italy, was won for $7,500; and Walter L. Greene’s circa 1924 oil painting for the cover of The GE Monogram garnered $6,500.

Posters promoting travel to popular ski destinations proved successful, with Emil Cardinaux’s Palace Hotel St. Moritz, 1922, depicting an alpine round of golf and picnic, brought $5,500, and Jungfrau Bahn / Berneroberland, Schweiz, a 1919 German advertisement showing a group of skiers overlooking Aletsch Glacier in the Alps, earned $5,000. A Chamonix - Mont Blanc, 1927, by Alo (Charles Hallo), a lively image of a mid-air skier, set a record with $5,000.

The next auction of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries will be held on May 23 with Graphic Design. Visit www.swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries app for catalogues, bidding and inquiries.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 20: Alo, Charles Hallo, A Chamonix - Mont Blanc, 1927. Sold for $5,000, a record for the work.

Federalist Heritage copy.jpgDallas, Texas - A rare copy of The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution and an extraordinary collection of more than 230 mystery fiction books from the owner of the world’s oldest and largest premiere mystery specialist bookstore, headline Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books Auction March 6 in New York.

Popularly referred to as The Federalist Papers, the two-volume set is considered by American historians as the cornerstone of the new nation’s theory of government. The essays are attributed to founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.

The Federalist Papers were written as part of an effort to get the New York delegation to ratify the Constitution - it made the case for Federalism and sought to convince the citizens of the states,” Heritage Auctions Rare Books Director James Gannon said. “Probably around 500 copies were printed, and this example is particularly rare because it’s still in the publisher’s boards. You just don’t find them like this.”

A Maurice Sendak “Moo-Reese” Tabletop Cow (estimate $75,000+) was drawn and painted in 2000 by Sendak, with help from Lynn Caponera. As a part of the “Cow Parade” in New York, Chicago and Zurich, Sendak was invited to decorate a full-sized cow, but chose instead to use this one, which measures 27 inches long. The molded plaster figure, decorated in pencil and water color with multiple characters from the popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, was sold at a 2003 fundraiser to support the Chicago Opera Theater.

Otto Penzler won an Edgar Award as co-author of the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, founded The Mysterious Press and owns The Mysterious Bookshop in New York. His collection of mystery fiction is considered among the most extensive in the world.

“Otto Penzler is among the most important book collectors anywhere, and is a fixture in the mystery books community,” Gannon said. “He has spent a lifetime assembling an incredible collection, and his decision to bring them to auction represents a rare opportunity for serious book collectors to acquire some incredible volumes.”

Among the top lots from the Penzler collection:

·         A rare first edition in the original first printing dustjacket of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest (estimate: $60,000+) prompted Penzler himself to call it the world’s best copy

·         Raymond Chandler’s 1939 The Big Sleep (estimate: $30,000+) is a first edition signed by Chandler on the front free endpaper with the note “With kindest regards.” Donald A. Yates’ copy, in an exceptional dust jacket, features his own signature in ink.

·         Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon (estimate: $30,000+) is a first edition and perhaps the highspot of the hard-boiled canon. The first book to feature Sam Spade, it was adapted for the screen four times; the third and best-known version, which was shot in 1941, starred Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, and was directed by John Huston.

·         Dashiell Hammett The Dain Curse (estimate: $25,000+) is another first edition that is difficult to locate in a nice jacket, especially one that is unrestored. The author’s second book and the final Continental Op novel, it originally was published in four parts in Black Mask from November 1928 to February 1929.

·         A first edition association copy, inscribed for literature professor Donald A. Yates, Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (estimate: $20,000+) is the author’s follow-up to The Big Sleep. It is the second title featuring Philip Marlowe but the first to reach the big screen, when it was released in 1944 as “Murder, My Sweet.”

·         Hammett’s $106,000 Blood Money is an original paperback first edition (estimate: $20,000+) that combines “The Big Knockover” and “$106,000 Blood Money” into a single novel. This association copy is inscribed by Hammett to Lillian Hellman: “To Lillian - on the occasion / of one of her birthdays / Dashiell (nothing is too good for the ‘ little woman) Hammett / June 20, 1943” in a note written just five days after publication.

·         Edgar A[llan]. Poe. Tales (estimate: $12,000+) is a first edition, first printing. A remarkably clean copy, it includes bookplates of Edwin Marion Cox (identified in the holdings of Penn Libraries) and Michael Sadleir, an English author and noted book collector known for his 19th-century British Fiction collection at UCLA and his Gothic Romance collection at the University of Virginia.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         David Roberts The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia (estimate: $30,000+)

·         Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline in London: A Little Sunshine, A Little Rain (estimate: $20,000+)

·         Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, [1960] (estimate: $15,000)

·         J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, comprising: The Fellowship of the Ring (estimate: $12,000)

·         Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan, 1874 (estimate: $7,500)

Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books Auction Featuring The Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction, Part One will take place March 6 in New York.+

Philadelphia - Declared by the National Register of Historic Places to be “a noteworthy representative of a peculiar residential building type prevalent in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century period of American architecture,” Virginia House was the permanent residence of American diplomat Alexander Weddell (1876-1948) and his wife Virginia Chase Steedman Weddell (1874-1948). Their 16th century English manor was originally constructed as “Hawk’s Nest” by Thomas Hawkins (aka Fisher) in Warwick, England out of materials salvaged from the Warwick Priory; it was saved from demolition by the Weddells, who ultimately deconstructed and shipped the predominantly Tudor house overseas to Virginia where it was reassembled and modified in the late 1920s.

An amalgam of architectural styles, the house is also furnished eclectically, enhanced by furniture, textiles and decorative arts hailing from different geographical regions that were acquired during the Weddells’ personal and professional travels. Relatively unchanged since the Weddells’ untimely death in 1948, the house remains a time capsule -- a glimpse back to an era when affluent Americans adopted a Eurocentric aesthetic for their homes, grounds and gardens. Perhaps moreso though, the house’s furnishings are imbued with personal meaning, remaining as souvenirs of the couple’s stays in foreign and exotic regions such as India, Mexico City, Argentina, and Spain, as dictated by Mr. Weddell’s shifting ambassadorial duties.

In 1907, Weddell secured appointment as secretary to the minister to Denmark, beginning a successful career in Foreign Service punctuated by appointments to Zanzibar, Sicily, Beirut, Athens, Cairo. Later in Calcutta, Weddell met his future wife, Virginia Atkinson Chase, who was at the time on a round-the-world tour with her friends. Bonding over their mutual love of travel, history, art and collecting, the couple began a whirlwind romance that culminated in their marriage in 1923. Weddell opted to retire from the Foreign Service in 1928 after a four year stint in Mexico City, he was called out of retirement in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed him Ambassador to Argentina and then to Spain. Weddell retired permanently in 1942, and the couple then returned to Virginia and to their permanent home, Virginia House, which Alexander fondly named after his beloved wife.Through the Weddells’ remarkable travels they lovingly assembled a cohesive and impressive collection of English, Spanish, Ottoman, and Latin American furniture, decorative arts, and paintings, as well as silver, Southeast Asian bronzes, Gothic and Renaissance sculpture, Brussels and Mortlake tapestries, carpets, and textiles. Enamored of the erudite and genteel English country life, Alexander built a refined and extensive library of early manuscripts and reference texts in the gentlemanly tradition, while Virginia developed a very fine collection of English and Spanish embroideries, French and Italian silks and velvets, and ecclesiastical vestments to furnish their home and upholster their antiques. Furniture highlights from the collection include a fine Spanish Baroque walnut and giltwood vargueño on stand, a rare Elizabethan marquetry oak court cupboard, an exceptional late Elizabethan/early Jacobean carved oak court cupboard, and a very early Ottoman inlaid walnut chest circa 1400. Of special note are a group of Himalayan bronze, copper alloy, and carved wood Buddhist works of art, collected by the Weddells on their travels in India and China. The earliest works date to the 15th century and include a fine figure of Buddha with elaborate engraved robe, and two large Nepalese figures of bodhisattvas. Ottoman silver and tombak; Russian niello snuffboxes from the period of Catherine the Great; and English, French, American, and Mexican silver are also represented.

The Weddells carefully chose paintings that complemented the Jacobean interiors of their home, and foremost among them are an impressive Jacobean portrait of an English nobleman and his child, thought to be Sir Francis Clarke and his daughter Dorothy; a period portrait of Sir Henry Norris, Baron of Rycote; as well as a rare portrait of a female courtier by German artist Franz Kessler, executed in 1620. During their time in South America, the couple also brought home several fine examples of the Spanish Colonial School. Of particular note is a 17th century painting done in the style of the Cusco School that the Weddells purchased in Lima, Peru in 1937. The work depicts the Death of the Virgin, surrounded by numerous mourning saints dressed in richly decorated gold brocaded robes.

In 1929, Virginia House was presented by the Weddells to the Virginia Historical Society, where Alexander served as President, under an agreed lifetime tenancy. Following the Weddells’ tragic and unexpected deaths in a train accident on New Year’s Day 1948, the Historical Society took ownership and management of the property, serving as faithful stewards of the house and collection for seventy years. Virginia House has remained open to the public as a historic house museum, and in 2017 the Historical Society’s board of trustees approved a plan to increase the use of Virginia House with a focus on donor stewardship, public and private events, and interpretive programs. The Historical Society has partnered with Freeman’s to assist in the thoughtful deaccessioning of items unrelated to the mission of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, the Historical Society’s primary accessioning institution. Proceeds from the sale will be placed in a restricted fund for the preservation of the property’s historic structures and landscape features and the acquisition and direct care of collections used to interpret the site and the extraordinary story of Alexander and Virginia Weddell.


Thursday & Friday, April 04 & 05: 10am-5pm

Saturday & Sunday, April 06 & 07: 12pm-5pm

Monday & Tuesday, April 08 & 09: 10am-5pm

By appointment only on the morning of the sale


Wednesday, April 10, 2019: 10 am

138.jpgFalls Church, Virginia - A letter written by Abraham Lincoln in the early days of the Civil War, a document from 1793 signed by Washington and Jefferson; and a rare first-edition copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) are a few of the highlight lots in a February 28 auction to be hosted by the Waverly Rare Books division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. Start time is 6 p.m. Eastern, and all forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live LiveAuctioneers.

The one-page Lincoln letter, framed and handwritten on Executive Mansion stationery, was penned on June 10, 1861, just two months after the firing on Fort Sumter. Lincoln writes to Captain John Adolphus Dahlgren (1809-1870), asking about the possible government purchase of a new gun. He signs it, “Yours truly, A. Lincoln.” The letter should command $6,000-$8,000.

The 1793 document, signed by George Washington as President and Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, regards the appointment of Thomas Benbury to “Inspector of the Revenue for Survey Number Two in the District of North Carolina,” just a week before Benbury’s death. Affixed with the Seal of the United States and nicely framed, the document has an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

The first-edition, first-printing copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly), is expected to reach $3,000-$5,000. Published in 1852 by John P. Jewett & Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), the book includes several anomalies (example: it says “cathecism” rather than “catechism”). It has a modern, tan leather binding, with the book’s title on the spine.

Also among books pertaining to Black Americana and slavery, a first-edition copy of Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom (Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), should knock down $800-$1,200. With an introduction by Dr. James McCune Smith, the book shows the ownership inscription of Mrs. Mary Huntington (Mexico, N.Y.) and is dated 1855.

Items pertaining to the Kennedys seem to hold endless fascination for collectors. A 1961 inaugural-edition hardback copy of John F. Kennedy’s best-selling book Profiles in Courage (Harper & Brothers, N.Y.), with dust jacket, carries a pre-sale estimate of $400-$600. The book is inscribed: “For Betty Osborn - with every good wish,” possibly written by JFK’s secretary.

Jackie Kennedy memorabilia often has more value than items directly connected to JFK, as is the case with her black lace mantilla (or head scarf), which is expected to realize $1,000-$2,000. The 60-inch by 23-inch mantilla is from the collection of Mary B. Gallagher, Jackie’s personal secretary, secretary to John F. Kennedy when he was a U.S. Senator, and the author of My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy. 

A pair of Confederate Civil War diaries is being offered as one lot, with an estimate of $1,000-$2,000. One, from 1862, is presumed to be that of Private John Carpenter, who writes with clarity and immediacy about the battles of Fredericksburg, Antietam and Pickett’s Brigade. The other one, from 1865, is from Private H.H. Ewbank and contains notes about the post-war period.

A first-edition copy of The Gospel According to Saint John, one of 2,000 copies printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society (London, 1804), with text in English and Mohawk on facing pages, should fetch $800-$1,200. According to the book, “The translator was a young educated Mohawk named Teyoninhokarawen, commonly called John Norton.” 

A Ronald Reagan briefing sheet, signed by Reagan and dated August 11, 1988, is expected to make $200-$400. The matted sheet measures 24 inches by 18 inches and reads, “START: Are we better off with a START agreement?” Below that Reagan inscribes, “Yes. Ronald Reagan.” From the Reagan Foundation’s diary entry: “A fruitful meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

One lot containing more than 40 photographs from the Secret Service archives carries a pre-sale estimate of $200-$400. The photos are of historical luminaries including Presidents Jimmy Carter, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Harry Truman.

The Feb. 28, 2019 Presidential & Americana Auction will be held at Quinn’s gallery, 360 S. Washington St., Falls Church, Virginia. Bid live at the gallery, by phone, absentee, or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. For preview hours, please consult the company’s website, www.quinnsauction.com. The gallery is closed on Sundays.

For additional information about any item, please call 703-532-5632, extension 575; or e-mail waverly@quinnsauction.com. View the online catalog and register to bid absentee or live online, at LiveAuctioneers.com. Visit Quinn’s and Waverly’s online at: http://www.quinnsauction.com

Image: Lot 138, First-edition, first-printing copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly), published in 1852 by John P. Jewett & Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), est. $3,000-$5,000

Boston Athenaeum Announces Expansion

4th floor_LongRoom-Rendering w label.jpgBoston—The Boston Athenæum, a distinguished and vibrant independent library and cultural institution, announces its expansion via a long-term lease of 19,400 square feet in an adjacent building at 14 Beacon Street.

The lease will provide the Athenæum’s historic and contemporary collections with room to flourish, while better serving patrons and simplifying staff workflows. It will:

  • restore much-needed space for library members in the peaceful, architecturally-significant reading rooms at 10 ½ Beacon Street, while enhancing acoustics and accessibility;
  • add shelves for the continually-growing library of more than half a million items in the circulating library;
  • increase and improve spaces for events, discussion groups, visitors, and rentals;
  • create connected workspaces for cataloging, conserving, digitizing, curating, and teaching with the special collections, comprising more than 100,000 rare books, manuscripts, artworks and other materials; and
  • connect floorplates in the two buildings to facilitate open circulation between patron and staff spaces in both 10 ½ Beacon and 14 Beacon, a move that will foster collaboration and innovation to serve patrons better.

“The board has long known of the need for additional space to care for our library’s valuable and ever-expanding holdings,” says John S. Reed, president of the Athenæum’s Board of Trustees. “We looked at a range of options for responsible growth over time, including moving collections off-site—a prospect soundly rejected by our members. After months of careful deliberation, we are happy to have identified a practical, cost-effective solution right next door.”

“Contiguous space has become available only a handful of times in the last century,” Reed says. “We appreciate the singular opportunity to enter into a long-term lease with Faros Properties. They appreciate the Athenæum’s mission of engaging people who seek knowledge, and stewarding our library full of treasures. They understand the importance of this historic library to the city of Boston.”

The two-year project is advancing with an experienced team: owner’s project managers Smith+St. John; the architecture firm of Schwartz/Silver, known for its award-winning designs for libraries, museums, and historically-significant structures; and Windover Construction of Beverly, MA, a construction management firm with expertise in historic renovation and preservation for museum, cultural, academic, and institutional clients.

“The expansion will benefit Athenæum members and staff, and it will also serve those in the scholarly community who will come to conduct research,” says Creelea Pangaro, a vice president of the Board. “We will be able to move employees out of improvised workspaces that developed over time in the architecturally-significant rooms at 10½ Beacon, and into connected, efficiently-organized offices at number 14. We will be renovating 2,000 square feet of space for storing our special collections. Most significantly, the move will free up more than 4,000 square feet in the one-of-a-kind library environment for the use of the library’s devoted members, who come to read, think, write, and gather together for discussions and events.”

Additionally, members and visitors will find improved first-floor facilities for visiting, reading, and attending lectures and concerts. Beautiful, rentable meeting and social spaces will be made available to the Boston community during times when members are not using them for discussion groups, book talks, and other activities.

This year marks the Athenæum’s 170th anniversary at 10½ Beacon Street, an edifice that was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The library has undergone renovations frequently through its history, to accommodate the rapid growth of the collections, fire-proof the building, and install modern climate control, security, and accessibility elements. Partial expansion into the basement and first floor of 14 Beacon was completed in 2002; before that, the last major space expansion took place in 1914-15 with the addition of two additional levels, the fourth and fifth floors, to the original structure.

“The Athenæum is a breathtaking special resource—for its members, our neighbors in Boston, and scholars from around the world,” Pangaro says. “Over many decades, the spaces and activities within its walls have evolved to meet the needs of library patrons—some changing, and others constant. We’re proud to announce a thoughtful expansion that will build on the library’s legacy and demonstrate our investment in its continuation and betterment, far into the future.”

For additional information and visuals, including periodic progress reports, visit the Boston Athenæum online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Image: Rendering of the renovated fourth floor. 

Lux Mentis - higher res req.jpegNew York—The beloved New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYIABF) produced by Sanford L. Smith + Associates returns to the Park Avenue Armory for its 59th edition March 7-10, 2019. A mecca for bibliophiles and seekers of the curious and quirky, the fair will present a vast treasure trove of material - rare books, maps, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, fine bindings, illustrations, historical documents and print ephemera.

The Book Fair, widely considered the finest antiquarian book fair in the world, has been a must-see event for seasoned connoisseurs and scholars. In recent years, it has increasingly captivated young collectors with unique offerings at accessible price points. The specialties encompass art, science, medicine, literature, history, culinary culture, fashion, first editions, Americana, philosophy, children’s books and much more. From the historic and academic, to the religious and spiritual, to the bedrock of secular culture - sex, lies, rock-n-roll, money, politics - the fair has offerings in every conceivable genre and subject. NYIABF is officially sanctioned by Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).

In its 59th edition, NYIABF will present more than 200 exhibitors culled from the finest American and international antiquarian dealers. In addition to 102 U.S. galleries, NYIABF enjoys strong international participation with galleries hailing from the United Kingdom (38), France (19), Germany (10), Italy (11), The Netherlands (6), Spain (1), Denmark (2), Australia (3), Austria (4), Argentina (3), Canada (2), Japan (2), Belgium (2), Czech Republic (1), and Switzerland (5).

Image: Credit Timothy Ely. Courtesy of Lux Mentis Booksellers.


gclmmjkibimagdod.jpgNew York-Swann Galleries’ March 5 auction boasts property from the Ismar Littmann Family Collection, a 160-lot offering of German Expressionism and European Avant-Garde. The afternoon session of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings features an array of works from notable Modern, nineteenth-century and American artists.

Compiled in a separate catalogue, the Littmann offering celebrates a singular collector. Ismar Littmann began collecting in the 1910s, and his habits and tastes were individual and contemporary to the time-a parallel to the independent spirit of the Breslau art scene. The personal relationships he held with the artists, particularly Otto Mueller, had a deep influence on him and resulted in a collection with depth and insight, consisting of not only works of art, but correspondence between the collector and artists. By the end of the 1920s Littmann had acquired more than 6,000 works. The Nazis’ rise to power put a strain on the collector’s livelihood as well as art patronage, and much of the collection was lost or destroyed. Littmann’s combined financial and personal losses, as well as the overwhelming persecution of his faith and culture, led him to commit suicide in September of 1934. Littmann’s eldest son was able to immigrate to the United States with a portion of the family collection that same year. These works, along with additional pieces sent later, have since remained with the family. Swann Galleries is very pleased and honored to have been trusted with the historic offering.  

Notable lots include Otto Mueller’s color lithographs from 1926-27, Zwei Zigeunerinnen (Zigeunermutter mit Tochter) and Lagernde Zigeunerfamilie mit Ziege which are expected to bring $25,000 to $35,000 and $30,000 to $50,000, respectively. Max Pechstein’s portfolio of 50 lithographs, Reisebilder: Italien-Sudsee, 1919, depicting scenes from Italy and Germany (Estimate: $25,000-35,000), as well as the watercolor Russisches Ballet, 1912, and a woodcut, Sommer I, 1912, are among the highlights ($15,000-20,000 and $10,000-15,000, respectively). Further works include Allee im Tiergarten, Berlin, circa 1920, a color pastel depiction of an urban landscape by Lesser Ury, and a Nicolas Ghika oil on canvas, Intérieur avec chevalet d’artiste, circa 1920s, that portrays the artist’s studio. Both are estimated at $50,000 to $80,000. 

The afternoon session following the Littmann Collection offers a broad selection of high-end prints and drawings. The top lot is Edvard Munch’s Kyss IV, 1902-a first-state woodblock print based on the artist’s oil painting of the same title. Only six other impressions of Kyss IV have come to auction in the past 30 years ($150,000-250,000). Additional works by Modern masters include Sonia Delaunay’s color pochoir and watercolor illustration of Blaise Cendrars’ poem La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France, 1913, which explored the frustrated yet wonderous experience of living through a period of ever-accelerating modernity ($70,000-100,000); Natura Morta con Cinque Oggetti, 1956, a still-life etching by Giorgio Morandi ($30,000-50,000); and Joan Miró’s  La Permissionaire, 1974, ($40,000-60,000).

Nineteenth-century stalwarts include artist-friends (and rivals) Paul Gaugin and Vincent van Gogh, with remarkable works on paper: Noa Noa, 1893-94, a superb color woodcut by Gaugin, is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000, and Van Gogh’s Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, 1890, the artist’s only known etching, comes across the block at $80,000 to $120,000. William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job, 1826, complete with 22 engravings, is expected to bring $30,000 to $50,000.   

Highlights from the American section include Winslow Homer’s Mending the Tears, 1888­-a line-based etching of rural women darning a fishing net ($10,000-15,000). Martin Lewis’s quintessential New York drypoint Rain on Murray Hill, 1928, displays the artist’s mastery of depicting nocturnal and atmospheric conditions ($15,000-20,000). Works by Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, and Joseph Pennell ensure a standout selection.   

Exhibition opening in New York City February 28. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries’ App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 112: Otto Mueller, Lagernde Zigeunerfamilie mit Ziege, color lithograph, 1926-27. From the Ismar Littmann Family Collection. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.

Talbot_RooflineLacock_sharpened_PR 2.jpgNew York - Photography on paper was born in 1839 in England at Lacock Abbey. A new exhibition of photographs juxtaposes the work of its inventor William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) with the contemporary work of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Abelardo Morell, and Mike Robinson. Lacock Abbey: Birthplace of Photography on Paper will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs from March 2 through May 10, 2019. The exhibition, which pays tribute to Talbot’s beloved ancestral home in Wiltshire, features architectural exteriors and interiors, still lifes, portraits, and tree studies by Talbot, complemented by interpretations from three contemporary artists, who have been inspired by his pioneering photographs.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is one of the earliest examples of Talbot’s calotype negative process, Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, a salt print from September 1840, made the year after he announced his invention to the world. This apparently unique print has never before been exhibited. (This is confirmed by The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, which was just released by the Bodleian Libraries.) Set in Lacock’s northeast courtyard, this spectral image of shows Talbot’s innate compositional talent emphasizing the geometric proportions of his home. 

Talbot demonstrated that photography could serve as a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds with his Bust of Patroclus, 1842. The plaster bust of Patroclus, defender of Achilles, was one of Talbot’s most frequently used subjects. Unlike a person, a plaster cast remains steady during the long exposures and experiments with lighting. This boldly sculpted, highly reflective head modulated light and shadow in an infinite number of ways from a wide variety of angles. Talbot’s brush strokes around the border of this exceptional salt print identify this as an early print coated by hand. Later prints appeared in Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, the first commercially-published photographically-illustrated book (1844-1846). The print on view was made from the same calotype negative as was later used in The Pencil. Art historians are indebted to Talbot, because his invention allowed scholars to study objects in photographic reproduction.

Also on display is Lace, a fine early 1840s salt print. The negative for this print was made without a camera by placing an intricate piece of lace on a sheet of photographically-sensitized paper, capturing its shadow, and producing the boldly graphic image. When Talbot held Lace in front of a group of people they believed it to be an actual piece of lace and were astounded to learn that it was a photographic representation instead. Physically flat, highly detailed, and possessing myriad distinctive anomalies such as torn threads, Lace was an ideal exemplar of Talbot’s method of demonstrating photography’s ability to record a level of detail comparable to that found in still lifes by the most accomplished Dutch painters. 

Talbot’s home and his interpretations of it have inspired several living artists. Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948) renews our sense of the wonder and mystery that accompanied the dawn of photography and pays homage to Talbot in An Oriel Window at Lacock Abbey, probably Summer 1835, a toned gelatin silver print from 2010.  Sugimoto photographed one of Talbot’s earliest photogenic drawing negatives, inverted the image during the production process, and greatly enlarged it, obtaining a positive print of a negative the inventor had never printed.  He then toned the image in colors corresponding to the colors of Talbot’s own prints.  Sugimoto’s creative intervention is a reflection on the medium, implicitly narrating its beginnings while gesturing toward his vision of its future. 

Abelardo Morell (American, b. 1948, Cuba) made his first picture using camera obscura techniques in his darkened living room in 1991. The exhibition includes a print of Camera Obscura: Courtyard Building, Lacock Abbey, England, from 2003, made by the artist partly in homage to Talbot and partly to suggest the ongoing spirit his invention continues to instill in the curiosity and practice of present day artists.

Ironically, the most recent pictures in the show are daguerreotypes made in 2018 by Mike Robinson (Canadian, b. 1961).  He boldly brings his mastery of the French inventor Daguerre’s process to the home of the British inventor of photography on paper. 

A reception for the exhibition is being held on Saturday, March 2nd in conjunction with the first ADAA Upper East Side Gallery Walk.

Image: William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-1877); Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, September 1840; Salt print from a calotype negative, 8.0 x 8.2 cm

ce4673ff640bf7adc4bd70f2_1220x574.jpgNew York-The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the exterior restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, designed by McKim, Mead & White. The four-year, $12.5 million project, which marks the first preservation of the landmark library’s exterior in its 112-year history, will restore and conserve one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture in the United States, enhance the surrounding grounds, improve the exterior lighting of the building, and increase public access to and appreciation of this historic architectural treasure. 

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is the heart of the Morgan Library & Museum. Commissioned in 1902 by financier John Pierpont Morgan as his private library, the building was completed in 1906 and is considered one of McKim, Mead & White’s finest works, perfectly embodying the Renaissance ideal of the unity of the arts through the integration of architecture, sculpture, and painting with exceptional craftsmanship and materials. The structure reflects its contents: majestic in design, yet intimate in scale.

In 2010 the Morgan restored the interior rooms of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. In 2016 the Morgan began planning for the exterior restoration by engaging Integrated Conservation Resources (ICR), a firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures, to provide an initial needs assessment of the Library’s condition. Following the needs assessment, the Morgan engaged ICR to undertake a more detailed analysis of the building, which resulted in a fully articulated restoration approach. ICR, supported by the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, carefully studied and documented existing conditions, installed data loggers to monitor the performance of the exterior envelope, tested proposed remediations, and finalized the restoration’s details.

The forthcoming restoration will be comprehensive and will address issues such as masonry deterioration, masonry joint failure, roof conditions, deterioration of the fence and other metalwork corrosion, and sculpture conservation.

In conjunction with the restoration, exterior lighting on J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library—currently minimal and ineffective—will be improved by enhancing existing light emanating from the interior, using historic fixtures coupled with new technologies. The scheme will create a painterly effect of layered light at dusk and dark. Developed by Tillett Lighting Design Associates, the new lighting design will give the Library a subtle, timeless, and inviting presence.

Restoring J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library presents a unique opportunity to reimagine the natural setting around it and to provide for visitor access to the site’s exterior for the first time in the institution’s history. The current landscaping—comprising a simple lawn and trees—does little to complement the architecture of the Library, nor does it provide accessible pathways or spaces to encourage visitor interaction with the landmark building’s exterior. By creating new spaces and opportunities for engagement, the project will help to reinvigorate this portion of the Morgan’s campus, which has been less visible to visitors since the Morgan’s entrance shifted from 36th Street to Madison Avenue as part of the 2006 Renzo Piano-designed expansion.

After an extensive search, the Morgan has engaged Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design to develop designs to address these issues. An accomplished landscape architect, historian, teacher, and author, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan has led notable projects in the United Kingdom, including for Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace Gardens, and the Royal College of Art. This is his first appointment in the United States. Longstaffe-Gowan will collaborate with New York-based Future Green Studio to ensure the development of plantings that will flourish in New York City’s dense, challenging environment. 

“Restoring the sublime exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is far and away our most important capital project for the next decade,” said Director Colin B. Bailey. “This is our responsibility. And, in many respects, it is our privilege.Once the restoration of the Library is complete and the grounds are revitalized, the public will be able to engage more fully with one of McKim, Mead & White’s most important architectural achievements. The enhanced grounds will create a generous new space for outdoor programming and allow visitors to look closely at the exterior architectural and sculptural details of the Library.”

To date, 74 percent of the required $12.5 million is funded. On-site work will commence in February 2019, directed by Sciame and executed by Nicholson & Galloway, longtime partners in the architectural expansion and stewardship of the Morgan. Restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library will be completed by December 2019, at which point work will commence on the surrounding grounds.The library will still be open to visitors during the restoration process.The entire restoration and rehabilitation of the grounds will be unveiled to the public and accessible in fall 2020. The unveiling will be accompanied by an exhibition chronicling the history of the Library, as well as a scholarly publication.

Image: Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Madison Avenue near East 36th Street. J.P. Morgan Library. Museum of the City of New York, X2010.7.1.197.

d85ac479-596f-4459-aa6d-3ba960b0a23e.pngTo celebrate the 145th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton's birth, Jonkers Rare Books are pleased to stage a selling exhibition featuring some of the rarest books about his life and expeditions, as well as items referring to other famous expeditions from the history of Polar exploration. Shackleton was recently voted by the British public as the greatest explorer of the 20th Century in the BBC Icons series.

Jonkers are exhibiting a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts and artwork at their showroom, 27 Hart Street, Henley on Thames, on his birthday, Friday, February 15, 2019, and publishing an accompanying catalogue with full descriptions of the expeditions and the rare items offered. The exhibition will move to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, March 7-10. All listed items are for sale.

Some books are remarkable for what they have to say about the polar regions, others were actually produced by Shackleton's men in the Antarctic.

Shackleton highlights from the exhibition include:

20 - Aurora Australis The First Book Printed And Bound In Antarctica. A remarkable feat of publishing, book design and determination in the conditions most ill-fitting on the planet for book production.

Three of the expedition's crew were trained in book production by the printers Joseph Causton and Sons in advance of the expedition, who also donated the expedition a print press. But little could prepare them for the problems they would face. A candle had to be kept under the ink to prevent it from freezing, and only a page or two could be produced per day throughout the winter. The finished product, a book of incredible beauty and a testament to the perseverance of the Antarctic explorers who produced it, is the holy grail of Antarctic books. This copy is one of only a few signed by Shackleton, and it is priced at £150,000.

21 - Shackleton's Antarctic Menu. How Shackleton's Men Celebrated Midwinter. The other item printed on Shackleton's printing press in the Antarctic is this very rare menu, which was set around the table for the expedition's Midwinter Feast of 1908. The feast was, according to Shackleton himself, "a release, and an occasion for a wild spree." This tongue in cheek menu captures the high-spirits of the occasion. It proposes a starter of Turtle Soup, followed by Penguin Patties and Seal Cutlets. The pièce de résistance was Roast Reindeer and Black Currant Jelly with a garnish of Potatoes and Green Peas. Dessert was a selection of Plum Pudding, Ealing Cake and Mince Pies. Champagne and whisky are prescribed throughout, followed by Coffee, Cigars and Cigarettes. A 'drunk' typesetter then proposed yet "MORE WHISHKY!!!!!?" before "Sledges at 12-30". There was likely little more than a dozen copies of this menu originally printed, and only a handful of those are known to survive today. This copy is the one brought back from the Antarctic by expedition's cook, William Roberts.

No. 22 - An Original Employment Contract For Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition. This collection also features an original employment contract for the Nimrod expedition between Ernest Shackleton and the expedition's cook William Roberts. Unruly cooks had caused problems on previous Antarctic expeditions but Roberts was sound choice, who had experience both on land and sea and had most recently been the pastry chef at the Naval & Military Club. His work seems to have been appreciated. A visitor to the Cape Royd's kitchen years later commented "Shackleton's men must have fed like turkey cocks for all the delicacies here". Original contracts of this kind for Antarctic expeditions are extremely rare. We are aware of no other surviving copies of contracts for Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. It is priced at £6,500.

Image: No. 20 - Aurora Australis. The first book printed in Antarctica. 

1- Sappho to send.jpgNew York — His work was startling and new. It had the power to surprise, shock and even haunt the viewer. William Mortensen was a highly controversial artist during his lifetime, stirring up the photographic world in the early twentieth century with images that were in direct opposition to the prevailing realism of his contemporaries. Today, we recognize Mortensen as the trailblazer he was -- the first to use highly manipulated imagery in a way that wasn’t embraced until Photoshop almost a century later.

The New York City Book & Ephemera Fair, will mount a special exhibition of the artist’s work when it returns to the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square hotel, (7th Avenue, between 52nd & 53rd Streets) March 9 & 10. Curated by author/art historian, Brian Chidester, courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery, “Celluloid Babylon” draws from the artist’s Hollywood years in the 1920s and 30s. 

Mortensen, the son of Danish-born parents, was the first photographer to take still-photos of actors on Hollywood sets, rather than photographing film stars like Jean Harlow, Rudolph Valentino and John Barrymore in posed studio settings. It all started, when, as a costume designer on Cecile B. DeMille’s epic Hollywood film, The King of Kings, the artist decided one day to snap photographs of the actors while moving around in the opulent costumes he had designed. Director DeMille immediately saw the marketing potential of having such images available prior to the film’s release. The movie lobby card was born! 

Mortensen was known for retouching prints (though seldom negatives) with an abrasion process that used razor-blades, carbon pencil, ink, eraser and pumice to create manipulated images almost indistinguishable from etchings or paintings. His subject matter was theatrical, gothic, and often strange. “A Pictorial History of Witchcraft and Demonology,” and “Monsters and Madonnas,” are two of his best-known works.  

Mortensen clashed openly with the better-known Ansel Adams and his New Realism contemporaries in the 1930s and 40s. Adams’ classic and stately images of Rocky Mountain peaks and valleys at sunset were a world away from Mortensen’s satanic rituals, ancient Hindu goddesses, witch doctors with scary masks and vengeful gorillas.  Ansel Adams wrote, “photography is an objective expression and a record of actuality,” - a philosophy which became even more influential after the hard realities of World War II. Mortensen disparaged such “literal recordings,” calling them “a good beginning, but not an end in itself.” Adams called him the “Antichrist of Photography.”

Today, Mortensen’s altered images are right at home in a world where we are surrounded by fantasy figures in both movies and video games. His work finds an affinity with all forms of story-telling, whether they be fantasy, horror, or mysticism. He was able to tap into that euphoric aspect that humans share with each and every image.  From his early movie lobby cards, which were all about selling fantasies, Mortensen then developed a private art style that took Hollywood iconography into a more timeless space. Anything could be a part of Mortensen’s fictional ecosystem so long as it was emotionally and visually rich. Celluloid Babylon is a testament to this vision. He predicted the imagery to come in the 21st century.  

Fair hours are:  

Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8AM - 4PM

Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9AM - 3PM

Sheraton Central Park / Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY, 10019

Admission - $15 each day, with student ID - Free
Pre-purchase a weekend pass online and save $5 or register for a complimentary pass for Sunday, March 10 - http://bit.ly/NYCBook19.    

Image: Sappho the Poetess of Old Greece, circa 1928. William Mortensen (1897 - 1965, American) Bromide Print with Pencil.


Astonomical almanac cat 16-b-ti01101246 copy.jpgThousands of years before books were contained within a hand-held technological tablet or phone, there were cuneiform tablets no bigger than the size of a quarter. On view from March 5 through May 19, 2019 in the second floor gallery of the Grolier Club are 275 rare diminutive texts and bindings from around the world that have been created over the span of 4,500 years.  Size matters:  these tiny tomes range in size from a maximum of four inches to less than one millimeter. Drawn from the collection of Patricia J. Pistner, the exhibition represents the history of the book in miniature form.

A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner includes cuneiform tablets and other antiquities, medieval manuscripts and early printed materials, books and bindings by women, imprints of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, as well as contemporary design bindings and artists’ books.

The exhibition is selected and organized by Pistner, along with Jan Storm van Leeuwen, former keeper of rare bindings at the Royal Library in The Hague and winner of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography for his important study, Dutch Decorated Binding in the 18th Century.  

A collector of miniature books for over thirty years, Pistner’s love for very small tomes began at the age of seven when she began “publishing” tiny books for her first doll’s house.  As an adult, her passion was reignited after being inspired to fill the small library shelves of the miniature French townhouse she had commissioned. 

“The plan to fill that library with real, readable, printed miniature books led to assembling the most aesthetically compelling, representative samples of the history of the book in the smallest formats,” says Pistner. “My hope is that fellow bibliophiles find tomes here that spark their interest and lead to an increased interest in and respect for the format.” 

Highlights include: 

  • Cuneiform Tablets and other examples of ancient texts dating from 2500 BCE. 
  • Hyakumantō-daraniNara, Japan: c. 764-770 CE. Among the oldest block printed texts, housed in its original wooden pagoda. 
  • Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 
  • Septem Psalmi poenitentiales, cum alijs multis devotissimo orationibus. Ac Kalendario Gregoriano. Venetiis: Nicolaus Misserinus, 1593. Measuring a mere 2.4” tall, this binding has rock crystal covers painted in reverse in the verre églomisé depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata and the Adoration of the Magi. 
  • Enchiridion p[re]clare ecclesie Sarum …. [Book of Hours, Use of Salisbury]. Paris: Widow Thielman Kerver, 1528. Printed by Yolande Bonhomme, the only female printer in Paris and daughter of the famous printer and bookseller, Pasquier Bonhomme. This elaborate mosaic binding by Lortic was done in the 19th century for Charles-Louis de Bourbon (bookplate). The book is in Latin but the captions are in English.
  • Bird’s Egg Nécessaire for Sewing Kit, with Étrennes a l'innocence [including an almanac], Paris: 1820. A very rare type of object, which was not made for any practical purpose, but is a thing of beauty and was probably given by a young man to his beloved.
  • Bibliothèque portative du voyageur, 33 vols. 1801- 1804. Napoleonic era traveling library housed in a book-shaped case contains a collection of works written by the most famous French writers.
  • The Proclamation of Emancipation. 1862. The first separate printing in book form of the Emancipation Proclamation that the Union Army distributed in the South.

Lunchtime Exhibition Tours

March 6 and April 24, 1:00 - 2:00 PM; 

May 18, 3:00 - 4:00 PM. 

Curator Patricia J. Pistner will lead guided tours of the exhibition. 

Open to the public free of charge. No reservations required.

Currently on View in the Exhibition Hall:

Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann & Gudrun Zapf

Upcoming in the Exhibition Hall:

Poet of the Body: New York's Walt Whitman: May 15 - July 27, 2019

47 East 60 Street, New York, NY 10022


Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge

Image: Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 77 x 52 mm, 3 x 2.” Collection of Patricia J. Pistner


4- colette1 copy.jpgThe Fair that is known as the satellite event, during Manhattan’s celebrated Rare Book Week, has great news for the hundreds of followers who pack its aisles each year, searching for the exceptional “finds” that have made this event a stand out. The fifth edition of the New York City Book & Ephemera Fair has added, by popular demand, a second day when it returns to the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square hotel, on 7th Avenue between 52 & 53 Streets, Saturday March 9th & Sunday March 10th.   

Over 100 rare book and ephemera dealers from all parts of the country and Europe are featured - up from 65 last year. This is the show where first editions, beloved classics, fine & rare books, autographed historical documents, vintage photography, old maps, and more, are just waiting to be discovered. Now, show goers will have an extra day to take it all in!

Premiering this year is the first annual Booklyn Artists’ Book Fair (BABF) - a special section devoted to contemporary artists’ books, that is literally a fair-within-a-fair! Curated and organized by Marshall Weber, co-founder of Booklyn, a dynamic, artist-run non-profit organization based in Booklyn, the inaugural event features over 40 tables of work by member artists and artists groups.   

While books by well-known artists are prized by museums, libraries and educational institutions, the increase in awareness of artists’ books has been spurred by a new generation of cutting-edge young artists, working in a variety of media -- aquatint, collage, fine letterpress, hand-painted , photo-art, screen prints and risograph,  They produce unique books that not only express their own vision, but communicate ideas that are of timely concern. 

Chilean-born BABF exhibitor, Maria Veronica San Martin’s powerful books are deeply connected to the deconstructions of the Pinochet era in her native country and its missing war victims.    Internationally known artist Xu Bing, has turned recently to the impact of modern technology on the environment and the human mind in his work. Swarthmore College’s “Friends, Peace and Sanctuary” will premiere collaborations between American artist bookmakers and artists, poets and artisans from the Syrian and Iraqi refugee community in Philadelphia. The fair will also showcase provocative new work, including the New York premiere of Sofia Szamosi’s “#Metoo On Instagram: One Year Later”, along with vibrant pop-up books from artist, Collette Fu.

This year the New York City Book & Ephemera Fair is also proud to present a special exhibition, “The Celluloid Babylon,” of photography by visionary artist, William Mortensen whose controversial images launched a whole new photographic movement in the 1930s and 40s. Curated by author/art historian, Brian Chidester, courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery, the exhibition draws from the artist’s celluloid years, starting at the point, where, as a costume designer, he worked on Cecile B. DeMille’s epic Hollywood film, The King of Kings. The artist decided one day to snap photographs of the actors while they were moving around in his opulent costume designs.  Director DeMille immediately saw the marketing potential of having such images available prior to the film’s release. The movie lobby poster was born! The exhibition highlights these golden years when stars such as Faye Wray, Jean Harlow, John Barrymore and Rudolph Barrymore were the subjects of his photographic creations. 

And then there are the books - wonderful first editions, beloved classics and fine books on almost every subject imaginable!   For Star War buffs, exhibitor Pryor & Johnson Rare books will have a first edition of “Star Wars,” that was ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster.  It appeared before the first film debuted and made history.    Harry Potter devotees will love Pryor & Johnson’s  first two volumes of the Harry Potter series, both signed by Rowling. The first limited edition of William Faulkner's Snopes Trilogy, each volume signed by Faulkner, is another  special find from this rare book specialist.  Exhibitor Stan Gorski calls on Stephen King followers to check out an early King book called Firestarter. Zoe Abrams rare books take us back in time with a series of almanacs & agendas documenting more than a century of merchant life in Ghent (ca. 1720-1845).  They are a delight to behold! 

Fair hours are:  Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8AM - 4PM; Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9AM - 3PM

Sheraton Central Park / Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY, 10019

Admission - $15 each day, with student ID - Free
Pre-purchase a weekend pass online and save $5 or register for a complimentary pass for Sunday, March 10 - http://bit.ly/NYCBook19

Image: Luoma, Yi Tiger Festival, Photographic Pop-up Book. The Yi people from China’s Yunan province,  worship the tiger as their grandest totem. disturbed by Under the direction of the black “Tiger King,” they offer sacrifice and dance to reflect the journey and way of life of the Yi people as they visit each house to guard the village from evils. Thus “Luoma,” the Tiger Festival, was created to display the Yi people’s tiger-like strength and valor. Artist: COLETTE FU makes one-of-a-kind artist’s books that combine photography and pop-up paper engineering.

c7422b9221bbfb9a0251551046cec0ba83162d46.jpegBoston—A James Joyce signed vintage photograph sold for $25,826 according to Boston-based RR Auction. 

The exceedingly rare glossy close-up photo of Joyce wearing his polka-dot bow tie and round spectacles, neatly signed in fountain pen, "James Joyce." Reverse bears an "Atelier Ruth Asch" credit stamp.

This magnificent portrait is believed to have been produced in 1929 by Ruth Asch, likely at the request of the publisher Rhein-Verlag; one of the images in her series of Joyce portraits would be used to advertise the original German edition of Ulysses in 1930. 

An absolutely spectacular 'fadograph' that perfectly captures the revered Irish author, whose innovative prose forever revolutionized the written word.

Additional highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir Ledger sold for $37,462.

Lyndon B. Johnson signed letter as President to Speaker of the House sold for $19,133.

George Washington signed three-language ship's papers from 1794 sold for $14,948.

Woodrow Wilson Twice-signed official typed transcript of proceedings relating to the Treaty of Versailles sold for $11,952.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction from RR Auction began on January 18 and concluded on February 6.  For information, visit the RR Auction web site at www.rrauction.com

TaleofGenji_MetApp_1536x1024_082818.jpgA major international loan exhibition focusing on the artistic tradition inspired by Japan's most celebrated work of literature will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning March 5, 2019. Bringing together more than 120 works of art from 32 public and private collections in Japan and the United States—including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, most of which have never left Japan—The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will explore the tale's continuing influence on Japanese art since it was written around the year 1000 by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 978-ca. 1014). Often referred to as the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji has captivated readers for centuries through its sophisticated narrative style, humor and wit, and unforgettable characters, beginning with the "radiant prince" Genji, whose life and loves are the focus of the story.

"The Tale of Genji has inspired generations of artists over centuries, and ours is the first exhibition to explore this phenomenon in such a comprehensive way," said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. "The magnificent works of art in the show will also offer a view into the development of Japanese art, a testament to the prevalence and impact of the renowned story."

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum and Ishiyamadera Temple. 

It is made possible by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Estate of Brooke Astor; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; and Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell. 

The exhibition will present the most extensive introduction to the visual world of Genji ever shown outside Japan. It will feature nearly one thousand years of Genji-related art—an astonishing range of works including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquerware, a palanquin for a shogun's bride, and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and contemporary manga—and provide viewers with a window into the alluring world of the Heian imperial court (794-1185) that was created by the legendary authoress.

Exhibition Overview

Comprising 54 chapters, The Tale of Genji describes the life of the prince, from the amorous escapades of his youth to his death, as well as the lives of his descendants, introducing along the way some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature. Organized thematically in eight sections, the exhibition will pay special attention to the Buddhist reception of the tale, while also giving prominence to Genji's female readership and important works by female artists. 

Among the works on view, highlights will include two of Japan's National Treasures. The first, on loan from Seikado Bunko Art Museum, is a pair of screens by the Rinpa master Tawaraya Sotatsu (ca. 1570-ca. 1640)—Channel Markers and The Barrier Gate—depicting two chance encounters between Genji and a former lover. The second is the breathtaking Heian-period Lotus Sutra with Each Character on a Lotus, from the Museum Yamato Bunkakan. These works will be on view for six weeks and then rotated with other masterpieces over the course of the exhibition. A number of works recognized as Important Cultural Properties will be on view throughout the exhibition, including beautifully preserved album leaves by Tosa Mitsuyoshi (1539-1613), from the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi, which will be shown together with rare Tosa School album paintings from the Harvard Art Museums and The Met's own collection.

The exhibition will also include a section featuring important works of art from Ishiyamadera Temple whose hall contains a "Genji Room" that commemorates the legend that Murasaki started writing the novel within the temple precincts. The final section of the exhibition will feature a series of original manga drawings by Yamato Waki that were inspired by The Tale of Genji. She translated Genji into the comic book idiom, making Murasaki's tale accessible to a whole new generation of readers.

Education Programs, Catalogue, and Credit

A site-specific opera entitled Murasaki's Moon—commissioned by MetLiveArts, On Site Opera, and American Lyric Theater in conjunction with the exhibition—will be presented in The Met's Astor Court on May 17, 18, and 19.

This exhibition will be the opening highlight of Japan 2019, a series of events organized by The Japan Foundation to introduce Japanese arts and culture in the United States throughout 2019.

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Florence and Herbert Irving Fund; the Charles A. Greenfield Fund; the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation; the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Parnassus Foundation; and Richard and Geneva Hofheimer Memorial Fund.

The exhibition is curated by John T. Carpenter, Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asian Art at The Met; and guest curator Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University; with Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Assistant Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at The Met; and Kyoko Kinoshita, Professor of Japanese Art History at Tama Art University.

The exhibition will be featured on The Met's website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MetGenji.

Image: Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-1691). Portrait-Icon of Murasaki Shikibu (detail). Edo Period (1615-1868), 17th century. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk; 35 5/8 x 20 3/4 in. (90.5 x 52.7 cm). Ishiyamadera Temple, Shiga Prefecture, Courtesy of Ishiyamadera Temple, photo by Kanai Morio

marion-crawford_0.jpgSan Marino, CA —The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has acquired the largest trove of writing by American novelist F. Marion Crawford (1854-1909) in existence. Crawford was admired in his day by Robert Louis Stevenson for his vivid portrayals of foreign lands and envied by Henry James for his ability to churn out bestsellers. He was a prolific author, publishing 44 novels and scores of short stories, essays, and plays. In addition, Crawford may be the first author to portray Sicily's mafia in an English-language novel, Corleone. The collection includes complete autograph manuscripts for seven novels and two plays, partial manuscripts for five works, and outlines and notes for several novels and essays.

The works were purchased recently at The Huntington’s 22nd annual Library Collectors’ Council meeting. The Council also purchased two large, rare, and detailed maps, created in 1900, that depict the foreign legation (or diplomatic) quarter in Beijing during China’s Boxer Rebellion. Among the first and most important maps ever created to illustrate the dramatic course of events during the siege of the Legation Quarter, they also offer invaluable clues about a fire at an adjacent library from which The Huntington’s single volume from the Yongle dadian, a rare 15th-century Chinese encyclopedia, was rescued.

In addition, The Huntington acquired a collection of 142 letters by Warren D. Chase (1827-1875), a white soldier in the Civil War who wrote vivid, candid, and often heart-rending accounts of his experiences in the Union Army, which included a stint in the newly organized 14th Colored Infantry Regiment. As a former Shaker—a religious sect that separated itself from the secular world—Chase provided an outsider’s perspective on the grim realities of African-American service and the war’s horrors.

Further treasures acquired include a prayer book with a black silk velvet cover and gleaming heraldic device (produced around 1590 for Gilbert and Mary Talbot, the 7th Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury) that includes Catholic prayers at a time when England was officially Protestant; and a single bound volume containing four rare first editions of books by Paracelsus (d. 1541), one of the most influential medical authors of the 16th century.

The Library Collectors’ Council is a group of 45 households that assist in the development of the collections by supporting the purchase of important works that the Library would not otherwise be able to afford.

“These new acquisitions will help researchers push out the boundaries of human knowledge in numerous directions—in the history of the Pacific Rim and the literature and history of 19th-century America, to name just a few,” said Sandra Brooke, Avery Director of the Library at The Huntington. “We are forever grateful to the Collectors’ Council for its generous support in helping us continue to build The Huntington’s dynamic library collections.”

Highlights of the newly purchased materials include:

Papers of F. Marion Crawford (1854­-1909)
“In the early 20th century, it would have been unthinkable that F. Marion Crawford’s name would fade from public view,” said Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington.

A hugely popular writer on both sides of the Atlantic, Crawford was born to expatriate parents in Italy, where he lived for most of his life.

He was a master storyteller in an astonishing array of modes: historical romances, tales of the strange and uncanny, society dramas. His horror and fantasy stories are still frequently anthologized. “The Upper Berth,” a maritime ghost story, is the most commonly reprinted, followed by the vampire tale “For the Blood is the Life,” which features a female vampire.

The Huntington’s newly acquired archive includes drafts of novels set in Gilded Age New York City; one of his histories of Rome, Ave Roma Immortalis; one of his longer supernatural novels, The Witch of Prague; and two unpublished plays, Marion Darche and By the Waters of Babylon. Also represented are manuscript drafts for two in a series of Italian historical romances, including Saracinesca (1887), which has been considered his most accomplished work. Another book in that series, Corleone, focuses on the maffeosos in Sicily.

“Academics working in book history and publishing studies will be interested in Crawford’s outlines and the markups in his manuscript drafts,” said Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington. “They reveal an author deftly plotting his novels within market constraints, thinking about the word count and pacing limitations of serial publication.”


230.jpgChicago — True to its title, this sale featured a spellbinding selection of traditional, foreign, limited edition, and art books.  Lot #298, a c. 1895 edition of Paul de Musset's The Last Abbe more than tripled its low estimate, making $1,875. This gloriously detailed and illustrated livre d'artiste was published in Parish by Societe des Beaux Arts and was copy “H” of 20 copies of the Edition de Deux Mondes. Lot #230, a first edition of Charles Bukowski's South of No North was estimated at $1,500-2,000 and traded hands at $2,280. It was published by the Black Sparrow Press in Los Angeles in 1973 and was number 5 of 50 hand bound copies. This important lot included an original signed painting by the controversial author. And lot #528, sixteen 1920s-30s titles from the Wizard of Oz Series by L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson sold for $1,188 on its $500-750 estimate.  This fine grouping included color plates and illustrations by W.W. Denslow and John R. Neill as well as several early and collectable editions.

Comic books featuring some of the 20th century's most popular superheroes also had strong results at this auction.  Lot #697, a CGC graded and encapsulated Marvel Comics X-Men No. 1 was estimated at $1,500-3,000 and realized $3,500. This 1963 edition, by Stan Lee with artwork by Jack Kirby, featured the debut appearance and origin of the X-Men (Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl) and Magneto. And lot #647, a Marvel Comics Incredible Hulk No. 181 from 1974 was estimated at $1,800-2,400 but tipped the scales at $2,880. This CGC graded rarity came to life through Len Wein's story and Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel's illustrations, and included the first full appearance of Wolverine as well as an appearance from Wendigo.  

Finally, the Chicago themed artifacts and antiques on offer through this event generated national attention. Standing tall amongst all others was lot #38, a labeled wooden column from the Marshall Field & Company building. This attractive Neo-Classical sculpted column, from the legendary department store in downtown Chicago, measured 73-1/2" high and featured a recessed top to accommodate a flower pot or other seasonal ornament. It realized $1,920 on its $300-500 estimate. 

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "We were thrilled to have a gallery filled with fine art, and more importantly, artifacts and art related to the history of the city in which we live and work. There's something special about offering relics related to the buildings, builders, and important historical events of the place in which you live and work. Many bidders from Chicago felt the same way, and said so on auction day - by bidding and buying, or attending the auction."

Image: Lot 230, South of No North, sold for $2,280.

Alexander Hamilton.jpegWestport, CT - A signed copy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first book, authored before he became President, a newly discovered handwritten and signed letter by Alexander Hamilton, and a typewritten letter by J. Robert Oppenheimer regarding the development of the atomic bomb are expected top lots in University Archives’ next online-only auction on Wednesday, February 27th. 

Live bidding for the 266-lot auction is scheduled to start promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time. As with all University Archives auctions, this one is loaded with rare, highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. The full catalog can be viewed online now, at www.UniversityArchives.com. Online bidding is via Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. 

“Our last auction was the best one yet, with over 3,000 registered bidders from over 50 countries and well over an 80 percent sell-through, which is unheard of in our industry,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “People come back because they know that we have the finest material available anywhere and yet there are still great deals to be had.”

Mr. Reznikoff added, “This sale promises to outperform the last one, as it includes some stellar consignments, many of which have not seen the light of day for years. The Hamilton letter, and a Ben Franklin letter, for example, have been off the market for over 140 years. The virgin FDR signed book is part of a collection, 24 strong, with incredible provenance. It’s also market fresh.”

The FDR book, titled Wither Bound (Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York, 1926) is an important presentation copy, signed and inscribed to Missy LeHand (“M.A.L.”), Roosevelt’s private secretary for 21 years, including while he was President. The book, based on a lecture at Milton Academy on the Alumni War Memorial Foundation in 1926, should bring $4,000-$4,500.

The newly discovered two-page Hamilton letter, apparently unpublished, was dated March 20, 1791 and boldly signed with a flourish, “A Hamilton”. In it, he forwards George Washington’s appointment to Edward Carrington as supervisor of the eventual Capitol city of Washington. It also discusses other salient issues, to include the Compromise of 1790 (est. $30,000-$35,000).

The typewritten letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer to Leslie Groves, who headed the top-secret Manhattan Project toward the end of World War II, resulting in the development of the very first nuclear weapon, is part of a significant atomic bomb-related archive originally from the Groves family. It’s likely the finest known letter of Oppenheimer in private hands and should make $10,000-$12,000. There are about 20 other Groves related items from an archive that came from his family. Included is Harry Truman talking about the bomb.

A remarkable collection of autographs from all 39 signers at the U.S. Constitutional Convention - to include Washington, Hamilton, Franklin and Madison - gathered before, during and after the signing of the U.S. Constitution (circa 1752-1835), all generally very good, is estimated at $60,000-$70,000.

An important 1781 letter signed by George Washington, as then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, written in the hand of his aide Tench Tilghman, to the German Major General Baron de Riedesel, regarding the sensitive matter of prisoner exchanges, carries an estimate of $35,000-$40,000. The letter mentions Alexander Hamilton and British General John Burgoyne.

A substantial archive of nearly 50 Civil War-era theater playbills (circa 1861-1864), mostly from theaters in Boston but also to include New York City, is expected to garner $30,000-$35,000. What makes the collection significant is that nine of the playbills advertise Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, plus three others with Booth associations. Most show wear typical of their age.

Also expected to change hands for $30,000-$35,000 is a two-page letter signed by Benjamin Franklin (as “B. Franklin”) that was last on the market 140 years ago. Addressed to his nephew Jonathan and ending with “I am ever your affectionate uncle”, the letter, dated Dec. 22, 1779, discusses funds to outfit the 10,000 troops under the command of General Marquis de Lafeyette.

An autographed letter, written and signed by Abraham Lincoln (as “A. Lincoln”) on Executive Mansion stationery and dated May 24, 1864, while the Civil War was still raging, is expected to finish at $13,000-$15,000. The letter is written to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, instructing him to promote a New Jersey colonel - “the one having best testimonials” - to brigadier general.

A rare manuscript page from the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard C. Feynman (b. 1941), written at the dawn of the computer age, in which he illustrates how a computer program can approximate a solution to a differential equation using first-order and second-order Runga-Kutta methods (developed around 1900 by two German mathematicians) should hit $9,000-$10,000.

A four-page letter written and inscribed by then-teenager Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (later Jackie Kennedy) to her childhood best friend Rosamund Lee during the spring of 1943, is estimated to sell for $3,500-$4,000. The letter, signed “Love, Jackie XXX”, is accompanied by a photo of her playing baseball and an original pencil horse drawing by her. It was written from McLean, Va.

Other noteworthy lots include a 1920s-era baseball signed by Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and Gabby Street, in special presentation from the early sports syndicator Christy Walsh (est. $3,000-$3,500); and a formal document from 1932 signed by Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Showa), with calligraphic script, unfolding to 18 inches by 13 inches, in very good shape (est. $2,400-$2,800).

As with all University Archives online auctions, this one is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature.

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies. 

For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, February 27th internet-only auction, please visit www.universityarchives.com.

Image: Newly discovered handwritten and signed letter by Alexander Hamilton, apparently unpublished, dated March 20, 1791 and boldly signed with a flourish, “A Hamilton” (est. $30,000-$35,000).

The Hours of Marie_Folios 16v-17r_a noblewoman with her daughter kneeling before the Virgin and Child enthroned copy.jpgThis is the twenty-sixth year that Les Enluminures will be exhibiting at TEFAF. To celebrate this occasion, the gallery will launch a special exhibition based on new high-profile acquisitions and entitled "Painting in Manu-scripts in France and Flanders during the Middle Ages and Renaissance." 

A select group of nearly a dozen stunning single miniatures is exhibited for the first time. Illustrating David and Bathsheba and Job and his Friends and Family, two of these by the MASTER OF FRANCOIS DE ROHAN come from a presumably lost Book of Hours, most likely made for a patron at the court of King Francis I (r. 1515-1547). They display this artist's imaginative subject matter and lively narration set in elaborate architecture enlivened by putti on the eve of the French Renaissance. 

A monumental miniature of the Crucifixion, painted with a brilliant palette and charged with emotion, boldly expresses an accomplished new figural style emerging from Italy in the wake of the Renaissance. It can now be added to a group of thirteen other historiated initials, mostly in major museums, from an enormous pair of Choir Books commissioned by Philippe de Levis, bishop of Mirepoix from 1493 to 1537. A recent study convincingly identifies the artist as a Toulouse-based painter, ANTOINE OLIVIER. Complementing the group of miniatures are several illuminated volumes of exceptional richness that reveal the full flowering of the Middle Ages. One of two centerpieces is THE HOURS OF MARIE. This is one of the oldest and most important of all early Books of Hours and one of few thirteenth-century books unambiguously painted for a named laywoman, perhaps Marie de Bra-bant Queen of France. Its pages virtually explode with a richness of imagery. Nearly 300 images display with unusual frequency women in daily life and are set in the royal court. 

The second featured work THE ROMANCE OF TROY includes seventeen large paintings by a rare and accomplished illuminator-painter known as the Master of Girart de Roussillon who worked for the court in the then-Southern Netherlands, probably in Brussels. According to Christopher de Hamel: "The addition of a newly attributed manuscripts to the elusive and incomparable Master himself is a major event in the scholarship of southern Netherlandish art." 

Founded by Dr. Sandra Hindman nearly thirty years ago and with locations in Paris, Chicago, and New York, Les Enluminures has forged long-standing relationships with major museums and prestigious private collections throughout the world. It exhibits at TEFAF Maastricht, TEFAF New York, Masterpiece, the Winter Show, Paris Fine Art, and Frieze Masters. The gallery is well-known for the level of its scholarship but also for the diversity, high quality, and provenance of the works it offers for sale. 

Sandra Hindman states: "We are proud to continue our participation in TEFAF Maastricht, which in my opinion remains unchallenged as the premier venue for the display of world-class, museum-quality works of art. Hats off once again to the astute organizers."

Image: THE HOURS OF MARIE (USE OF SENLIS) In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on parchment Northeastern France, probably Reims, c. 1270-1280 22 historiated initials by a Reims Master, 2 illuminated borders by the Master of Johannes de Phylomena

1. BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION Sledge copy.jpgLondon -- A sledge from the first expedition to the Antarctic led by Ernest Shackleton sold for £143,750 in the Bonhams Travel and Exploration Sale today. The sale made a total of £875,525.

Estimated at between £60,000-100,000, the sledge was the subject of fierce competition from bidders in the room, on the phone and on the internet.

The sledge was used on the 1907-9 British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition by Eric Marshall - one of the four men, with Shackleton, Jameson Adams, and Frank Wild, to undertake the sledge march to the South Pole. Although they had to abandon the attempt, they reached within 100 geographical miles of the Pole - at the time, the furthest south ever travelled.

Eric Marshall’s sledge flag which had been estimated at £30,000-50,00 sold for £75,000.   

Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts Matthew Haley said: “This was a fantastic result for a rare survivor of one of the great journeys of Polar exploration.” 

A detailed account of the expedition and the sledge’s crucial role in it can be found here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Bonhams+Magazine+Shackleton&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Other highlights included: 

  • Views of Trinidad by Michel Cazabon, sold for £60,000 (est £3,000-5,000)
  • The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, Hamadan, Iran, with the Alvand range of the Zagros Mountains in the distance by Charles-Théodore Frère, sold for £47,500 (est: £20,000-30,000)
  • Edward Roper (British, 1830-1909), The Goldfields of Australia, Ararat, sold for £32,500 (est £6,000-8,000)
  • Diary written by Stephen B. Church, Signalman aboard the H.M.S. Perseus that sold for £32,500 (est £2,000-3,000)

The Library of Congress announced that it has received a $540,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to evaluate the physical health of the national collection of books in American research libraries and to guide their archive retention and preservation decisions. Since there currently is no objective formula to assess the condition of millions of books in the custody of the nation’s libraries, this scientific study will help inform best practices and provide a baseline for libraries to analyze their print collections based on established scientific guidelines. 

This is the first effort of its kind to lay the scientific groundwork for the development of a national effort to preserve the corpus of books held in American libraries. Entitled “Assessing the Physical Condition of the National Collection,” the 40-month grant project through the Scholarly Communication Program will compare the physical, chemical and optical characteristics of a representative sample of bibliographically identical books across five large research libraries in distinct regions of the country to quantify and objectively assess the condition of these volumes. The five participating institutions are Arizona State University, Cornell University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Miami and University of Washington.

The study will help provide a comparable and reliable decision-making method for libraries to follow in deciding what books and how many should be kept in the national collective. The collected data will build a knowledge base for how materials naturally age and decompose, provide a rich set of data about books as artifacts and lead to a stronger predictive model for the condition of books. One objective of the project is also to develop simpler testing tools that could be used on-site in library book stacks.

“Contemporary scholarship crosses boundaries of format, institution, and discipline,” said Jacob Nadal, the Library’s director for Preservation. “Libraries are enabling this through sophisticated partnerships and services that draw on print and digital resources for the distinct qualities that each format offers. This project unites the most current library science with our long history of cooperation to help libraries advance our core professional goals: providing access to research materials and preserving the published record in its original forms.”

The Library of Congress is well suited to conduct this scientific research because of its extensive preservation programs and research laboratories. The research work will take place in the Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) at the Library of Congress and build on the institution’s extensive research into noninvasive and microsampling analytic methods. These techniques enable large scientific analysis of library materials to be conducted at a speed and scale that were not practical before.

“Until we can understand and compare the actual condition of the printed volumes in America, we won’t know how to ensure these are available for future generations,” said Fenella G. France, PRTD chief and the project’s principal investigator. “We may be moving to an increasingly digital world, but so much of our history is retained on the printed record and we must preserve this.”

PRTD will host two researchers for three years, each of whom will complete the analysis of 500 of the same volumes from the five selected American research libraries, totaling 2500 volumes. The Library will convene an expert advisory body to review the work in process and schedule conferences periodically to report the project’s progress. The study’s findings will be shared nationally at a major event in 2022. 

The Library of Congress has one of the most extensive library and archival preservation programs in the world. The Library’s Preservation Directorate staff evaluates, manages and responds to the challenges of ensuring access to the Library’s collection of more than 167 million items in a diverse and expanding range of formats.  The Library’s Preservation Research and Testing Division has been a world leader in developing preservation research to prevent degradation and extend the life of collections. The chemical, mechanical and optical properties labs have developed many innovative research applications and collaborate with colleagues in academia, cultural heritage, science and forensic laboratories.


London — The Folio Society and House of Illustration are thrilled to announce the longlist for the annual Book Illustration Competition (#BIC2019). 

Now in its ninth year, The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration. To date, the competition has distributed nearly £60,000 worth of prizes and has received thousands of entries. 

This year from over 500 excellent entries, an increase of 17% on last year, 25 have been selected for the longlist. 

The winner will receive a prestigious £5,000 commission from The Folio Society to illustrate their new edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Five other shortlisted entrants will each receive £500. As part of the Book Illustration Competition’s committment to nurturing new talent, the judging panel ensures that student entries form part of the shortlist. 

The difficult task of selecting the longlist fell to Sheri Gee, Art Director at The Folio Society, and Colin McKenzie, Director of House of Illustration. 

Sheri Gee said ‘I was really impressed by the standard of entries this year from both students and professionals. Looking at over 500 interpretations to the brief, we found it so interesting how certain scenes clearly resonated more than others, inspiring a myriad of visual interpretations.‘ 

Colin McKenzie noted ‘We were delighted by the record number of entries to this year’s competition, more than for any previous year. The standard was extremely high and demonstrated not just how popular this book remains, but also that it is a story that really catches the imagination. As a result we have a very strong longlist.’ 

Entries were received from 47 countries including the USA, Brazil, Singapore, New Zealand and Armenia, and over 30% of them were from students. 

This year also sees the return of the popular stand alone People’s Choice award. Voted for online (http://bicpeopleschoice.org), the People’s Choice can be selected from any of the longlisted entries.The People’s Choice winning artist and one member of the public who voted for them will receive £100 worth of books from The Folio Society and a one-year membership to House of Illustration. 

The shortlist and the winner will be selected from the longlist by Laura Cecil, literary agent for Diana Wynne Jones; Sheri Gee, Art Director and Sophie Lewis, Editor both from The Folio Society; Colin McKenzie, Director and Olivia Ahmad, Curator both from House of Illustration and Max Löffler, winner of the Book Illustration Competition 2018. 

The awards will be announced at an exclusive ceremony at House of illustration on 26 February 2019. 


Hours_Fauquier_Besancon_1420-40_16r_Majestas copy.jpgDr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG returns to TEFAF Maastricht (16-24 March 2019) with an exceptional collection of museum-quality, Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, miniatures, and early printed books.

This year’s highlights focus on the finest French illumination across the centuries and on the ability of true artists to convey stories. The first outstanding manuscript in the TEFAF Maastricht 2019 line-up is a stunningly beautiful French Book of Hours that shows the exquisite refinement and sophistication of two great artists. The amazing Fauquier Book of Hours only recently resurfaced after having disappeared from the public eye for more than 50 years. The manuscript is rich in iconography and subtle in colours, with 13 miniatures of exceptional quality, all of which showcase their creators’ extraordinary storytelling abilities. It was a commission for a gentleman living in the diocese of Besançon, likely a member of the family Fau(l)quier of Poligny. The Master of Walters 219 contributed two miniatures to this manuscript, while the second master, whose style points to Amiens, was responsible for the remaining eleven images. The style of the first illuminator, the Master of W. 219, likely an itinerant painter who came from Lombardy, is marked by ingenuous scenes that are rich in Italianisms and occupied by many small characters. He worked in the context of some of the best of French and Netherlandish traditions, where he may also have met the second illuminator.

Another impressive manuscript highlight that Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books is bringing to Maastricht is a previously unknown and unpublished legal codex from the 13th century, illuminated by the workshop of Maître Honoré. This exciting new find offers a glimpse into medieval customs, since the law reflects the spirit of the time. The present manuscript is a comprehensive compilation of canon law issued by successive popes, including decisions of Church councils, papal bulls, and excerpts from texts by church fathers and theologians. The manuscript is a high-quality, legal textbook executed under the supervision of a university stationer, whose corrective notes (“cor”) are preserved at the ends of some quires. The layout of the manuscript’s pages is typical of a university law book, containing - in addition to the texts of the various constitutions - the Glossa ordinaria, a systematic commentary in the form of marginal glosses.

The legal codex features miniatures and decorated initials of the finest quality, which were painted by the hand of the famous illuminator Maître Honoré and his workshop in Paris. The five miniatures stand at the beginning of each book: iudex - iudicium - clerus - connubia - crimen (jurisdiction - procedure - clergy - marriage - delinquency and criminal procedures).

Image: Fauquier Book of Hours. Courtesy of Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books

Lot 122-Delaunay.jpgNew York — Swann Galleries opened the 2019 season with Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics on January 29, boasting numerous auction records and several new buyers. 

Leading the sale was Cirque de l’Étoile Filante, 1938, by Georges Rouault. The publication, depicting circus performers in 17 color aquatints by Rouault and 82 wood engravings by George Aubert, in characteristic Fauvist style, sold for $35,000. Rouault’s final work, Passion, 1939, also found success, selling for $21,250. Additional livres d’artiste included Klänge, 1912-13, Wassily Kandinsky’s masterpiece of expressionism and one of the earliest artist’s books to contain nonrepresentational art, which reached $31,200; and a first English translation of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped bare by Her Bachelors, Even, 1960, a typographic version by Richard Hamilton, brought $1,500, a record for the signed trade edition.

An array of Art Deco material was led by a run of works by George Barbier and François-Louis Schmied: Personnages de Comédie, 1922, ($9,375), Vies Imaginaires, 1929, one of 120 copies created for members of the French bibliophile group, Le Livre Contemporain ($8,750), and Les Chansons de Bilitis, 1922, ($8,125). Solo works by Schmied featured Le Cantique des Cantiques, 1925, which brought $12,500. Sonia Delaunay’s Ses Peintures, Ses Objects, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, 1925, a tour de force of Simultaneous Contrast design theory, set a record for the work with $13,750, and 20 color pochoir plates of butterflies by Emile-Alain Seguy, 1925, realized $9,100.

Alphonse Mucha’s Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli, 1897, brought a record price for a copy of the publication in its original folder at $13,000. A rich Art Nouveau section continued with Eugène Grasset’s La Plante et ses applications Ornementales, 1895, 72 richly colored and intricately designed plates that brought $7,250.

Works from the Cheloniidae Press found buyers with The Birds and Beasts of Shakespeare, 1990, which brought $6,500, a record for the work; and the artist’s proof copy of Tortoises, 1983, featured sculptural leather binding evoking a turtle shell and garnered $5,750.

Additional highlights include Strickland’s Lithographic Drawing of the Ancient Painted Ceiling in the Nave of Peterborough Cathedral, returning to auction after over 30 years ($1,500), and Richard Diebenkorn’s etchings for Poems by W.B. Yeats ($11,050). Records were set by Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects, 1983, by Leonard Baskin with $9,750; Die Buecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern, 1900, by Heinrich Lefler and Josef Urban with $2,250; and Wiener Mode 1914, a portfolio of fashion designs by Viennese publication Werkstätte, with $2,375.  

Christine von der Linn, Senior Specialist, noted that “collectors enthusiastically received this smaller, thoughtfully curated fine books auction. What struck me most was the global participation in this sale, and the growing number of bidders on our recently launched Swann Galleries app, which reflects how people are becoming increasingly comfortable with this type of digital platform and appreciate the convenience it offers.”

The next auction of Books at Swann Galleries will be held on March 7 with Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books. Visit www.swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries App for catalogues, bidding and inquiries. 

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 122: Sonia Delaunay, Ses Peintures, Ses Objects, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, with 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for $21,250.

9b9b81b3-d204-4fac-8e9a-73189f21de23.jpgLondon — Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair, presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, is delighted to announce that the Official Fair Partner is international online rare bookseller Biblio, and Charity Partner for 2019 is Shakespeare’s Globe.

Firsts London, the ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will open its doors to visitors from 7 - 9 June in beautiful Battersea Park. More than 150 exhibitors from around the world - sole traders and larger companies - will showcase rare, unique and unusual works for visitors with a wide range of cultural interests and a passion for the printed word, art, books maps and related ephemera from museum-quality medieval manuscripts to modern signed first editions. 

“In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of pioneering and acclaimed actor Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of the iconic theatre and the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous Globe actor Richard Burbage, we are excited to be staging an exhibition at the Fair of highlights from the Globe Library including books from The John Wolfson Rare Book Collection,” says Pom Harrington, Chairman of Firsts London.  “The exhibition will offer visitors an unrivalled chance to see editions which are not normally on show.”

New York-based collector and author, John Wolfson is the Globe’s Honorary Curator of Rare Books. He will curate the Exhibition and give an exclusive talk, accompanied by actors, on the opening day.

Bringing a strong rapport with booksellers and a genuine enthusiasm for books and book collecting, North Carolina-based Biblio is the perfect fit for Firsts London. It works with the finest booksellers in the world to cultivate a truly remarkable collection that strikes the perfect balance between quantity and quality of selection.  With British, Australian and New Zealand websites and over 5000 dealer members worldwide, the company is looking to expand into continental Europe, as well as the UK.

Brendan Sherar, Founder & CEO of Biblio: “We launched Biblio.co.uk almost ten years ago and we believe there’s an opportunity for significant growth in the UK.  We’re looking forward to strengthening our relationships with our existing British booksellers, meeting potential new clients and having an opportunity to listen and understand the unique challenges facing booksellers and book collectors here.”

The company has strong business ethics. In 2005 Biblio founded non-profit organization, BiblioWorks. Since then, they have used their profits to build twelve public libraries in rural villages of South America.  After the success of the first library project in Morado K'asa, Bolivia, BiblioWorks became a major contributor in the efforts to bring literacy and education to impoverished indigenous communities.”

Firsts London at Battersea Evolution is open from noon - 8pm on Fri 7 June, 11am - 7pm on Sat 8 June, 11am - 5pm on Sunday 9 June and also includes live demonstrations, tours and talks.

Image: Shakespeare's Globe, photo by Clive Sherlock

Three early and signed editions of North of Boston by Robert Frost.jpgThomaston, Maine — On Friday, March 1, an exceptional selection of rare books, graphic arts, and important documents will be sold at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

The 89 lots of important first edition, signed, and fore-edge painted books in the sale are from a collection of 19th and 20th century literature assembled in the 1960s through 1980s by an international investment banker.  

The books will include 21 lots of first, limited and/or signed edition titles by Robert Frost, such as: three editions (first and signed limited, and first American printing) of his 1914 work “North of Boston”; four editions (signed, limited and firsts) of “New Hampshire”; and two editions (first edition-first printing and later) of “Mountain Interval”.

Also, from the rare book group will be: a 1935 limited deluxe edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tales of Mystery & Imagination”, illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham; a first edition copy of “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain with fore-edge painting depicting two scenes in the book; and a second edition two volume set of “The Complete Angler” by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, (London, Nattali and Bond, 1860), each volume with fore-edge painting and in fine calf binding by George Bayntun.

A first edition copy of John Thomas James’ “Journal of a Tour in Germany, Sweden, Russia, Poland, During the Years 1813 and 1814” (London, John Murray, 1816) will be sold.  This was one of only 12 copies of this title issued with 18 fine engraved India proof plates of scenic views of Germany, Sweden, Russia and Poland, a vignette title page, and tailpiece plan of Moscow.

The auction will present a group of important photographic images, such as:  “Pingpank Barber Shop” by Berenice Abbott (NY/ME, 1898-1991); “JFK in the Oval Office” by George Tames (DC, 1919-1994); and “Qunia’ika, Mohave”, a 1903 large format photogravure from “The North American Indian” by Edward Sheriff Curtis (WI/CA, 1868-1952).

There will also be a variety of art prints, including: “I’m Busy for the Rest of My Life”, a signed archival inkjet print by Peter Tunney (NY, 1961- ); a 1959 signed linocut by Pablo Picasso  (Spain/France, 1881-1973) titled “Picador et Torero”;  a Fernand Leger (CT/CA/France, 1881-1955) 1924 limited edition signed and numbered serigraph “Composition Abstraite”; and “Love 2000”, a composition printed on self-adhesive vinyl for exterior display by Robert Indiana (ME, 1928-2018).

The collection of ephemera will include two King Louis XV signed military documents, two letters signed by Napoleon; two lots of Admiral Byrd/Antarctic Expedition related documents; and an 1850-1870s autograph book containing signatures of U.S. Grant, his cabinet and other significant individuals from that time.

This sale will represent the first day of a three-session auction event.  On Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, a glorious inventory of fine art, early American furniture, Chinese antiquities, rare watches and jewelry, estate silver, decorative arts, and oriental carpets will be sold.

The auction will begin at 11:00 a.m. EST each day.  A complete, full color catalog, with detailed descriptions and photographs, is available, and all lots can be viewed at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ website, www.thomastonauction.com.  

In addition to live bidding in the auction hall, Thomaston Place accepts bids via absentee, telephone, and on the internet.  Please call 1-207-354-8141 for more information, or to reserve seats in the auction hall.  

The gallery will be open for previews Monday, February 25th through Thursday, February 28th (between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day) and from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before the auction begins.  

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is Maine’s premier international auction company located on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston.  Thomaston Place is a leader in discovering Maine’s antique and fine art treasures by offering Free Appraisals each Tuesday at the gallery, creating fundraiser events for civic and charitable organizations, and providing house call appraisal services.  Their expertise in researching and marketing antiques and fine art has earned Thomaston Place the respect of buyers, collectors and experts worldwide.

Image: Three early and signed editions of “North of Boston” by Robert Frost

Federalist Boards.jpgDallas, TX - An important piece of American history will be offered when a rare copy of The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution still in its original publisher’s boards crosses the block in Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books Auction March 6 in New York.

“The Federalist Papers were written as part of an effort to get the New York delegation to ratify the Constitution - it made the case for Federalism and sought to convince the citizens of the states,” Heritage Auctions Rare Books Director James Gannon said. “Probably around 500 copies were printed, and this example is particularly rare because it’s still in the publisher’s boards. You just don’t find them like this.”

The board bindings were meant to be temporary, and purchasers of books in the 18th century would have their binders trim the edges and then rebind the book in calf, so a copy in this configuration is an undeniable rarity.

The books, with a pre-auction estimate of $75,000+, originally were published in New York newspapers under the pseudonym, “Publius,” and without the authors’ names in this first collected edition. But the real names of the authors - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay - are hand-written on the title page.

The lot is in two volumes, published two months apart: March 22 and May 28, 1788. According to Printing and the Mind of Man, “The eighty-five essays, under the pseudonym 'Publius,' were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government.”

rejlander23_low.jpgLos Angeles - Oscar G. Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813-1875) was one of the 19th century’s greatest innovators in the medium of photography, counting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron among his devotees. Nevertheless, the extent of Rejlander’s work and career has often been overlooked. Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles, is the first exhibition to explore the prolific career of the artist who became known as “the father of art photography,” and whose bold experimentation with photographic techniques early in the medium’s development and keen understanding of human emotion were ahead of their time.

The exhibition features 150 photographs that demonstrate Rejlander’s remarkable range, from landscapes and portraits to allegories and witty commentaries on contemporary society, alongside a selection of his early paintings, drawings, and prints.

“Rejlander tells us in his writings that ‘It is the mind of the artist, and not the nature of his materials, which makes his production a work of art,’” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “While technologies have dramatically changed, some of the fundamental issues that Rejlander grappled with in his photographs still resonate with photographic practice today. His photographs, though made a century and a half ago, are both meticulously of their time and timeless, foreshadowing many later achievements of the medium through to the digital age.”

Oscar G. Rejlander was born in Sweden and moved to England in 1839, working first as a painter before turning to photography in 1852. He made a living as a portrait photographer while experimenting with photographic techniques, most notably combination printing, in which parts of multiple negatives were exposed separately and then printed to form a single picture. Rejlander moved to London in 1862, where his business continued to grow and where his wife, Mary Bull, worked alongside him in his photography studios.

Portraits and Images of Everyday Life

Portraiture, particularly of members of the higher ranks of London society, was Rejlander’s main professional activity and supported his livelihood. Art critics and clients alike admired his skill with lighting as well as the natural and seemingly spontaneous expressions he was able to capture. Rejlander photographed some of the most important figures of the day, including the English scientist Charles Darwin, known for his theory of evolution, and poets Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry Taylor. He also guided the first photographic efforts of the writer and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (known as Lewis Carroll), the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

From the beginning of his career as a photographer, Rejlander was keenly interested in depicting the activities of ordinary people, particularly the middle and lower classes of society. It was through his staged domestic images that he illustrated familial relationships with tenderness and humor, often using models and props to re-create in his studio the scenes he had witnessed in the streets, from young boys who swept up dirt and debris in exchange for tips, to street vendors such as “flower girls” who offered bouquets for sale to passersby. Like a modern street photographer, Rejlander chose his compositions and subjects based on what he saw and heard, realizing the final images in the studio.

In 1863 Rejlander constructed a unique iron, wood, and glass “tunnel studio,” where the sitter, positioned in the open, light-filled part of the studio, would look into the darker part of the room where the camera and operator were situated, nearly invisible. The pupils of the sitters’ eyes expanded, allowing for “more depth and expression,” as a writer observed in Photographic News. In addition to this technique, Rejlander often exploited his own unique ability to enact exaggerated emotions to assist his subjects. Charles Darwin illustrated many of Rejlander’s expressive photographs in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872.

Combination Printing and Two Ways of Life

Rejlander holds an important place in the history of photography primarily because of the groundbreaking way he applied the technique of combination printing. On view in the exhibition is the most ambitious example of the artist’s pioneering experimentation, the epic photograph, or Hope in Repentance (1857). It attracted immediate attention upon its exhibition both for its large size and the ambition of its production, which included the combination printing of over 30 separate wet collodion on glass negatives, a process that took more than three days.

The work represents an intricate allegory of two opposing philosophies of life: Vice and Virtue. In the center of the picture, a wise man guides a younger man to the right, toward a life of virtue—work, study, and religion. To the left, a second young man is tempted by the call of desire, gambling, idleness, and vice. Prince Albert may have worked with Rejlander on the overall conception of the picture, and he and Queen Victoria purchased three versions for their art collection.

Despite this support from the Royal Family, Two Ways of Life divided the photographic community, with professional photographers considering it a technical tour de force, and amateurs seeing it as not only artificial in production but also immoral in its subject. However, it remains one of finest examples of combination printing to come from this period.

Art and Photography

Today, the debate about photography’s status as an art may be obsolete, but the arts community in 19th-century Britain was passionately divided over Rejlander’s chosen medium. Rejlander strongly advocated the view that photography was an independent art, while he was also convinced that a photograph could help artists by providing an effective substitute for working from live models. He was possibly the first to provide artists with visual references for their work in photographs, creating figure studies in a range of poses and costumes, including close-ups of hands, feet, drapery, and even fleeting facial expressions. Although many painters were reluctant to disclose their reliance on photography, several collected Rejlander’s photographs, including George Frederic Watts (English, 1817-1904) and Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904).

Paintings also strongly influenced Rejlander’s choice of subjects, leading him not only to imitate the styles of artists but also to re-create the figures found in their compositions. He frequently photographed actors or models posing as a “Madonna,” a “Devotee,” a “Disciple,” or specific Christian figures such as John the Baptist. He may have intended these studies, as well as others showing figures in classical robes, for artists to consult as well.

 “What we hope comes through in the exhibition is Rejlander’s humanity and humor, as well as his humble nature, particularly evident in the fact that he often sent his work to exhibitions under the name ‘amateur,’” says Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the Getty Museum. “His explanation: ‘When I compare what I have done with what I think I ought to do, and some day hope I shall do, I think of myself as only an amateur, after all—that is to say, a beginner.’”

Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, is on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Lori Pauli, curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, and Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: Untitled Album of Forty Photographs by Rejlander, about 1865. Object credit: Sir Nicholas Mander

Frazetta Famous FUnnies.jpgDallas, TX - One of just eight Famous Funnies covers by the legendary Frank Frazetta and an unrestored Superman rarity are expected to headline Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art auction Feb. 21-23 in Dallas, Texas.

“Heritage has enjoyed a streak of several exceptionally successful comics auctions in recent years, and we anticipate that collectors will find similarly irresistible materials in this auction, as well,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Lon Allen said. “This sale features extraordinary lots at the top of the auction - the Frank Frazetta Famous Funnies cover is the first we have offered in 15 years - and includes highly intriguing options for collectors at all levels.”

Frank Frazetta Famous Funnies #209 Cover Original Art (Eastern Color, 1953) is one of just eight covers for the title by the hugely popular artist. With a pre-auction estimate of $300,000+, this is one of the most coveted Frazetta covers for any comic. The image is a prime example of why the artist is revered for his ability to draw women, and of the 1950s-esque “retro” style that is so popular among many collectors. An image like this is extraordinarily rare - the last time Heritage offered a Frazetta Famous Funnies cover was 15 years ago - which understandably fuels the demand among collectors.

Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC VG+ 4.5 Cream to off-white pages (estimate: $300,000+) is an exceptionally popular issue, the first in one of the most popular titles in comic history. Considering the issue is nearly 80 years old, nearly all known copies are restored, but the allure to collectors for this copy is due in part to the fact that this one is not. Superman #1 hit the newsstands after his debut in Action Comics #1, boosting the Man of Steel’s popularity to new levels. This issue marked the first time a character created for comic books was given his own title. Roughly a million copies were printed in 1939, but very few are known to have survived at this grade or higher, making it a must-have issue among serious collectors. The issue is ranked No. 3 on Overstreet’s “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.

The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages (estimate: $200,000+) is an exceptional copy of the second-most valuable Silver Age issue. Copies with such a high grade are nearly impossible to find, and this issue with the origin and first appearance of the Hulk is inarguably a highlight in the auction. The issue also features the first appearances of supporting characters Rick Jones, Betty Ross and Thunderbolt Ross, and features art and cover by Jack Kirby.

One of the most dramatic images in the auction is Dave Gibbons Watchmen #1 Cover Original Art (DC, 1986) (estimate: $200,000+). Among the most influential and iconic comic series of the 1980s, Watchmen by Gibbons and Alan Moore had a lasting impact on the industry. The cover of the first issue remains one of the most recognizable images in the series, with the drip of blood on the smiley face button reminiscent of the hands of a clock striking 12 as “time running out” was a recurring theme throughout the series.

Another bold, dramatic image is found on the cover of Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1962) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white to white pages (estimate: $200,000+), featuring the origin and first appearance of Thor, who is billed on the cover as “The Most Exciting Super-Hero of All Time!!” This copy carries one of the highest grades known to exist, and is the highest-graded issue offered by Heritage in three years. No. 6 on Overstreet’s “Top 50 Silver Age Comics” list, this issue is considered one of the four most legendary “origin” issues of the early Marvel Age. The cover is by Jack Kirby, who collaborated with Steve Ditko on the issue’s art.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF- 7.5 Off-white pages: $140,000-up

·         Steve Ditko Strange Tales #117 Splash Page 1 Doctor Strange Original Art (Marvel, 1964): $100,000-up

·         Robert Crumb Help! #24 “Fred the Teen-Age Girl Pigeon” Complete Two-Page Story Original Art (Warren Publishing, 1965): $75,000-up

·         Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky Fantastic Four #3 Story Page 7 Original Art (Marvel, 1962): $75,000-up

·         Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers Avengers #1 Story Page 4 Hulk and Loki Original Art (Marvel, 1963): $75,000-up

Dr. Seuss Letters Sell for $8,529

Los Angeles - Three letters and two pages of illustrations by Dr. Seuss sold tonight for $8,529 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The letters and illustrations were directed to fellow author and long-time friend Mike McClintock.

The letters were written in 1957, which was a blockbuster year for Seuss (Theodor Geisel) as both The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were published that year. Dr. Seuss enthusiastically wrote about the success of his new books and addressed the marketing potential of toys and games based on his characters. The lot comes from the estate of McClintock, who wrote the 1958 children’s book, A Fly Went By.

The first letter in the lot is dated May 19, 1957 and is written on Seuss’ personal stationery. It reads in part, “...you picked me off Madison Ave. with a manuscript that I was about to burn in my incinerator, because nobody would buy it. And you not only told me how to put Mulberry Street together properly...(as you did later with the 500 Hats)...I definitely am going into the by-product field this year. Because the CAT will reach 100,000 very shortly, and the print order on HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS will in the first edition be over 50,000. And the Sat. Eve. Post will talk about this shortly in a profile that I wish to hell that you had written, / ANYHOW, if you want to talk toys and games, I'd rather talk to you than anyone I know…”

In the second letter, Seuss analyzes McClintock’s manuscript for A Fly Went By and also wrote “Cat Reading Game is a swell idea!'' 

Seuss’ last letter was written on December 5, 1957, in which he elaborates on game opportunities for The Cat in the Hat. It reads in part, “…The Hat Cat is doing a thousand a day. Latest printing brings print up to 200,000 in nine months...Which brings me to our toy-making-policy-planning... I believe that by fall...when my 'HAT-CAT COMES BACK' comes out, we'll have the biggest character that has ever come out of childrens' trade books...So, I think we're idiots if we don't think non-educationally, and start off on an opportunistic line......with a Cat-in-the-Hat Doll, Toy, put-together plastic, rag, fuzzy or whatever. But fast! / I'm riding a wave right now that may never again roll so high. So I think we oughta and gotta start in a different way than we planned. And get a Cat Character out as soon as we can. And THEN follow up with the game and the blocks and all the other things we want to do that make sense…”

The lot also includes two pages of several illustrations by Seuss.

Bidding for the lot begins at $3,500.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 


Auction Guide