Fine Books & Autographs: February 17, 2022 Auction Highlights

The auction has a number of autographs by inspiring innovators, including the cover of the 1982 issue of Time magazine featuring Steve Jobs, signed by him. If the greatness of the designer does not begin to sparkle in a signature, it is positively scintillating in a drawing, as can be seen in the schematic diagrams for two speaker designs by Thomas Edison. In addition to other Edison items, there are also autographs by other inventors of technological miracles, such as a photograph signed by Henry Ford.

Innovation in other areas can be equally inspiring, and there are excellent examples of items by innovators in science—such as a letter signed by Albert Einstein—and in art, such as a copy of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol signed by Warhol ten times and with 11 soup can drawings; and in writing, such as a holograph fragment from his 1865 book Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau. Two other remarkable autographs in the sale are by writers who are innovators in their own ways: such as an autograph letter signed by Mario Puzo in which he declines an invitation to be interviewed to promote his book because “I’m tired of the Goddamn Godfather;” and an autograph poem from circa 1825 signed by a young Elizabeth Barrett Browning entitled Fortune Telling.

Sometimes inspiration comes not from disruption of the status quo, but from stability, as demonstrated by the inspiring autographs by world leaders, for instance a document signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, authorizing the use of his name for the first presidential library. Other leaders inspire by their sacrifice to others, such as Princess Diana, who signed a Christmas card with Prince Charles; or Leon Trotsky, who signed in 1930 a letter to his publisher concerning the History of the Russian Revolution, published in that year. Yet more autographs can be found from the areas of space exploration, entertainment, and music.


Lot 63: Steve Jobs, Time magazine Cover Signed, displaying a bust portrait of Jobs and his Apple II computer, 1982. Estimate $15,000 to $25,000.
Lot 118: Mario Puzo, Autograph Letter Signed, “Dear Gene, Sorry I can’t make the interview, but I really get uncomfortable and I’m tired of the Goddamn Godfather,” circa 1969. Estimate $3,500 to $5,000.

Lot 37: Diana and Charles, Princess and Prince of Wales, Christmas card, Signed by both on second page, inscribed by Charles to “Jim,” displaying a photograph of two standing on either side of a miniature horse being ridden by their children, Princes William and Harry, 1985. Estimate $1,000 to $2,000.

Related Reading: Fire and the Wizards of Light: Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

Lot 123: Henry David Thoreau, Autograph Manuscript, Unsigned, featuring a 30-line fragment from the working draft of chapter 10 of his Cape Cod, 1865. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

Lot 101: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Autograph Manuscript Signed, fair copy of her early poem entitled Fortune Telling, 1825. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

Two undisputed twentieth-century literary high-spots include T.S. Eliot’s first book, Prufrock and Other Observations and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, both superbly preserved. A first edition of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd’s Security Analysis, inscribed by Dodd to a noted financier, is on offer, along with unique and important material such as Raymond Roussel’s best-known work, Locus Solus, bearing an inscription by the enigmatic author.

Appearing at auction for the first time is Dawn Powell’s rare disavowed first novel Whither. Also here is an important three-way association copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, inscribed by both Lee and her friend and fellow author (and screenwriter for the 1962 adaptation), Horton Foote, presented to a production assistant on the Academy Award–winning fi lm. A selection of children’s literature includes the limited edition of The Wind in the Willows, signed by Kenneth Grahame and E.H. Shepard.

Complementing the literature section are remarkable offerings of desirable art, press and illustrated books in impeccable condition that include the scarce portfolio One Cent Life, the deluxe edition, one of 100 signed and numbered copies on handmade paper, and an Artist’s Proof of Robert Indiana’s American Dream, one of just 30 copies.

Fine Books

Lot 207: J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, first edition in unrestored dust jacket, Boston: Little, Brown, 1951. Estimate $8,000 to $12,000.

Lot 204: Dawn Powell, Whither, first edition with unrestored pictorial dust jacket, Boston:Small, Maynard & Company, 1925. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

Lot 193: Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, twenty-third impression, presentation copy, signed & inscribed by both Lee & Horton Foote, Philadelphia & New York: Lippincott, 1960-1962. Estimate $9,000 to $12,000.