Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Skinner’s Annual Auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts Set for November 16th

BOSTON, Mass. – – Skinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, takes bidders back in time with its unique annual offering of Fine Books & Manuscripts. The sale is set to take place on Sunday, November 16th at 11 a.m. in Skinner’s Boston gallery, located at 63 Park Plaza. More than 450 lots of important books, manuscripts and intimate documents will be offered, including rare materials from every U.S. President up through George H.W. Bush. Also up for bid in the sale is a group of Arctic exploration materials, maps and atlases, and natural history chronicles, including Audubon folio prints.

Historic Documents
To be featured in the sale are a series of letters from General George Armstrong Custer to his cousin Augusta Frary. This correspondence spans a period of more than a quarter century from 1850 through 1876. They range in topic from lightheartedness, detailing how he and his friends snuck out of West Point Academy to attend a ball (lot 12, est. $8/12,000), to more philosophical discussions, as in his position on the war (lot 14, est. $15/20,000). Within the latter he offers “So far as my country is concerned I, of course must wish for peace and will be glad when the war is ended, but if I answer for myself alone. I must say that I shall regret to see the war end. I would be willing, yes glad, to see a battle every day during my life. Now do not misunderstand me. I only speak of my own interests and desires, perfectly regardless of all the world besides. but as I said before, when I think of the pain and the misery produced to individuals as well as the universal sorrow caused throughout the land I cannot but earnestly hope for peace, and at an early date.” The letters also chronicle a glimpse of his life on the frontier (lot 15, est. $12/18,000); his summons to Washington as witness in the Belknap impeachment trial (lot 16, est. $12/18,000); and the “serious” Indian difficulties that called him to Dakota.

Also highlighted are several mediaeval illuminated manuscript leaves (lot 246 and lot 246, each est. at $1,5/2,500) and A Map of the Most Inhabited part of New England containing the Provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire with the Colonies of Conecticut and Rhode Island. Divided into Counties and Township: The whole composed from Actual Surveys and its Situation adjusted by Astronomical Observations., London: November 29th, 1774, from The American Atlas: Or, A Geographical Description Of The Whole Continent Of America …, (lot 425, est. $10/15,000), London: Sayer and Bennett, 1776.

Art & Illustrations
Two illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley are expected to draw great interest from bidders. Both original pen and ink drawings were provided as illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s controversial Salome: A Tragedy in One Act, 1984, published in London by Elkin Mathews & John Lane, and in Boston by Copeland & Day. After being exhibited in Europe they returned to the collection of John Lane. In 1926, the drawings were dispersed in a sale at Anderson Galleries where the entire series was purchased by an agent acting on behalf of a collector. Ten of the twelve drawings were eventually donated to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, as part of the Grenville Winthrop Bequest. The whereabouts of the two lots now up for auction remained a mystery to Beardsley scholars and collectors over the past eighty years. A Platonic Lament (lot 138, est. $15/20,000), one of the few drawings Beardsley ever made in which there is no hint of violence, but only tenderness expressed, and The Climax (lot 139, est. $15/20,000) were recently discovered in the Boston area.

Also to be featured is Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America…..Forty-eight of the Wildest and Most Remote Tribes of Savages in North America (lot 157, est. $100/150,000). This first American edition exemplifies the legacy by which George Catlin will long be remembered, as one of the first and most daring of the artists who braved the Central and Northern Plains in an heroic attempt to personalize the Native American tribes of this region. With this accurate chronicle of Native American tribal life, Catlin not only captured the imagination of the curious public, but also used the beauty and simplicity of the people to generate a sympathetic view towards them. Catlin held himself out not only as an artist, but also an educator. He visited over fifty tribes and the North American Indian Portfolio chronicles the life and rituals of three of these tribes, the Iroquois, Pawnee and Osage.

Keeping in tradition with Skinner’s Fine Books & Manuscripts auctions, is a wonderful grouping of Audubon material. Of note is John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories, (lot 380, est. $40/60,000) New York and Philadelphia. This first edition is comprised of seven volumes and has 500 hand-finished plates. Also being offered is a rarely seen first American edition of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (lot 354, est. $8/12,000), Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1873. This edition utilizes the same sheets from the1872 London edition printed by Sampson, Low & Company and was likely printed in November of that year.

A first edition, first issue of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species By Means of Natural Selection (lot 169, est. $50/80,000), London: John Murray, 1859, coming to Skinner from Dr. Francis D. Moore, Sr., Brookline, Massachusetts will be offered, as will a Sebastian Munster World Atlas Cosmographei Oder Beschreibung aller landen der hersschafften Furnemsten Stetten, Geschichten, Gebreuchen, Hantierungen…, (Lot 400, est. $10/12,000) with fourteen double-page woodcut maps, thirty-one double-page city views, double-page plate of sea monsters, full page maps, and hundreds of woodcut illustrations.

Preview, special event and catalog information
Previews for the auction will be held from 12 to 5 p.m. Thursday, November 13th, 12 to 5 p.m. Friday, November 14th, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15th, and 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, November 16th. During Saturday’s preview, at 3:00 p.m., Skinner will host a Books & Manuscripts Gallery Walk with department director Stuart Whitehurst. Reservations are limited, please R.S.V.P. to 617/350-5400. Illustrated catalog #2433 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240. It is also available at the gallery for $32. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. For more information, visit Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.

About Skinner
Skinner, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Science & Technology, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, and Discovery. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Bolton, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site