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Prices Achieved at Recent Auctions
Strong Showing for Edward S. Curtis Photographs at Swann
On Thursday, April 20, Swann Galleries offered Images & Objects: Photographs & Photobooks, setting records for early and modern works alike. The sale performed well overall, with 71% of works offered finding buyers.
Swann Galleries consistently offers a varied selection of rare and iconic works by Edward S. Curtis, with nearly all of the offered lots selling above or within the estimate in this sale. Highlights included a striking portrait of Red Cloud, Oglala, 1905, which sold for $32,500, a record for the work, above a high estimate of $9,000. The Scout, Apache, 1906, a dramatic orotone in the original frame depicting a Native American silhouetted on a horse, more than doubled its high estimate of $12,000 to sell for $27,500, a record for an orotone of the image; another orotone in its original frame, An Oasis in the Badlands, 1905, was purchased by a collector for $21,250, above a high estimate of $15,000.
Bastions of the art of photography performed well, with the highest price in the sale going to a group of 60 plates from Eadweard Muybridge’s seminal Animal Locomotion, 1887, at $45,000. Ansel Adams’s iconic Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, printed circa 1976, went for $42,500. Five of the six works offered by New York-based vernacular photographer Weegee (née Arthur Fellig) found buyers, led by Coney Island, 1940, at $13,750.
The cover lot for the sale was an unusual version of Toni Frissell’s breathtaking A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1957—the image was printed in reverse, with the notation “This is backwards” on the verso ($12,500).
Works from the last 50 years performed exceptionally well, with high prices going to Robert Frank’s Sick of Goodby’s, Mabou, 1978, and Zuma #9, 1978, by John Divola ($32,500 and $10,000, respectively). Both offered works by Peter Hujar far surpassed their high estimates: a trio of portraits of Robert Wilson, Ann Wilson and Sheryl Sutton, 1975, reached $27,500, above a high estimate of $12,000, while the striking 1985 Shack, Queens, more than doubled its high estimate of $6,000 to sell to a collector for $13,750. A suite of five photographs by Duane Michals, titled Narcissus, 1985, soared past its high estimate of $9,000 to sell after rapid bidding for $26,000, a record for the work.
Daile Kaplan, Director of Photographs & Photobooks at Swann Galleries, said of the sale, “Visual icons of the photography market, including Ansel Adams' Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico and Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion plates, and remarkable objects like Edward Curtis' extraordinary orotones sold competitively. The response to contemporary works by Peter Hujar, Adam Fuss and Duane Michals was exciting. The mid-range market for images and objects continues to attract new and mature buyers.” For more information or consign quality materials, contact Daile Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chagall, Hopper & Whistler Fetch High Prices
On Thursday, March 2, Swann Galleries’ sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings exceeded $3,000,000 and broke ten auction records. The house, which is celebrating it diamond anniversary this year, has enjoyed several record-breaking sales already in their spring 2017 season. The rare deluxe edition of Marc Chagall’s 1948 portfolio Four Tales from the Arabian Nights, of which only 11 were printed, topped the sale. The set belonged to the publisher of Pantheon Books, Kurt Wolff. The vibrant color lithographs include the 13th plate denoting the deluxe edition; still in the original case, the set sold to a collector for $269,000.
Early twentieth-century American prints saw competitive bidding and high prices. Edward Hopper’s rare 1921 etching Evening Wind sold for $149,000, nearly doubling its high estimate of $80,000. The American master was also represented in the sale by the 1921 etching Night Shadows, which went for $33,800. A premiere selection of prints by Hopper’s mentor Martin Lewis was led by the extremely rare aquatint Which Way?, 1932, which was purchased for $42,500, a record for the work. Further highlights by Lewis included the 1929 drypoint Bay Windows and 1916’s etching The Orator, Madison Square, each of which went for $27,500.
Another highlight of the sale was Männlicher Akt (Selbstbildnis I), 1912, Egon Schiele’s first attempt at a printed self-portrait; the work brought $30,000. A 1914 drypoint by the artist, Kümmernis, was purchased for $15,000. Orologi Molli, a watercolor by Salvador Dalí featuring one of his famous melting clocks, surpassed its high estimate to sell for $112,500. Another original, a pen and ink drawing by Paul Klee of prancing bulls, titled Drama in der Kuhwelt, 1915, reached $25,000.
All four offered works by Mary Cassatt found buyers, including the rare circa-1902 drypoint Crocheting Lessons, which sold for $27,500. Another Cassatt, the color drypoint and soft-ground etching The Coiffure, circa 1891, broke its previous auction record to sell for $81,250. Etchings made by James A.M. Whistler during a 1879-80 trip to Venice performed well, including the luminous Upright Venice, at $70,000. Two further prints from the same period each broke their previous auction records: The Garden reached $70,000, while San Biagio sold for $62,500. The complete set of 14 lithographs in Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s Mélodies de Désiré Dihau, 1895, was sold for $30,000, a record for the work. The set was previously in the collection of Eric Carlson. The next sale of Prints & Drawings at Swann Galleries will be Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 2, 2017. For more information, contact Todd Weyman at email@example.com.
Strong Showing of Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries March 9
On Thursday, March 9, Swann Galleries offered a morning auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books, with examples from each section of the sale represented in the top 20 lots.
A leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, 1455, topped the sale. The remnant of the first book ever printed was hinged in a 1921 folio of A Noble Fragment; being, A Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible by A. Edward Newton. The leaf contains the text of Ecclesiasticus 16:14-18-29; it was purchased by a collector for $52,500. Tobias Abeloff, the Senior Specialist for Early Printed Books at Swann, noted “While individual leaves from the Gutenberg Bible come to auction with some regularity, they are still sought after, considering the unlikelihood of a complete or even fragmentary copy coming on the market."
Nearly all of the offered bibles sold, including the first edition of the Geneva Bible, the most popular bible in Elizabethan England, which was printed in 1560; it sold for $22,500. The first English-language edition of Hans Holbein’s The Images of the Old Testament, 1549, with 94 woodcut illustrations by the artist, sold for $11,875.
Premier examples of English printing included a run of first editions by David Hume, led by Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, 1748, which brought $4,500, and the 1751 An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, which was purchased for $4,000, double its high estimate.
From the Medical and Scientific sections of the sale came an archive of 21 letters from Harvey Cushing to Agnes Willard Bartlett, the great-niece of Elisha Bartlett, which was purchased for $13,750. Expositio super Antidotario Mesue, 1488, by Christophorus Georgius de Honestis, the second edition of a late 14th-century commentary on the Antidotarium ascribed to the Baghdad court physician Mesuë the Younger, tripled its high estimate to sell for $15,000.
The sale featured a strong selection of travel books, led by Jan Nieuhoff et al’s narratives of the Dutch East India Company’s missions to China, titled An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperour of China, 1671, which sold for $7,500.
Each of the eight offered manuscripts found buyers, with the highlight being a collection of 15 illustrated prayers by Charles V of Spain, titled Oraciones de los SS. Mysterios Gloriosos y Dolorosos de la Santissima Virgen Maria, 1676, which was purchased for $9,375.
The next sale of Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries will be held in Fall 2017. For more information, contact Tobias Abeloff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Largest Collection of Mucha at Auction Sells 93% at Swann's First 2017 Sale
On Thursday, January 26, Swann Galleries opened their 2017 season with a landmark sale of Alphonse Mucha & Masters of Art Nouveau: The Harry C. Meyerhoff Collection, the largest private collection of works by the artist and his circle ever to come to auction. Of the over 200 posters, sketches and ephemera, more than half of which were by Mucha; many of the pieces were unique, previously unrecorded, or had never before appeared at auction.
Swann President and Principal Auctioneer Nicholas D. Lowry, who is also the director of the Vintage Posters department, sold works to a packed room, with all bidding phones occupied. All but one of 136 offered works by Mucha found new homes, leading to a 93% sell-through rate for the entire sale. Mr. Lowry noted, “By all metrics the auction was a huge success. It was the highest sell-through rate of any major posters sale anywhere in the world since 1999.”
The top lot of the sale was the complete set of five volumes of Les Maîtres de l’Affiche, which was published periodically in Paris from 1896 to 1900. The art critic Roger Marx compiled what he believed to be the best Art Nouveau posters of the time from Europe and the U.S., with full-color lithographs of works Jules Chéret, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, Mucha and others. This set, in its original binding designed by Paul Berthon, was purchased by an institution for $47,500.
The highest-value lot by Mucha was a rare set of silk panels depicting allegories of The Seasons, 1900. The designs mark a shift in the artist’s style away from pastels and towards realism. The set garnered $35,000. Other examples of Mucha’s work printed on fabric were two red panels, one on satin and one on velveteen. The satin example more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $7,500.
Many posters made their auction debut, including the ethereal Parfumerie Gellé Frères / Sylvanis Essence, 1899, in its scarce pre-text format ($27,500), and Krinogen, an unusual circular advertisement, circa 1928, which was purchased by a collector for $2,500.
One outstanding section of the sale was a run of original sketches for Documents Décoratifs and Figures Décoratifs, two books of guides by Mucha for people to decorate their homes in an Art Nouveau style. Each of the eight sketches by Mucha sold for several times their high estimates, with the highlight being a single circa 1902 pencil sketch that sold for $15,000, above a high estimate of $2,000.
All seven of the offered posters Mucha designed for the actress Sarah Bernhardt performed well, led by the dramatic life-size depiction of Medee / Sarah Bernhardt, 1898, which sold to a collector for $23,750. Bernhardt helped to launch the artist’s career when she commissioned him to create a poster for her 1894 production of Gismonda, which was so successful she reused the design in her 1896 Sarah Bernhardt / American Tour ($6,000). Another Bernhardt highlight was the 1908 Leslie Carter, which fetched $18,750, a record for the work, above a high estimate of $7,500.
Several works in the sale broke previous auction records, including a La Vague, 1897, by Privat-Livemont. The previous record for the well-known work, which was heavily inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, was $5,760, set in 2012; the new record is $9,375.
“With 93% of lots sold, this proved to be our most successful poster sale by lot and our third best by value,” said Mr. Lowry later that day. “We had the highest attendance we’ve ever had at a preview, a standing-room only special event, a full auction room and active bidding on almost all of the lots. As an auctioneer I can only say that every aspect of the auction was a pleasure, and that our diligent work was validated by such strong numbers is an extra pleasure.” He added, “It was a real event, in the old-fashioned sense of an auction being an event.”
Harry C. Meyerhoff was the owner of champion racehorse “Spectacular Bid” and a vintage poster collector based in Easton, Maryland. He began collecting fin de siècle posters in the 1970s with his wife and soon turned his focus to Alphonse Mucha. His main advisor for the collection was William J. Tomlinson, the highly regarded Baltimore art dealer and appraiser. Harry C. Meyerhoff died on February 11, 2016 at the age of 86.
The next auction of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries will be held on March 16, 2017. For more information, or to consign materials to future sales, contact Nicholas D. Lowry at email@example.com or via phone (212) 254-4710, ext. 57.
20th Century Artists Dominate December Art Books Auction
Works by and about twentieth century artists dominated the scene at Swann Galleries’ biannual sale of Art, Press & Illustrated Books on Thursday, December 1. Of the top 20 lots in the sale, only two were published before 1900. The sale also broke several auction records. The highlight of the sale was a rare limited edition of Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, 1918, the only monograph published in the artist’s lifetime. The retrospective work, with richly printed collotype plates, ten in color with gold and silver highlights, sold to a collector for $60,000. Another outstanding lot was a preparatory proof of László Moholy-Nagy’s Composition which was published in the Belgian avant-garde magazine Het Overzicht, circa 1924. The print sold after competitive bidding for $17,500, a record for the work.
The most complete set ever to come to auction of the Mexican Stridentist journal Horizonte, 1926-27, made its debut. The periodical was edited by Leopoldo Méndez and Ramón Alva de la Canal, and contributors included Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. Stridentism was a radical avant-garde art movement founded in Mexico City in 1921, formed out of the momentum of the Mexican Revolution; Horizonte was their outlet. The set sold for $22,500.
Auction records were set for a scarce first edition of Die Farbenklaviaturen von Le Corbusier, 1931, a wallpaper sample book designed by the artist to allow people to create harmonious color combinations in their homes ($6,000), as well as Kurt Schwitters’s Die Silbergäule, Merz 8. Die Kathedrale, 1920, with seven lithographs, which sold to a collector for $4,420. The first limited edition of Five Poems, 2002, by Kara Walker and Toni Morrison broke its previous auction record to sell for $1,000.
Several works made their auction debuts, including Percy Bysshe Shelley’s The Sensitive Plant, 1898, one of ten copies printed on vellum for the Guild of Women Binders, which sold to a collector for $5,250. The ornate Insel-Verlag edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, 1908, designed and bound by Eleanore Ramsey, also went to a collector for $15,000.
Further highlights included a first edition of the satirical alphabet book skewering the 1913 Armory show, titled The Cubies’ ABC, by Mary M. and Earl H. Lyall, which sold for $4,750. Douze Quatrains, 1930, by Pierre Bragenell, with 12 erotic pochoirs attributed to Gerda Wegener, was purchased by a collector for a record $5,500. Another record was set for a scholarly compilation by Hsiang Yüan-Pien titled Noted Porcelains of Successive Dynasties, 1931, which garnered $5,250.
Modern fairy mythology performed well in the sale, including Fairyland, 1926, an Australian picture book by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, which sold for a record-breaking $4,250. Similarly, the first English trade edition of The Book of Fairy Poetry, 1920, sold for nearly four times the high estimate at $1,750. The book contains the first illustrated version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem Goblin Feet. While not strictly fairy-related, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, illustrated and signed by Salvador Dalí, brought $5,750. All prices include buyer's premium.
Revolutionary Americana & Mormon Material Dominate Swann's November 17th Sale
Swann Galleries’ November 17 sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana brought more than $770,000, exceeding the high estimate for the sale. The top lot was an 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon, which sold to a private collector for $67,500. This was more than the last 17 copies on the auction market, going back to a 2008 sale at Swann where it sold for $75,000. Swann holds the record for this rare true first edition, set in 2007 at $180,000. What makes this edition unusual is that it is the only one to list Joseph Smith as the “author and proprietor” rather than the translator. Mormon-related documents continue to perform well, with the diary of a Methodist preacher named Benajah Williams, in which he describes a meeting that may have inspired Smith’s first vision, selling for $13,750. Additional Mormon highlights included a published response by Joseph Smith to a letter from J.A. Bennett, 1844, which sold for $6,750, and a letter by Wilford Woodruff describing the Mormon settlement and the development of Utah, 1877, which reached $25,000.
Sale prices for Revolutionary War material were even stronger than usual, with several lots going many times above their high estimates. Notably, a newspaper printing of Thomas Paine's 1777 American Crisis brought $37,500, while notes taken during the 1782 Continental Congress by member Arthur Middleton, which include the first reference to Vermont’s statehood, sold for $55,000.
Works from the Timothy Treacy collection of historic Californiana performed well in the sale, selling over 90% of the 35 lots offered and setting numerous auction records. An inscribed first edition of Clarence King's Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, brought $8,750, a record for the author. Another record was $2,750 for a first edition of Charles F. McGlashan's History of the Donner Party, 1879. A portfolio of photographs of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range from the 1930s by Clinton C. Clarke sold for $9,375, over six times the high estimate, while a first edition of Thomas J. Farnham’s Travels in the Californias, and Scenes of the Pacific Ocean, 1844, doubled its estimate to sell for $8,125.
Another record was set by a rare 1796 illustrated Bible, published in Philadelphia by Berriman & Co., which sold for $1,500. Institutions did very well at the sale. Most notably, the Society of the Cincinnati won a 1776 orderly book detailing the defenses of New York; the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina bid successfully on an important 1782 Henry Laurens letter; the Massachusetts Historical Society won an anti-abolition broadside by George Francis Train, 1862; the New-York Historical Society won three lots including a group of Holland Tunnel blueprints; and the Connecticut River Museum acquired a diary by river pilot John Ingraham.
Book Department Director and Americana Specialist Rick Stattler said, "Prices remained strong, particularly for Revolutionary War material, reflecting a busy week—we had a large crowd waiting at our door when the preview opened. Private collectors were very active in the sale, picking up four of the top ten lots."
The next sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries will be held in April, 2017. For more information, or to consign materials, contact specialist Rick Stattler at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (212) 254-4710, ext. 27.
Signed First Editions Dominate Swann's Auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature on November 10. Sale Breaks Several Auction Records.
Every book by father of science fiction H.G. Wells sold, led by The Invisible Man, 1897. This book, which sold for $7,500, was one of several from a collection of fine first edition association copies inscribed by the author to his friend W.E. Henley, to whom Wells dedicated The Time Machine. Other highlights from the collection included The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896, and The First Men in the Moon, 1901, which sold for $7,000 and $5,750, respectively. Another first edition of The Invisible Man sold to an institution for $5,000.
The top lot of the sale was the first issue of the first edition of Frank L. Baum’s classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900, which brought $23,750, more than tripling its high estimate. Other children’s literature also performed well, including a signed limited first edition of Le Petit Prince, 1943, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which tied its previous auction record at $9,750. Additionally, signed presentation copies of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll sold for $15,000, while a complete set of first editions of the Christopher Robin books by A.A. Milne brought $7,500.
In its auction debut a first edition, signed in the year of publication, of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran sold for $5,750. The book has been continuously in print since 1923 and has sold over 100 million copies, but is rarely seen at auction. This was also the first time at auction for a limited issue of a set of ten leather-bound volumes of The Complete Works of Walt Whitman, 1902, which sold for $5,000.
Other auction records that were set included a signed first edition of Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+. A Romance of the Year 2660, 1925, which sold to a collector for $8,125. The first American edition of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, 1886, sold for a record-breaking price of $8,125, while Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s first English edition of The Brother Karamazov, 1912, sold to a collector for $11,250.
Additional highlights included an inscribed first edition of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, 1900, which brought $16,250, and the true first edition of Anne Frank’s diary, printed in Amsterdam in the original Dutch in 1947, sold after heated bidding to a collector for $12,500. The first American edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876, by Mark Twain also did well, selling for $13,750.
First Edition Isaac Newton Brings $87k at Swann Galleries Oct 18 Auction
Swann Auction Galleries held a successful sale of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books on Tuesday, October 18, with special offerings of early scientific and mathematical material. The top lot of the sale was a first edition, first issue of Sir Isaac Newton’s seminal Opticks, 1704, a treatise on light and color. This excellent copy of the groundbreaking work sold well above its estimate at $87,500. Another highlight was Euclid’s Elementa geometriae, 1482, the first major mathematical work to appear in print. The printing process used in the first edition, which includes extensive geometrical designs, influenced the design of subsequent editions and similar works into the sixteenth century; it sold for $62,500.
Each section of the sale performed well, especially the collection of mountaineering literature from the estate of Timothy Treacy, an adventurer from California. Works in the collection helped to stimulate interest in mountaineering, as well as later classics on the subject. Specialist Tobias Abeloff said, “It was an interesting collection to work on, with many uncommon items. 129 of the 131 Treacy lots sold, so the sell-through rate mirrored the sale as a whole at 98%. The top Treacy lot was Edmund Thomas Coleman’s Scenes from the Snow-Fields, 1859.” That work sold to a collector for $16,250. Other highlights from the Treacy Collection included a first edition of Rambles and Scrambles: Across the Country from Thonon to Trent, 1865, by Douglas Freshfield ($12,350) and a series of published letters between William Windham and Pierre Martel titled An Account of the Glacieres or Ice Alps in Savoy, 1744 ($10,000).
William Shakespeare’s A Winters Tale, extracted from the First Folio, sold after steady bidding for $25,000, well above its high estimate. A fourteenth-century vellum manuscript Psalter from England, written in gothic hand and including contemporary calendars, litany and miscellaneous texts, sold to a collector for $8,450. Early English bibles also attracted much attention: The Byble, 1551 ($15,600); The holie Bible, 1572 ($7,280); and The Holy Bible, 1617 ($13,000), all sold to collectors for more than twice their estimates.
Specialist Tobias Abeloff commented, “Healthy phone and internet bidding sent prices for many items well beyond their estimates.” This was Swann Galleries’ top-earning dedicated Early Printed books sale since the house’s October 2012 offering of Aldine Imprints & Early Printed Books from the Library of Kenneth Rapoport, underscoring the continued strength of premium book collections at auction.
Addison & Sarova
Addison & Sarova's August 20 Summer Rare Book Sale saw mixed results with many of the 400 lots fetching more than the pre-sale estimates. The Journals of Congress: containing their proceedings from September 5, 1774… [to January 1, 1780] Philadelphia: Folwell's Press, 1800, volumes 1 through 6 only, brought $800 (est. $200-400). [Seabury, Samuel]: An Alarm to the Legislature of the Province of New-York, Occasioned by the Present Political Disturbance, in North-America: Addressed to the Honourable Representatives in General Assembly Convened. New York: Printed for James Rivington, 1775, split the $1000 - $2000 estimate at a respectable $1,300. For complete results continue to their website….
Swann Galleries Poster Sale Sets Several Auction Records
Swann's August 3 sale of Vintage Posters brought more than $450,000, finishing the 2015-2016 season for the house with three record lots. With almost 600 offerings, the day was a panoply of genres, ostensibly 8 or 9 sales in one, with large sections of Russian and World War I and II propaganda, Art Nouveau works, travel and resort advertisements, circus bills, minstrel and black images in marketing, work incentive posters and more.
Swann previously set the record in 2013 for Alois Hans Schram’s Jubilæums – Ausstellung / Wein, 1898, and raised it on Wednesday by more than one thousand dollars. An American work incentive poster, Learn What You Need! / Use What You Learn!, designer unknown, went to a private collector for $4,000, a record for the work. A travel poster by Francois Gos, Zermott / Matterhorn, 1904, surpassed its auction record with $5,750.
The top sections of the sale were war posters, with Russian lots showing the strongest interest. A group of 35 Russian propaganda posters topped the sale, bringing $18,750 after fierce bidding. Works by Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha also drew attention, with a high sell-through rate on those posters.
The auction was well-attended both physically and online, and collectors competed to take home trophies. Swann Galleries’ President Nicholas D. Lowry said of the sale, “From the podium it was encouraging to see active bidding on all the different varieties of offerings, suggesting quite strongly that the market is robust and deep.” The next sale of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries is scheduled for October 27, 2016. For more information, or to consign materials, contact specialist Nicholas D. Lowry at email@example.com or via phone (212) 254-4710, ext. 57.
The Wayne Martin Comic Book Collection from PBA Galleries Sale 582
PBA Galleries Sale 582, Fine Books in All Fields with Illustrated & Children's Books took place on March 24, 2016. Along with a variety of other illustrated books, the sale featured a collection of comic books from the late Wayne Martin, an avid collector of autographs, books and ephemera from many fields. This was the first major comic collection offered by PBA and the results lived up to expectations, with many of the comics bringing impressive prices. The comics brought a high level of attention from potential buyers, with a number of participants by telephone and real-time bidding over the internet, as well as by those who left earlier proxy bids.
The highlight of the comic collection was a very fine copy the rare 35 cent variant of Marvel's Star Wars #1 from 1977, which sold for a record breaking $7,200. This comic is considered to be one of the most valuable and sought after comic books of the "Bronze Age" (1970-1985). Marvel typically tested price increases on a limited basis before rolling out the increase to all titles, and approximately 1,500 copies of the first printing priced at 35 cents are thought to exist; all others being priced at 30 cents. The timing was great for this book, with the new film bringing the Star Wars saga back into the media spotlight.
Another rare item that performed well was a pristine copy of the first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, which sold for $3,900. This book was the beginning of what would soon become a phenomenon in the 1980's and 90's, spawning popular films, cartoon show and video games. The book features the origin and first appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Splinter, and Shredder, with a wraparound cover by creator Kevin Eastman. Only 3,000 copies were printed of this independent rarity, and it is hard to find in good condition. One of the most sought after books from the "Copper Age" (1985-1991) of comics.
Undeniably the most unique item in the collection was a copy of Dick Lupoff's history of comics, All In Color For a Dime, which sold for $1,440. The book in itself is not particularly valuable, but Wayne Martin spent over a decade filling the book with autographs and sketches from the legends of the comic book industry. The book is signed by the author and over 100 comic industry giants throughout the volume. Signatures include Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Marion Zimmer Bradley, R. Crumb, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Jaime Hernandez, Marv Wolfman, David Prowse (Darth Vader) and many others. The volume is signed by many artists along with sketches of the characters they are famous for, including Sergio Aragone, Art Spiegelman, Rob Liefeld, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, P. Craig Russell, Arthur Adams, CharlesVess and many others. A truly one of a kind item for fans and collectors.
The X-men made a good showing as well, with a very nice copy of Giant Size X-men #1 going for $1080. The book is a highly collectible milestone of Marvel Comics, featuring the first appearances of many of the X-men's most popular characters, including Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird. This is the first issue of the X-men to feature the fan favorite Wolverine, and is his second full-length appearance in any comic book, after his debut in The Incredible Hulk #'s 180 and 181. X-men # 94 sold for $300, the first issue in the regular series to feature the new team, signed by award winning writer Chris Clairemont.
The collection featured a number of wonderful comics from the "Golden Age" (1930's-1950's), the highlight being Flash #'s 101 and 104 from the 1940's, the pair of them selling for an impressive $2,700. Issue 104 is considered to be the last Golden Age appearance of the Flash, who would not appear again in his own book for the better part of a decade. Golden Age comics did well overall in the sale. Detective Comics # 142, featuring the second appearance of the Riddler sold for $1200. Three issues of DC's sci-fi series Mysteries in Space, featuring art by Frank Frazetta and Gil Kane went for $1020. Issues of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Submariner made nice showings as well. Perhaps the most unique of the Golden Age comics was Our Gang Comics #1 from 1942, which was the first comic version of the film/TV series, featuring stories and art by Walt Kelly who went on to fame with his Pogo series, going for $300.
Overall, the collection's performance shows that it's an exciting time for comic book collectors, with many of the titles bringing very strong prices. The complete catalogue for the auction, with prices realized, is at www.pbagalleries.com. Note that all prices listed include the buyer’s premium.
PBA Galleries holds sales of fine, rare and collectible books every two weeks. For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ansel Adams' Moonrise Fetches $221,000
Swann Galleries’ February 25 auction Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks brought over $1,640,000, lead by a famous image by Ansel Adams. Daile Kaplan, Swann Vice President and Director of Photographs & Photobooks, said, “We are thrilled with the success of this sale. Iconic photographs sold competitively, auction records were set for 19th and 20th-century images, and clients new to the photography marketplace were successful bidders. Auction prices for vernacular imagery continue to be noteworthy as numerous lots sold well above estimates, demonstrating a continued rise in interest in this corner of the market.”
The Adams, a 1950s mural-sized silver print of his dramatic Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1948, sold for $221,000 (including buyer's premium). Beyond the amazing story of Adams capturing this iconic image, this particular print boasted a weighty provenance, having been owned by both Edwin Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, and Edward Mills Purcell, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1952.
Photographs of famous and influential figures were among the top lots, with Garry Winogrand’s portfolio 15 Big Shots, with each of the silver prints signed, selling for $45,000. Richard Avedon’s oversized silver print Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall, evening dress by Grés, Moulin Rouge, 1957, showing the photographer’s muse with accomplished sailor and surgeon Robin Tattersall, sold for $35,000.
Works from documentary photographs performed well in the sale, with Dorothea Lange’s silver print The General Strike, Policeman, 1934, selling for $81,250, while Margaret Bourke-White’s 1937 silver print At the time of the flood, Louisville, Kentucky realized $32,500. Lewis W. Hine’s image of a child laborer, Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina, silver print, 1908, brought $20,000.
The photobooks section also saw particular success, with a signed and inscribed first edition of Man Ray’s Photographs 1920-1934 Paris realizing $18,750. A first edition set of Edward Emerson Barnard’s 1927 A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way, Parts I & II, brought $17,500, eclipsing its high-estimate after competitive bidding. Two albums set auction records: William Saunders’ Sketches of Chinese Life and Character, 1871-72, which included 50-hand colored albumen prints sold for $65,000, the top price ever realized for the artist at auction. The other record was set by an album of 25 gold-chloride toned microphotographs of snowflakes by Wilson A. Bentley, which brought $52,000.
Among vernacular lots, a group of more than 100 photographs of residents of a trailer park in the 1950s, all taken by the same unnamed photographer, sold for $8,750, outpacing its high estimate after fierce bidding. An album of gas and pipeline photographs entitled Northern Natural Gas Company Pipelines, sold for $4,000, while another album of 106 photographs documenting filling stations throughout Kentucky sold for $8,750.
For more information, please contact Daile Kaplan: email@example.com, or via phone at 212-254-4710, ex.21.
Historic Ocean Liner Posters Perform Well
Swann Galleries’ November 19 auction of select Rare & Important Travel Posters brought over $482,000 and set auction records for several artists and posters. Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann Galleries’ President and Director of Vintage Posters, said, “This robust sale, with an enviable 80% sell-through rate, saw many records broken–setting new highs for both posters and, in four cases, for the artists themselves. Every auction has its surprises, and in this auction the Internet drove bidding especially high in the Italian posters being offered..."
A new auction record was set for artist Leslie Ragan, whose The New 20th Century Limited, 1939 sold for $22,500 and was the top lot of the sale. Ragan’s Rockefeller Center New York / New York Central Lines, circa 1936, also sold well, bringing $8,750. Other artist records included Percival Albert (Percy) Trompf, with Australia, 1929, realizing $15,000; and Cecil King, whose LMS / The Merseyside Express, circa 1937, sold for $5,750.
Two rare posters advertising the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic saw a great deal of interest and competitive bidding. James Scrimgeour Mann’s White Star Line / R.M.S. Olympic & Titanic, circa 1911, which shows the Olympic powerfully coursing through the water, brought $10,625 and set an auction record for the poster. A poster depicting both the sister ships passing at sea, Montague Birrell Black’s [White Star Line / Olympic & Titanic], circa 1910, sold for $8,450. A poster of another doomed ocean liner also sold among the top lots; Odin Rosenvinge’s Cunard Line / Liverpool • New York • Boston / [Lusitania], circa 1907, which shows the ship in a nocturnal seascape brought $15,600 and set a record for the artist at auction.
Other ocean liner images were popular in the sale, with Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s United States Line, 1928, realizing $17,500; while his dramatic Normandie, 1935, sold for $6,240. Posters touting travel by air were also favorites, with David Klein’s bright New York / Fly TWA, 1956, bringing $7,250; while another TWA poster, Paul Colin’s TWA / Trans World Airlines, circa 1950, showing a TWA Constellation circumnavigating a half-shadowed globe, sold for $5,500. Jean Carlu’s striking typography caught attention as his CAF / Voyages Aériens, circa 1926, fetched $5,000.
Posters showcasing fabulous destinations performed well, with Percy Trompf’s Australia, 1929, a scene of a bustling Bondi Beach, selling for $15,000 and setting a record for the artist at auction. Additional bright beach images included Maurice Lauro’s rare Trouville, 1927, depicting a day on the boardwalk, which sold for $10,625; and Roger Broders’s Sur la Cote D’Azur, circa 1931, which brought $8,125. Viero Migliorati’s Santa • Margherita • Ligure, 1934, with a stylish group lounging in the heart of the Italian Riviera, realized $8,450 and set an auction record for the poster.
Records Set at Recent Auction of Genre Fiction
Swann Galleries’ November 10 auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature featuring the Lawrence M. Solomon collection of mystery, science fiction and detective novels saw records set for several books, as well as an impressive auction debut for a rare Jules Verne text.
John D. Larson, Swann Galleries’ 19th & 20th Century Literature Specialist, said, “Genre fiction of the crime, mystery, detective and science-fiction variety is alive and well in the wake of the strong results from the Solomon sale. Records for several of the benchmarks of the genre were established including works by Rex Stout, Dashiell Hammett, Gaston Leroux and the first edition of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, which appeared at auction for the first time..."
The top lots were flush with Hammett texts, including a first edition of his first book, Red Harvest, New York, 1929, in its original dust jacket, which brought $65,000. A first edition of Hammett’s second book, The Dain Curse, New York, 1929, also in its original dust jacket, sold for $40,000 and set an auction record, while a first edition his iconic and influential novel The Maltese Falcon, New York, 1930, also with original dust jacket, realized $27,500.
Other detective novels included a scarce advance review copy of Rex Stout’s The League of Frightened Men, New York, (1935), the second book to feature the detective Nero Wolfe, which sold for $42,500 and set a record at auction. A first edition of John Dickson Carr’s It Walks By Night, New York, 1930, and a first edition of Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Man in the Lower Ten, Indianapolis, (1909), both set auction records. Each book brought $5,500.
No collection of detective novels would be complete without the iconic Sherlock Holmes. The first American edition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, New York, 1924, in what is possibly a unique surviving dust jacket, brought $8,125; as did the first American edition of The Sign of Four, New York, 1891; while a complete 24-volume set of the Crowborough edition of Conan Doyle’s Works, Garden City, 1931, signed by the author, realized $7,500.
Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, and Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera may not often be thought of as “genre” fiction, but Dr. Solomon had a strong interest in books that were genre forerunners as well. Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, first edition, Newark, 1869 brought $22,500 in its first appearance at auction; while the first printing of the first American edition of Phantom in its original dust jacket sold for $35,000; and the first book edition, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, Paris, (1910), sold for $7,500.
Outside of the Solomon Collection there were several top performers from the 19th & 20th Century Literature selection. A two-volume set of the first English edition of Alexander Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo to appear in book-form sold for $47,500, setting an auction record, while a first regular issue copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince and Other Tales, London, 1888, signed and inscribed by the author, fetched $15,000. Other signed books included a first edition of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, New York, 1949, in its first issue dust jacket, which brought $5,000; and a specially-bound copy of Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, New York, (1957), signed by the author and playwright, which brought $1000.
For more information, or to consign items to upcoming 19th & 20th Century Literature auctions, please contact John D. Larson at 212-254-4710, extension 61, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fine & Vernacular Photographs at Swann
Photojournalism, portraiture and works by women performed well in Swann Galleries’ October 15 auction of Icons & Images: Fine & Vernacular Photographs which brought over $1.4 million and saw particular success for female photographers and documentary photographers.
The highlight of the sale was Sally Mann’s silver print Candy Cigarette, 1989, which sold for $215,000. The iconic image of Mann’s daughter Jesse wasn’t the only work by a female photographer to perform well in the sale: Morroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi’s oversized chromogenic print Converging Territories #10, 2003, realized $22,500; while Dorothea Lange’s emotional 1936 silver print Migrant Mother, printed 1970s, brought $20,000.
Two works by Margaret Bourke-White sold among the top lots: The Liberation of Buchenwald, silver print, 1945, printed 1966-72, which sold for $15,000; and Molten Steel, Otis Steel Company, silver print, 1928-29, which brought $11,875. Contemporary artist Vera Lutter’s Pepsi Cola, Long Island City: IV A, May 20th, 1998, a camera obscura silver print, 1998, brought $11,250.
Photographs by Brett Weston that epitomize the photographer’s interest in nuanced composition were a hit in this auction, including Weston’s portfolio Fifteen Photographs of Japan, silver prints, 1970, sold for $21,250; while Holland Canal, oversized silver print, 1971, printed 1985, brought $16,900. Weston’s works were complimented by intricately orchestrated images from O. Winston Link, whose 1956 silver print Hotshot Eastbound, Iaeger, West Virginia, printed 1986, realized, $13,750; while George A. Tice’s stoic Petit’s Mobil Station, oversized silver print, 1974, fetched $10,875.
Documentary photographs and works of photojournalism performed well, including Lewis W. Hine’s book Men at Work: Photographic Studies of Modern Men and Machines, first edition, New York, 1932, which brought $12,500; and Hine’s Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina, silver print, 1908, printed 1940s which realized $11,700. Photojournalist W. Eugene Smith’s oversized silver print of Dr. Ernest Ceriani from The Country Doctor published in LIFE magazine, 1948, printed circa 1953 sold for $12,500; while his heart-wrenching depiction of Minamata disease, Tomoko Uemura in her Bath, silver print, 1971-73 brought $11,700; as did Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado’s Cast of Thousands, Serra Pelada, Brazil, silver print, 1986, printed 1990s.
Portraiture was also popular in this sale, with Edward S. Curtis’s large-format photogravure Bear’s Belly–Arikara, 1908 selling for for $12,500. Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1953 silver print portrait of Marilyn Monroe realized $11,700; Irving Penn’s silver print Colette, Paris, 1951, printed later, brought $10,000, as did a set of three Jim Marshall dye-transfer prints depicting Miles Davis (1970), John Coltrane (1963) and Thelonius Monk (1963), printed circa 1993.
Landscape and natural images sold well, including Ansel Adams 1963 Portfolio #4: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian, which included fifteen silver prints, selling for $68,750. Also, Adam’s El Capitan, Sunrise, Winter, Yosemite National Park, silver print, 1968, printed 1976, which brought $18,750. A group of 4 silver prints of ice crystals by Wilson A. Bentley realized $13,125; while a portfolio containing 7 photographs, one each from classical American Photographers Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, William Eggleston, Lotte Jacobi, Eliot Porter, James Van Der Zee and Garry Winogrand, sold for $9,375.
Highlights from Freeman's April 23rd Auction
Freeman’s 23 April auction of Books, Maps & Manuscripts including Photographs presented clients with a wide range of works on paper, including first editions, presidential ephemera, early views of the American West and notable autograph material. The sale featured an assortment of important works of early travel literature, early color plate books, ballet handbills, prints, photographs, autographs, and other ephemera from the private collection of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clifford. Highlights of the Photography portion of the 574 lot sale were two rare salted paper prints by 19th century photographer Charles Leander Weed, and a portfolio of seventy prints that established good results for an influential, but little-known American photographer Hazel Kingsbury Strand. Some of the results are as follows:
Alexander Benois, Color Gouache Ballet Set Design for Le Pavillion d'Armide, , sold for $23,400; James Joyce, Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare & Co., 1922, 1st ed. #400/750, fetched $21,250; Pablo Picasso, Le Tricorne: Trente-deux reproductions des maquettes en couleurs, Paris: Paul Rosenberg, 1920, brought $15,000; Jean Baptiste Audebert and Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, Oiseaux dores ou a reflets metalliques, Paris, An XI , sold for $12,500; Hazel Kingsbury Strand (American 20th Century) Seventy Prints, "France - 1945," sold for $8,450; Pablo Picasso, 40 Dessins de Picasso en marge du Buffon, Paris: Jonquierer & Berggruen, 1957, brought $7,500; William Hillman, Mr President: The First Publication from the Personal Diaries, Private Letters, Papers and Revealing Interviews of Harry S. Truman, New York: Farrar, Strauss & Young, (1952), sold for $7,500 and Charles Leander Weed (American 1824-1903) "Kennebec, Wildcat, Willow and Hoosier Bars, Middle Fork, American River," ca. 1858, fetched $6,250.
For more information or to propose consignments, please contact Christiana Scavuzzo at (267 414-1247 or email@example.com
Shays' Rebellion Eyewitness Account, First Edition of Book of Mormon Led April 14th Sale.
Swann Galleries’ April 14 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana saw vigorous and unusually broad-based bidding, with the top 12 lots going to 12 different bidders, many of them new to Swann. Rick Stattler, Swann’s Americana Specialist, said, “Manuscripts, archives, ephemera and broadsides continue to grow in importance; only two of the top 12 lots were printed books.”
The two strongest portions of the sale were the American Revolution and Mormon sections, both consisting mostly of rare and unusual items collected by Milton Slater in the 1960s and 1970s. These included the top lot, a first edition of the Book of Mormon, which brought $55,000. Other Slater highlights included a dramatic autograph letter signed about Shays’ Rebellion, Officer Epaphras Hoyt’s eyewitness account of the principal battle, January 1787, $35,000; and an 1818 Benjamin Owen Tyler printing of the Declaration of Independence on silk, $25,000.
Key lots that soared above their pre-sale estimates included a Revolution-era volume of the Connecticut Journal newspaper featuring the Tea Party and Bunker Hill, $35,000; and the cover lot, an attractive oil painting of Theodore Roosevelt seated at his desk, by Adriaan M. de Groot, 1925, $15,000.
Latin Americana was, as usual, well represented, with an archive from Hiram Bingham’s important archaeological expedition to Macchu Pichu in Peru bringing $13,750.
Collectors ruled the day, winning 12 of the top 20 lots. The biggest institutional purchase was by the University of Texas’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which picked up an important Mexican naval blockade log from the Texan Revolution for $27,500. They also acquired an 1860s guest register from Houston’s Capitol Hotel for $813.
An 1860 first edition, first issue of the Lincoln-Douglas debates brought $5,500, a record for an unsigned copy; while an 1849 Steele’s Western Guide Book brought a record $3,250 — it was the 17th and final edition, but only the second to include California. An inscribed copy of Coretta Scott King’s My Life with Martin Luther King brought $812.50, tying a previous auction record. All prices include buyer’s premium.
For more information, and to propose consignments to upcoming Americana auctions, please contact Rick Stattler by telephone at (212) 254-4710, extension 27, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ski Images, Art Nouveau Designs & Other Vintage Posters Perform Well at February 12th Sale
Interest in ski posters was intense at Swann Galleries’ February 12 auction of Vintage Posters, resulting in several new auction records. Also sought after were Art Nouveau images by Alphonse Mucha and other artists of that era.
The top three lots in the auction brought $30,000 each: Alex Diggelmann’s Gstaad, 1934, which had been estimated at $2,000 to $3,000; Alphonse Mucha’s The Flowers, a set of four decorative panels, 1898 and Leopoldo Metlicovitz’s Mostra del Ciclo e Dell’Automobile / Milano, a poster for Milan's 1907 automobile and cycle show. The Diggelmann and Metlicovitz were auction records.
Also selling for record-setting prices were Martin Peikert’s Champéry / Chemin de fer Aigle, 1955, $11,875 and Orsi’s VIIIe Olympiade / Jeux Olympiques / Paris, 1924, $10,625; while Jack Rivolta’s Up Where Winter Calls to Play / Olympic Bobsled Run / Lake Placid, circa 1938 and Ted Hunter’s Dartmouth Winter Carnival, 1937 set new benchmarks for any work by the artists at $7,500 and $6,000 respectively.
Additional ski highlights were Erich Hermes’s L’Hiver en Suisse, 1930 and Franz Lenhart’s Dolomiti / Cortina, circa 1930, $8,125 each, as well as Herbert Bayer’s Ski in Aspen Colorado, 1946, $7,250.
Art Nouveau beauties of note included the iconic Cycles Gladiator by an unknown artist, circa 1895, $17,500; a pair of volumes of the publication The Maîtres de l'Affiche [Masters of the Poster], 1896 and 1897, $10,000; Private Livemont’s luminous Absinthe Robette, 1896, $7,280 and Jean Misceslas Peské, poster for the magazine L’Estampe et L’Affiche, 1898, $6,250.
Rounding out the top lots World’s Fair posters such as Nembhard N. Culin’s Art Deco design for In 1939 / The New York World’s Fair, 1937, $6,000 and John Wenrich’s New York World’s Fair 1939, 1936, $5,500; artist exhibition posters, led by Cy Twombly’s Nine Discourses On Commodus at the Leo Castelli gallery, 1964, signed by Twombly in pencil, $4,420; Edouard Elzingre’s dynamic Automobiles Martini, circa 1910, $5,980; and Franz Würbel’s Olympic Games, the official poster of the 1936 Olympic Games, $5,250.
All realized prices include the buyer’s premium. For more information, please contact Nicholas D. Lowry at (212) 254-4710, extension 53, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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