Thursday’s Top Lots: Private Press & Illustrated Books
On Thursday Swann was fortunate to have two strong private collections of the finest press books come to auction in our Private Press & Illustrated Books sale. The scarcity, quantity and quality of the books in a well-edited selection drew a flood of viewers to our showroom and kept phones ringing with non-stop activity throughout the exhibition.
Kelmscott Press, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted, one of 425 copies, Hammersmith, 1896.
The results followed this positive trend – the auction beat the high estimate of the sale as a whole and boasted a 98% sell-through rate, setting several record prices along the way. The top two lots were both beautiful books from the Kelmscott Press; The Works of Geoffrey Chaucernow newly imprinted, Hammersmith, 1896, sold for $52,800, and Syr Ysambrace, 1897, brought a record $18,000.
Cranach Press, William Shakespeare, The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmark,
one of 300 copies in the deluxe red morocco binding on handmade paper, 1930.
Among other private presses represented among the top lots were Cranach, Golden Cockerel, Arion and Eragny. A Cranach Press copy of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1930, sold for $14,400. From Arion Press, an impressive copy of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, illustrated by Barry Moser, sold for $10,200.
Arion Press, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or, The Whale,
illustrated by Barry Moser, one of 250 copies, San Francisco, 1979.