Records & Results: Printed & Manuscript Americana

The top lot of our November 17 sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana was an 1830 first edition of The Book of Mormon, which sold to a private collector for $67,500. What makes this edition unusual is that it is the only one to list Joseph Smith as the “author and proprietor” rather than the translator. Mormon materials continue to reach new heights in our sales, including the diary of a Methodist preacher named Benajah Williams, describing a meeting that may have inspired Smith’s first vision, which sold for $13,750; a published response by Joseph Smith to a letter from J.A. Bennett, 1844, which sold for $6,750, and a letter by Wilford Woodruff describing the Mormon settlement and the development of Utah, 1877, which reached $25,000.

 

Lot 225: Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830. Sold November 17 for $67,500.

Lot 225: Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830.
Sold November 17, 2016 for $67,500.

 

Thirty-four of the 37 lots relating to Revolutionary War material sold, many above their estimates. These were led a newspaper printing of Thomas Paine’s 1777 American Crisis brought $37,500, while notes taken during the 1782 Continental Congress by member Arthur Middleton, which include the first reference to Vermont’s statehood, sold for $55,000.

 

Lot 25: Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, as printed in the Boston Gazette, January 13, 1777. Sold November 17 for $37,500.

Lot 25: Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, as printed in the Boston Gazette, January 13, 1777. Sold November 17, 2016 for $37,500.

 

Works from the Timothy Treacy collection of historic Californiana performed well in the sale, selling over 90% of the 35 lots offered and setting numerous auction records. An inscribed first edition of Clarence King’s Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, brought $8,750, a record for the author. Another record was $2,750 for a first edition of Charles F. McGlashan’s History of the Donner Party, 1879. A portfolio of photographs of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range from the 1930s by Clinton C. Clarke sold for $9,375, over six times the high estimate, while a first edition of Thomas J. Farnham’s Travels in the Californias, and Scenes of the Pacific Ocean, 1844, doubled its estimate to sell for $8,125.

 

Lot 74: Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, first edition, first issue, Boston, 1872. Sold November 17, 2016 for $8,750, a record.

Lot 74: Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, first edition, first issue, Boston, 1872. Sold November 17, 2016 for $8,750, a record.

 

 

Institutions that won lots in the sale include the Society of the Cincinnati, with a 1776 orderly book detailing the defenses of New York. The South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina bid successfully on an important 1782 Henry Laurens letter; the Massachusetts Historical Society won an anti-abolition broadside by George Francis Train; the New-York Historical Society won three lots including a group of Holland Tunnel blueprints; and the Connecticut River Museum acquired a diary by river pilot John Ingraham.

 

Lot 117: Correspondence and diary of Sergeant Charles L. Taylor of the 16th Connecticut Infantry, 1862-65. Sold November 17, 2016 for $6,250.

Lot 117: Correspondence and diary of Sergeant Charles L. Taylor of the 16th Connecticut Infantry, 1862-65. Sold November 17, 2016 for $6,250.

 

Readers will remember the correspondence of Sergeant Charles L. Taylor and his new bride Harriet Tuttle during key battles in the Civil War, which sold for $6,250. For full results, visit our catalogue; the next sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana will be held in April, 2017.