A Busy Month for Forum Auctions

- by Thomas C. McKinney

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Highlights from Forum Auction's March 23 and 30 sales

As spring begins to push away the vestiges of the northern hemisphere’s winter outside, inside auction rooms around the world, things are beginning to heat up. For London-based Forum Auctions, March sees a number of sales between their London and Milan locations. Two sales in particular, an online sale of Modern Literature taking place on the 23rd, and a traditional sale of Fine Books and Works on Paper including Modern Literature, Children’s & Illustrated and Private Press on the 30th, bear mentioning. 

Here’s what Forum has to say about some of the material you’ll find up for bidding: 

On the 23rd March, Forum Auctions will be holding its first online collector’s sale dedicated to modern literature and 20th century books. Highlights include a rare signed copy of J.K.Rowling’s The Tale of Beedle the Bard, the first edition of Erskine Childer’s landmark spy thriller The Riddle of the Sands, and a superb copy of the Arthur Rackham illustrated The Rhinegold & the Valkyrie in the scarce dust-jacket.

And for their March 30th sale: 

The morning session opens with a fine, private consignment of Beatrix Potter books and related material, with top billing going to a nice copy of the 1901 privately printed The Tale of Peter Rabbit (lot 4) at £15,000-20,000 and with many deluxe, dust-jacketed, or inscribed copies of the other titles also on offer. Other highlights from the Childrens’ Books section include a first edition of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, 1876, in the rare original dust-jacket (lot 63), estimate £7,000-9,000. A selection of Kelmscott Press works and another private collection of books illustrated by John Buckland-Wright, plus original illustrations by Max Beerbohm, E.J. Detmold, Edward Seago and Feliks Topolski, and a superb designer binding by Elizabeth Greenhill (lot 169), estimate £6,000-8,000 also come under the hammer. A section of Modern First Editions includes a dust-jacketed copy of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus The Great Gatsby, 1925 at £25,000-35,000, works by James Joyce, Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Ian Fleming and J.K. Rowling. A small group of Evelyn Waugh books is complemented by his ear trumpet (lot 207), est. £1,000-1,500.

Early printed books open the afternoon session with a host of 16th century works from presses in continental Europe, followed by a strong section of manuscripts and autograph letters. Under the English Literature and History heading there is a presentation copy of John Taylor’s (the Water-Poet’s) All the Workes…, 1630 (lot 362), estimate £3,000-4,000 and, continuing the aquatic theme, lot 373 is Percey’s 1658 book, The Compleat Swimmer, one of the earliest works on the sport, at £5,000-7,000. A monumental 1716 Bible bound in red morocco with elaborate silver decorations and clasps by the great English silver-smith of the time, Anthony Nelme (lot 377), carries an estimate of £10,000-15,000. After further book sections of Travel (including a group on Afghanistan and Central Asia), Art & Architecture (including Nash’s The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, in a sumptuous deluxe binding for King George IV (lot 424, est. £8,000-10,000)), and Science & Natural History, the sale concludes with Prints, Watercolours and Drawings from Old Master to Gillray caricatures (lots 455 and 456). 

The March 23rd sale is online only, and the March 30th sale will be held at the Westbury Hotel in London at 10:30 am BST. To bid at either auction, registration with Forum Auctions is required if not done so on a previous occasion, and may be done so here

Select lots are available for viewing online now, and the provided links will become full online catalogs in early March:

Modern Literature

Fine Books and Works on Paper including Modern Literature, Children’s & Illustrated and Private Press