Several sales are on horizon at Bonhams during Rare Book Week. On March 11, the Medical and Scientific Library of W. Bruce Fye boasts all the big names in rare science books: a first edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) that is “one of the most important association copies in existence,” according to the auctioneer, is estimated at $300,000-500,000, and Benjamin Franklin’s seminal Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America (1769) is estimated at $10,000-15,000. Then, on March 12, Bonhams will offer Extraordinary Books and Manuscripts, a sale that is slated to include a first edition of Adam Smith’s first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) from the estate of Robert McNamara. Online shoppers will be interested to know that part seven of Eric Caren’s How History Unfolds on Paper will be ongoing from March 6-14, and part two of the W. Bruce Fye Library will be up March 12-21.
Courtesy of Bonhams.
The sale at Heritage on March 6 features 231 books from the collection of Otto Penzler, longtime proprietor of NYC’s Mysterious Bookshop and major collector of crime and mystery fiction (profiled by Nick Basbanes in our spring 2017 issue). The high points include two notorious rarities in the genre: a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales (1845), bound in early twentieth-century half purple crushed morocco over double-marbled paper-covered boards and once owned by author and noted book collector Michael Sadleir, and a “superlative” first edition of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest (1929), in the original, unrestored first-printing dust jacket, estimated at $60,000.
Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
Early in the week, on March 5, Swann Galleries will present a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century prints & drawings to tempt the collector’s eye. Then, on March 7, its annual Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books will enthrall. Highlights include a first edition of Frederick Ruysch’s Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae, with two color mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, printed in Amsterdam in 1737. Its estimate is $4,000-6,000. In manuscripts, a richly illuminated manuscript prayer book in Latin and French from the second quarter of the sixteenth century leads the way; its estimate is $20,000-30,000.
Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.