Inscribed First Edition, First Printing of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye Sells for a Record $80,500
William and Jan Blaeu's 17th Century Atlas of China Fetches $25,000
Competitive Bidding Sends Sale Total to Over $1 Million
Doyle New York held an auction of Rare Books, Autographs and Maps on April 28, 2010. The sale offered property in a variety of categories, including Americana, manuscripts, literary first editions, color plate books, livres d’artiste, original artwork, and maps. The auction was highlighted by property from the Estate of a New York Gentleman and the Braham Norwick Collection of China and Tibet. With competitive international bidding from buyers in the salesroom, on the telephones and via the Internet, the sale totaled $1,004,249 -- far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $435,650-702,350, with a surprisingly strong 94% sold by lot and 97% by value.
An inscribed copy of the first edition of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye realized $80,500, a world record for an inscribed copy of this book at auction. Conrad’s Tales of Unrest, with a letter from Conrad regarding one of the short stories in the book realized $2,125 and a copy of the same author’s The Secret Agent with a fine inscription made the same amount. Among the private press books, four of the St. Dunstan’s Editions, published by George Sproul of Boston in 1902 in editions of thirty copies did well. The Rubaiyat sold for $5,937 and the Sonnets from Petrarch $6,250 (this was a record price at auction). Ralph Chubb’s The Secret Country, one of 37 copies, also broke a record, selling at $6,875.
Of the color plate books, William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei, Naples, 1776-79, realized an exceptionally strong $92,500. This was the highest price at auction since the Hamilton Palace - Abbey - Schaefer - Freilich copy sold in 2001, and that example was in a remarkable Staggemeir and Welcher binding, whereas the Doyle copy was in 18th century calf, disbound. Other color plate books did similarly strongly, with Preziosi’s Stamboul, in the edition of 1865, attaining $17,500. The 1848-50 first octavo edition of McKenney and Hall (in a fine American binding of the period) reached $20,000, and Howitt and Williamson’s Oriental Field Sports, the 1807 edition in oblong folio, fetched $15,000.
The sale included a group of books on the poster, all of which sold strongly, including Les Maitres de l'Affiche, Paris, 1896-1900, in the bindings designed by Paul Berthon at $43,750. L’Estampe Moderne, also in publisher’s cloth, made $20,000 and a long run of the seminal poster periodical Das Plakat sold for $15,000. In related areas, the charming Journal des Dames et des Modes, bound in two volumes, bound without the final section of 1914, made a healthy $9,375.
A very unusual offering was a richly bound copy (full crimson morocco by Zaehnsdorf) of Basily-Callimaki’s work on J.-B. Isabey, published in Paris in 1909. This bore a presentation of impeccable pedigree and extraordinary intimacy (“To dearest Nicky with every good wish for Christmas 1910 from Georgie and May”), from their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary to Czar Nicholas II, who had given it as a Christmas gift in 1910. To the best of our knowledge, no book witha comparable royal association has been offered in many years; this made $18,750.
17th and 18th century printing and illustration performed strongly, with a copy of Saint-Non Voyage pittoresque ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile, five volumes, Paris, 1781-86 attaining $26,250. Kleiner’s Résidences mémorables de l'incomparable héros de notre siècle... made $11,250. Zompini, Le Arti che vanno per via nella Citta di Venezi sold for $16,250, a record price. The caricature journal London und Paris sold for $5,937 (also a record), and in general earlier illustrated works performed strongly.
The sale included a substantial group of travels and voyages. The highpoint was a copy of the volume on China of Willam and Jan Blaeu’s Nieuwe Atlas—the sixth volume, devoted to China—which sold for $25,000. Maps and atlases were fiercely contested, with an 18th century bound collection of Seutter city views selling for $18,750, and strong prices realized for maps of American interest, with the Speed map of Virginia and Maryland (circa 1676) fetching $5,312.50.
Du Halde’s great Description of China, the first French edition of 1735, four volumes in contemporary calf, attained $20,000. An exceptional manuscript, The Rev. W. Lacey’s Index to the Mythological Box of Hindu Paintings, illustrated with 48 very fine full-page Indian watercolors relating to the Hindu pantheon made $15,000. Three volumes by Dapper on the Morea, Syria, Palestine etc., bound in contemporary calf, made $13,750. A collection of books on Tibet performed vigorously, with a pair of Jesuit Relations relating to Father Andrade’s travels in Tibet selling at $4,375 each.