Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2022 Issue

The William S. Reese Sales Begin this Spring; Highlights Coming to California

Slipping into the daily news flow in January, The New York Times recently published an homage to William Reese, the exceptional rare book dealer who dominated collectible printed Americana over his 62 years.  Bill passed away on June 4th, 2018 and soon his personal collection of books and fine art will be sold at Christie’s in New York.  The field’s great enthusiasts will watch, bid, buy and remember as Mr. Reese’s personal copies have long been understood to be among the best examples on the planet. 

 

The material highlighted in the New York Times story recently is of course exceptional as is defined in the ways the field uses the term:  by rarity, condition and/or provenance:  any one category will make a copy special for the keenest observers.  Given Bill’s encyclopedic knowledge, his extensive community of experts he relied on, and his relentless pursuit of best copies, expect you’ll soon be encountering an exceptional sale.

 

The first lot to be auctioned will be a single lot in the Old Master Paintings Evening Sale, currently scheduled for April 27, 2022. It is a set of six important paintings by the Italian painter Agostino Brunias (1730-1796), depicting free people of color on the island of Dominica, est. $200,000-300,000.

 

The “main event” of Bill’s material will be sold in May in what Christie’s describes as one of “the most significant sales of printed Americana in more than half a century.”  The collection comprises 700 lots +/-, carrying a $12 to $18 million estimate that Christina Geiger, head of rare books and manuscripts, explains as “conservative.”

 

Christina is bringing some of the material to California for the ABAA Book Fair. Items can be viewed in the Junior Ballroom at the Oakland Convention Center on 12-13 February (closing early on the 13th) or at Christie’s San Francisco office by appointment. For a short-title list or to make an appointment, contact kayla.trowbridge@christies.com.

 

The Reese auctions are not posted yet but they are already visible in Christie’s calendar.  Look for the below:

 

Old Master Paintings, Evening Sale, 27 April 2022

The Private Collection of William S. Reese:  Part One, 25 May 2022

The Private Collection of William S. Reese:  Part Two, 26 May 2022

 

These will be followed by an Online Sale closing in late May or early June and the Reese Collection of Herman Melville selling in the autumn. Advance orders for all printed catalogues can be made: here.

 

The images attached with this article are photographs of highlights, taken last year in the New Haven home which Bill shared with his wife, Dorothy Hurt.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.

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