Records & Results: Fine Books — April 11, 2024

Swann Galleries’ spring offering of Fine Books on April 11, 2024, brought $974,793, with 84% of the lots finding buyers. The auction was the first of a combined format featuring Early Printed Books, Literature, and Artist Books and introduced Grace Meschery-McCormack as the new cataloguer for the department.

Don Quixote

Don Quixote editions dominated the auction, with 29 of the 31 lots offered finding buyers. Leading the sale was a 1608 third Madrid Cuesta edition, which earned $106,250. Also of note were two octavo volumes of lifetime Brussels editions, in Spanish, 1611 and 1616, bound in uniform full nineteenth-century red morocco binding, at $47,500; a first American edition, in English, published in 1803, which sold at $17,500 over a $2,000 to $3,000 estimate; and a second Lisbon edition from 1605, censored by the Holy Inquisition, at $15,000.

Work Consigned from the Stanley DeForest Scott Collection to Benefit the Library of the Grolier Club

Napoleon Bonaparte and William Milligan Sloane, Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, New York, 1896. Sold for $45,000.

Works consigned from the late Stanley DeForest Scott to benefit the Library of the Grolier Club included a unique, voluminously extra-illustrated edition of Napoleon Bonaparte and William Milligan Sloane‘s Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, in 12 volumes, which earned $45,000; a first edition of Jacob Christoph Trew‘s Plantae Selectae quarum Imagines ad Exemplaria Naturalia, Nuremberg, 1750-1773, at $23,750; and a rare trial proof of the first edition of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, London, 1844, at $16,250.

Additional Highlights

The sale was rounded out by top prices for Ernest Hemingway with two books from the author’s library: Scouting on Two Continents, 1927, by Maj. Frederick Russel Burnham and The Cat Wears a Noose, 1944, by D.B. Olsen, sold together for $10,000; as well as The Best Short Stories of 1923, Boston, 1924, edited by Edward J. O’Brien which included Hemingway’s first book published in the United States, My Old Man, the work crossed the block inscribed by the author, “First book published in U.S. Name misspelled as added attraction.” The title earned $18,750.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, first London paperback edition, 1997. Sold for $10,000.

Also of note was a first London paper edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, London, 1997, at $10,000; a limited edition of Ten Works by Ten Painters, Hartford, 1964, at $11,250; and a first separate edition of Charles Darwin’s Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle, London, 1839, at $10,625.

April 16, 2024
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