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Results of Hindman's May 11th Books & Manuscripts Sale
First editions of each of Jane Austen’s major novels led Hindman’s May 11th Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts auction. The five books, including Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, realized more than $300,000. Overall, the sale brought more than $1.1 million, with a 94 percent sell-through rate.
“The passion of private collectors for rare works of literature and first editions led to very competitive bidding on the Jane Austen novels,” commented Gretchen Hause, Hindman Vice President of Books & Manuscripts. “We are thrilled with the results, and to see that the market for literature, and particularly for literature written by women, continues to gain strength.”
Highlighting the five Jane Austen first editions was Pride & Prejudice, which sold for $107,100, more than double its high estimate. The work, written by Austen at the age of 21 and finally published 15 years later in a small edition of approximately 1500 copies, stands as one of the most enduring and beloved works of 19th century literature. Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility sold for $81,900 against a $20,000 - 30,000 estimate.
The Americana session achieved outstanding results, continuing to underscore the firm’s strength in the category. A presentation copy of the first octavo edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America from Drawings Made in the United States and their Territories led the Americana session, realizing $88,200. The double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) established his reputation as the greatest ornithological artist of his time, and this octavo edition adds 65 new images for a total of 500 plates, making it "the most extensive color plate book produced in America up to that time.”
A Bible owned by John Adams’s granddaughter, with a partial presentation note in Adams’s hand, soared past its pre-sale estimate to realize over $25,000. In addition to Adams’s warm presentation note to his granddaughter, the Bible included several leaves of family marriage, birth, and death records. Highlights also included a pair of signed 1913 letters from President Woodrow Wilson to Senator James A. Gorman, regarding the appointment of the Collector of the Port of New York. Competitive bidding drove the letters significantly above their $800 -1,200 estimate to fetch $16,380.
Among the other top lots, Samuel Gurney Cresswell, A Series of Eight Sketches in Colour… of the Voyage of H.M.S. Investigator (London: 1854) sold for $28,350 (est. $15,000 - 25,000) Attributed to Theodore Swain Drage or Charles Swain, a first edition of An Account of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage… in the Year 1746 and 1747, in the Ship California, Capt. Francis Smith, Commander. L, 1748, brought $15,120 (est. $6,000 - 8,000)
Bidding for the May 11th auction was available in-person at Hindman’s Chicago Bid Room and via telephone and absentee bid, and online via the Digital Bid Room. Hindman continues to welcome consignments for its November Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, including Americana auction.