Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2013 Issue

Christie's in Paris: A Sale for Many Niches

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In keeping with its tradition of covering some of the best and most prestigious material in the world, Christie’s in Paris hosts a sale on Wednesday, November 6th, of Important Old Books, Artists’ Books and Manuscripts, much of the material younger than Christie’s itself.

 

The auction is split into five sections covering thirteen lots of ornithology and natural history material, forty-six lots of old books, seventeen lots of literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, twenty-one lots of artists’ books, and sixty lots of manuscripts and autographs. The estimates range in price, from affordable ($2,000) to premium ($250,000). You may recognize names like Gandhi , Darwin, Audubon , Voltaire, and Rousseau. The sale is distinctly French with the majority of the works in that language, but it has material for collectors with many niches including Americana, politics, art books, literature, manuscripts, and autographs.

 

The first portion of the auction focusing on ornithology and natural history contains some of the sale’s oldest material. One highlight of the section, making its first appearance at auction in over 30 years, is lot 5, Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder’s Avium Vivae Icones, a collection of 12 prints of birds and insects, dating from the late 16th century. It is estimated between $4,100-6,700. Gheeraerts is most noteworthy for being an innovative printmaker during a time when woodcut and engraving were the prominent techniques.

 

At lot 14, a second edition of John Audubon’s The Birds of America from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories heads the old books part of the sale. This second edition is the first to contain tinted lithographic backgrounds added to many of the prints. Its price pales in comparison to a complete set of the first edition with an estimate of $27,000-40,000 (versus almost $9M spent in 2000 for George Fox’s early subscription set of the original edition).

 

For Americana collectors, lot 24, George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting Scenes and Amusements. From Drawings by the Author.  may be the gem of sale. Containing 25 lithographs, this copy is uncolored. One other example has been sold by Christie’s in the past 20 years. In contrast, copies of the hand-colored variety are routinely seen in the rooms (and have fetched close to $100,000 in recent years). This copy is also estimated between $27,000-40,000.

 

Topping the prices under the old books portion of the sale is lot 29, Description de l’Égypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française¸ a series of 29 volumes published from 1809 to 1830 that scientifically describes ancient and modern Egypt as well as its natural history. It is a collaborative work by a team known as the “savants” who travelled with Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars. The work is considered an important event in French printing history and is estimated between $130,000-160,000.

 

Moving on to the artists’ books, material from many well-known artists is covered. Picasso, Chagall, Degas, Duchamp, Ernst, Miró, and Renoir are all represented. As these are reproductions of collections of said artists’ works, the prices are relatively modest, with low estimates starting at $2,700 and topping out at $20,000 for Càntic del Sol. Traducció : Josep Carner. Pròleg : Marià Manent, a collection of 33 original prints by Miró (lot 92), limited to 273 copies.

 

The final part of the sale covering manuscripts and autographs  contains predominantly French material. There is a wide variety of subject matter, from Gandhi’s letter to the British ministry (lot 107, $5,400-8,000), to the autographed manuscript copy of Paul Éluard’s Livre ouvert III (lot 106, $94,000-120,000), to fifteen separate lots of letters by Voltaire to various recipients (he wrote a lot). For the collector of autographs and manuscripts, there are sixty lots of intriguing material waiting to be perused.

 

SALE INFO

Auction Time

Sale Location

Viewing Times in Paris

For more information as well as the E-Catalogue for the sale, please visit Christie's.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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