Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2016 Issue

Dec. 2-4: Neal Auction Company's Louisiana Purchase Auction

Highlights works on paper from Neal Auction Company's upcoming Louisiana Purchase Auction

This month, Neal Auction Company, an auction house based in New Orleans and operating since 1983, is hosting its annual Louisiana Purchase Auction. While not a company focused solely on rare books, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera, their material under the Louisiana Purchase moniker do contain selections of these categories. Since 2010, Rare Book Hub has added Neal Auction Company’s results to its Rare Book Transaction History, with 2,591 lots searchable today.

This year’s Louisiana Purchase Auction takes place over three days, December 2, 3, and 4, 2016, though bidding is already underway online, and the sale contains 1,229 lots total. A large majority of these items are not print material or works on paper. Rather, virtually any type of item from American history you can think of is likely to be found here: old weapons, musical instruments (the item with the single highest estimate in the entire sale is a snare drum that was used during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, the final battle of the War of 1812), furniture, jewelry, and clocks are just a few things you can find for sale. Fortunately, for purveyors of rare books, Neal Auction Company allows you to look at specific types of material, like books and maps.

American maps and engravings by Frenchmen are a strong point for the Louisiana Purchase Auction. The Gaspar Cusachs Collection, which has been on loan to the Louisiana State Museum, is part of the sale, and specifically the engravings of Georges Henri Collot are heavily featured. Collot was a French military officer best known for his expedition down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1796. His published account of the expedition, entitled Voyage dans l'Amérique Septentrionale, is exceptionally rare and is valued for the numerous engraved maps and engravings contained within. The complete production is not for sale here; instead many of the individual maps and engravings are offered. Collot’s materials begin with lot 11 and continue through lot 32 with estimates ranging from $4,000 – 6,000 on the high end to $300 – 500 on the low. Another Frenchman’s map of the Mississippi River also bears mentioning, being Nicolas de Fer’s “Partie Meridionale de la Rivere de Missisipi, et ses Environs, dans l’Amerique Septentrionale” from 1718. Listed as lot 451, it carries an estimate of $6,000 – 9,000.

Natural history is also a subject well represented in the sale. Ironically, two of the higher valued lots are recent publications, from 1999 and 2006. Both are limited edition reprintings of Audubon, lot 468 entitled Audubon’s Fifty Best from the Original Havell Engravings of the Birds of America (1999), and lot 469 The New York Historical Society Edition of Audubon’s Fifty Best Watercolors from the Original Watercolors Preparatory for Birds of America (2006). The copy of the 1999 publication is #1 of an edition limited to 150, and the 2006 publication is #26 of 200. Both feature their 50 prints on cotton, either on the English Somerset velvet or archival types.

The New York Historical Society edition includes a custom mahogany floor stand, making it quite the display piece. Both lots 468 and 469 are estimated at $5,000 – 7,000 each. McKenney & Hall’s The History of the Indian Tribes of North America is a book I grew up sharing a roof with as it was a part of my father’s collection that sold at Bonhams in 2010, and I can personally attest to the magnificence of that work. The entire production is not available in this sale, but a group of twelve hand-colored lithographs from it are offered as lot 470 (est. $1,500 – 2,500).

 Neal Auction Company’s Louisiana Purchase Auction will be held live December 2, 3, and 4, 2016 in New Orleans. Bidding is available via the expected methods: in person, telephone, absentee, and online. As stated before, online bidding is live now through both LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. All lots for the sales are viewable on those sites, but I recommend using Neal Auction’s own catalog as it allows browsing by category. This feature is available here—look at the top of the page for “Browse By Lot Number” and “Browse By Category.”

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
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    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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