The Fine Books & Manuscripts sale at Bonhams on March 9 is a small, curated sale but contains big treasures, including two Beethoven autograph sketch-leafs, autograph manuscripts from Wagner, a prism belonging to Benjamin Franklin, and a violin from Albert Einstein, plus a letter of his written to his son referencing the Atom Bomb. Taking top billing, however, is this largest and most substantial scientific manuscript by Isaac Newton in private hands, providing a thorough account of a method for achieving the philosopher’s stone. It is estimated to reach $200,000-300,000. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Bonhams.

Heritage Auctions

The top of the heap at Heritage on March 7 is a near fine first edition of The Great Gatsby in a “very good, unsophisticated dust jacket” and inscribed by Fitzgerald: “For Tatnall Brown / from one, who / is flattered at / being remembered / F Scott Fitzgerald / Hollywood, 1939.” The bidding starts at $50,000. There’s also quite a selection of modern firsts, including those of Ian Fleming and James Joyce, plus Dickens’ own copy of Nicholas Nickleby and an association copy of Pablo Neruda’s Fin de Mundo inscribed by the author for Chilean President Salvador Allende. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Swann Galleries

The March 8 auction at Swann Galleries offers Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books, where highlights include the first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess: Luis de Lucena’s Arte de ajedres, printed in Salamanca, circa 1496-97, and containing 161 woodcut chessboard diagrams within woodcut borders (pictured here). Its estimate is $10,000-15,000. Also on offer is Johannes de Sacrobosco’s Sphaera mundi, first illustrated edition, with eleven woodcut astronomical diagrams, printed in Venice in 1478. Its estimate is $15,000-20,000. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Swann Galleries.