Printed & Manuscript Americana Auction Breaks Records

Swann Galleries kicked off its fall auction season with an action-packed sale of Printed and Manuscript Americana that included American Bibles from the Meadows Collection and duplicates from the John Carter Brown Library sold to fund new acquisitions. Bidding was vigorous for most of the top lots, and the auction totaled more than $650,000 (including buyer’s premium), with an 88% sell-through rate. The strongest results were for early American religious works, Arctic material, and Latin American books.


The top lot was an early edition of the Bay Psalm Book from circa 1669-1682 (above), from the Meadows collection, which reached $57,600*, a record for any edition of the work (a 1648 edition sold for $15,000 in 1983, and no other early edition has appeared on the auction market since). It was followed closely by a 1782 Aitken Bible, which, though lacking a title page, sold for $43,200.

*All prices include buyer’s premium