Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2017 Issue

July 8: Fine Books & Manuscripts at Potter & Potter Auctions including a Force Declaration of Independence

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Potter & Potter Auctions, a Chicago-based house started in 2007, has historically focused on magicana—antiques and collectibles focused on magic and magicians—but they also conduct sales including paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, coin-op, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, vintage posters, and prints. This month, on Saturday, July 8th, Potter & Potter is holding their inaugural sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts and Other Works on Paper, an auction consisting of 575 quality items falling into the following subjects: science & natural history; continental and British books and manuscripts; militaria; printed and manuscript Americana; cartography, travel, and sporting books; comic and illustration art; literature; art and posters; and entertainment.

The section on Americana contains many of the sale’s highlights, led by a Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, a single page taken from volume I of Force’s 1837-1853 series of books The American Archives. The engraving was produced using the same copperplate made by William J. Stone in 1820 who was commissioned by John Quincy Adams to make a facsimile of the original declaration because of its deteriorating condition. Only a few hundred copies are known to exist, and the collectability of such an item is self-evident. Force’s engraving is estimated $15,000 to $20,000 as lot 132.

Another significant item under the Americana header is a partially printed document signed by an American President whose presidential autograph is quite rare. James Garfield took office March 4, 1881 and served until September 19, 1881, when he died after being shot by Charles Guiteau in early July. With less than four healthy months as President, the number of documents that Garfield signed in office are far fewer than average. Lot 145 is the Appointment of Francis W. Seeley as Postmaster General at Sake City, Minnesota, dated March 22, 1881 and is estimated $10,000 to $15,000.

One final lot of Americana that I need to mention is lot 175, an extensive archive of over 100 letters, manuscripts, documents and FBI memorabilia, most which are signed, of Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent famous for his role in the captures of outlaws such as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger in the 1930s. Purvis still has more captures of public enemies than any other agent in FBI history. Estimated $9,500 to $10,500, this archive would be equally excellent serving as the foundation for a new collecting focus or as an addition to an existing one.

Comics have been enjoying a boom in popularity and pricing for some time now, and lot 240 is a unique offering that comicphiles may find hard to resist. While first issues and particularly rare individual comics generate huge interest, the lot on offer here offers a different sort of uniqueness. Walter Gibson, author of The Shadow comic series, was tapped in 1931 to be the creator of the print version of the eponymous hero, who at that time was just a voice on the radio drama Detective Stories. Lot 240 is not only a complete run of The Shadow, from 1931 to 1944, but it is also Gibson’s personal set! It can be yours for an estimated $8,000 to $12,000.

Two final items, both from the Literature section of the sale, conclude this auction preview. Lot 298 is a pair of draft pages for James Fenimore Cooper’s final novel The Headsman. Written in Paris around 1832 or 1833, the pages are written in a small but neat script. The lot also includes a check filled out in Cooper’s hand, payable to “self” for $20. The Cooper lot is estimated $3,400 to $5,000. Another unique autograph lot, #359, belongs to Alan Ginsberg, being a five page autographed letter signed to the Symphony School, Mr. Loratz, and Students, in which the poet lists his “favorite musical compositions accumulated in ear / mind.” Similarly estimated to the prior lot, Ginsberg’s letter is estimated $3,000 to $5,000.

Potter & Potter Auctions’ sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts and Other Works on Paper is set to begin at 10 am CST on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Previews of the sale will be on July 5 through 7, from 10 am to 5 pm or by appointment. Online bidding and catalog viewing is available on BidSquare, and a PDF version, as well as a 3D catalog, are available on the Potter & Potter site. In addition to online bidding, interested bidders can bid live, via absentee bid, or by phone.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.

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