Bonhams New York Book Auction June 23

. June 8, 2010

On June 23rd Bonhams’ Book Department closes their spring-summer 2010 season with a New York auction that features a number of fresh-to-the-market high spots. This diverse sale spans the centuries from the 1490s to the 1990s.

Among the most coveted lots of the sale, and the undisputed highlight in the category of Science and Natural History, is Robert Thornton’s magnificent and celebrated The Temple of Flora (est. $60,000-80,000). Having its full complement of plates and remaining unrestored in an elegant period binding, this copy has been in the same family for the last six decades. Also leading the section is The Ichthyology of South Carolina (est. $8,000-12,000) and lots related to the worlds of physics and medicine including letters from Einstein (est. $3,000-5,000), Pasteur (est. $2,000-3,000), Pavlov (est. $3,000-5,000) and others.

Moving on to Americana, the sale features a menu from the 1941 Atlantic Conference Dinner (pictured, top) signed by Churchill, FDR, Hap Arnold, George C. Marshall, and others (est. $25,000-35,000), a letter from Junipero Serra to Mission San Gabriel (est. $70,000-90,000), and an official presidential seal displayed on Air Force jets used by Eisenhower (est. $5,000-7,000). Amongst the printed highlights, is a magnificent association copy of the Book of Mormon that belonged to an early convert whose tavern was the site of a key conference in the Mormon Church’s history (est. $70,000-90,000). Other printed rarities include a supremely scarce 320-inch-long panorama of King Kamehameha’s funeral, lithographed in Honolulu in 1855 (est. $40,000-60,000).

The Art and Private Press section has at its core a complete run of the works of papermaker and printer Dard Hunter, from the first book he produced in 1915 to those written by his son and grandson. Many of the copies are in immaculate condition, several are in custom bindings by Maine’s Gray Parrot, and some were owned or annotated by Dard Hunter or his family. A work illustrated by Fernand Léger and limited to 28 copies (est. $8,000-12,000), an archive relating to the Mexican Mural Movement (est. $10,000-15,000), letters between Frank Lloyd Wright and one of his clients (est. $25,000-35,000), and blueprints from Wright’s Fallingwater construction site (est. $4,000-6,000) all stand out amongst the art and architecture material.

Cause for excitement is a first edition, presentation copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, that author Frank Baum has inscribed with a fantastic, light-hearted poem to a little girl who just happened to be named Dorothy. Dorothy Lake met Baum when she was 11 years old and vacationing at the resort area of Waukazoo on the shores of Lake Michigan. Baum was reportedly charmed by Miss Lake and by the coincidence of meeting a real Dorothy in the same locale in which he wrote portions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This delightful lot is estimated at $15,000-25,000.

Bonhams is also offering property from the estate of Glenn Goldman (1950-2009), the founder and owner of the legendary Los Angeles independent bookstore, Book Soup. The books offered here, from his own collection, focus on modern literature, Californian fine press and art, and western Americana, with the highlight being a first edition of Steinbeck’s first book, Cup of Gold (est. $8,000-12,000). That section leads neatly into Literature, which includes letters from Chandler, Clemens, Conrad, Hemingway, Kerouac, Nabokov, Ruskin and others, and a set of first edition A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books ($15,000-18,000).

Over 30 rare Holy Land maps will be presented including a large hand-colored wall map by Nicolas de Fer (est. $4,000-6,000). The same section includes Early Printing and Travel, from Schedel’s 1493 world map from the Nuremberg Chronicle to the Holy Land again, this time depicted by David Roberts. From desert to snow, the sale moves on to Polar Exploration including the collection of Art Ronnie – a section that features many signed and inscribed copies (Shackleton, Mawson, Henson, Cook, Byrd and others) and Lincoln Ellsworth’s copy of a book carried on the polar voyage of the submarine Nautilus (est. $2,000-3,000).

Rounding out the sale, there are a number of music manuscripts, photographs and letters, as well as a wonderful T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) letter describing his memory of entering Damascus and the verisimilitude of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (est. $10,000-15,000). Also of interest to movie buffs, Bonhams offers a handwritten draft of the film score to Fellini’s masterpiece Nights of Cabiria written by Godfather composer Nino Rota (est. $8,000-12,000).

Previews will take place at Bonhams’ New York galleries starting on June 19th until the day of the sale which takes place on June 23th at 1 PM EST. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale is now available online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the preview and auction. For more information about the department, please visit www.bonhams.com/usbooks.

Category: Auction News

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