Past Auction

Album of Musical Manuscripts Achieves $158,500 at Doyle New York's Auction of Rare Books, Maps and Autographs

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 10am EDT |
New York
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Including the Books from the Library of Omar Shakespear Pound, Son of Poet Ezra Pound

  • Including the Books from the Library of Omar Shakespear Pound, Son of Poet Ezra Pound

Doyle New York held its semi-annual auction of Rare Books, Maps and Autographs on April 20, 2011. The sale offered property in a wide variety of categories, including Americana, manuscripts, travels and voyages, science, early printing, literature color plate books, livres d'artistes and original illustrative art.

With competitive international bidding from buyers in the salesroom, on the telephones and via the Internet, the sale totaled a strong $819,250, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $375,700-556,550 with 91% sold by lot and 98% sold by value.

Important Album of Music Manuscripts

The highpoint of the sale was the musical album amicorun of Arnold Wehner, which sold for $158,500. Wehner was director of music at Gottingen in the 1850s and was acquainted with the young composer Johannes Brahms, who added a full-page composition incorporating a section of what was to become his op. 40, the Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, fully composed in 1865. Robert and Clara Schumann were also visitors, with Robert leaving a full-page from his op. 58, 1, the Skizzen fur Orgel oder Pedalklavier, and Clara providing a one-line quotation. Other contributors included Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (an eight-bar quotation), Gioachino Rossini and some forty others, as well as contributions by artists and poets. This album was previously unknown to scholarship, and it was vigorously contested by an international cohort of bidders.

The Library of Omar Shakespear Pound

A special section of the sale featured books from the Library of Omar Shakespear Pound (1926-2010), son of the great American poet Ezra Pound and his wife Dorothy Shakespear, one of Wyndham Lewis's group of Vorticist artists. Omar Pound was himself a poet and translator of Arabic and Persian verse. He co-edited three volumes of Ezra's letters and a bibliography of Wyndham Lewis, and was a founding trustee of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust.

A copy of Pound's Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (London: John Rodker, 1928), one of only four copies printed on Roman vellum, signed (as called for) on the colophon by Ezra Pound and Gladys Hynes, the illustrator, sold for $59,375. This is the only copy of the vellum edition ever to be sold at auction. Also offered was a copy of A Draft of XVI Cantos (bound with A Draft of the Cantos 17-27), inscribed enigmatically "O.P. certified 1948 Ezra P." This was a twenty-first birthday present for the young Omar Pound. It sold for $27,500.

A copy of Pound's first book A Lume Spento. In the City of Aldus. (Venice: A. Antonini, 1908, from imprint on title verso), the first edition, one of 100 copies issued, signed in ink by Ezra Pound on the title page (but with wrappers overlaid with hand-made decorative covers, and with replaced excisions from the text) sold for $28,125. Another lot was a miniature portrait of the young Ezra Pound by Winnifred Mabel Newberry Brunton, which achieved $18,750. From the same collection a copy of W.B. Yeats’ The Poems of William Blake. (London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1893), inscribed in ink on the front endpaper "Mrs Shakespear,/from WB Yeats/February 1896" achieved $15,000.

Artist Books

In the field of modern art, a bound volume of Asger Jorn's own copies of many of the manifestos of the CoBrA movement, some extensively annotated, sold for $13,750. Andy Warhol's 25 Cats Name [sic] Sam and One Blue Pussy ([New York]: Printed by Seymour Berlin [for Warhol], [circa 1954]), the first edition, numbered and signed in ballpoint, copy 110 of a stated 190 copies (though it has been speculated that fewer, perhaps 150, were actually produced) sold for $59,375. A trio of works by Bonnefoy, Du Bouchet and Dupin (Paris: Maeght Editeur, 1962), each copy 70 of 85 on Rives paper, all illustrated with aquatints by Joan Miro, made $12,500. Among earlier works on art, John Burnet, Rembrandt and His Works (London: James S. Virtue, 1859), the copy of Gardiner Greene Hubbard, extra-illustrated with original engravings by Rembrandt, sold for $13,750.

Early Printing

Among items pertaining to early printing, a copy of Joannis and Willem Blaeu Theatrum civitatum et admirandorum Italiae... (Amsterdam: Typis Joannis Blaeu, 1663), in two volumes, original Dutch vellum gilt of the period, with the 118 plates and maps sold for $46,875, a world auction record for a complete copy. Poggio Bracciolini's work on the trial and death of Savanorola, Contra Fratrem Hieronymum heresiarcha[m] libellus et p[ro]cessus. [Nuremberg: Ambrosius Huber, after 1498] sold for $5,000.

Early Manuscripts

The sale featured a significant offering of early manuscripts. A Book of Hours, manuscript on vellum (Northern France, likely Amiens or Rouen) second quarter of the 15th century, with four miniatures, made $10,000. A Devotional manuscript on paper (South German: first or second quarter of the 15th century) in its original binding of contemporary reversed deerskin fetched $9,375, and a small Ferial Psalter made $5,000. Several individual pages or cuttings were sold, with an exceptional cut miniature extracted from a manuscript (France: second quarter of the 15th century), laid gold and colors on vellum achieving $5,938. Several groups of Oriental manuscripts sold at prices up to $4,688.


A field of perennial interest, Americana, included John Knox, An Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North-America for the years 1757, 1758, 1759, and 1760... (London: Printed for the author, 1769) first edition, two volumes, full brown morocco of the period, which made $2125; one (of two) parts from the atlas of the second edition of Wilson's American Ornithology, or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States (New York and Philadelphia: Collins & Co./Harrison Hall, 1829) made $2,500; and [Charles de Rochefort]. Histoire naturelle et morale des Iles Antilles de l'Amerique (Rotterdam: Arnout Leers, 1658) made $1,750. A fine copy of the Des Barres map of Oyster Bay and Huntington [Long Island Sound]. [(London:] J.F.W. Des Barres, 19 November 1778) sold for $6,875. Most of the prices for Americana were well above the high estimates.

Travels and Voyages

In travels and voyages, an extraordinary and apparently unrecorded work, Court-Dancers and Court-Actors of Docjakarta (Java) [Surabaya: Soerabaische Kunstring, 1911] -- the title, date and imprint taken from the binding -- sold for $10,625. This had numerous signed photographs, and was in a handsome carved wooden case. The first edition of George Shelvocke's A Voyage round the World by the way of the great South Sea, perform'd in the years 1719, 20, 21... (London: printed for J. Senex [and others], 1726), the work from which Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner was derived, fetched $4,375. Of Russian interest, Demidoff's Voyage dans la Russie meridionale et la Crimee (Paris: Gihaut Freres, n.d. [1848?]) made $7,500. Guillaume Joseph Grelot Relation nouvelle d'un voyage de Constantinople... (Paris: Damien Foucault for Pierre Rocolet, 1680) achieved a strong $4,375.


Interest was also strong in the sciences, with two important inscribed photographs of Einsten selling for $8,730 and $6,875. These were inscribed to the daughter of his one-time flame and lifelong friend, Alice Lili Loewy. A group of books on instruments and microscipes fetched strong prices, including Anthony van Leeuwenhoek Opera Omnia seu Arcana Naturae (Leiden & Delft: various publishers, 1722-15-19) first collected edition in Latin, which made $5,000.

Other Books

Private press books, color plate material and children's books all performed well, as did all other categories, making for an exceedingly strong auction that excited a great deal of presale interest both in the US and internationally.

Next Auction of Rare Books, Maps and Autographs: Fall 2011

Doyle New York's next auction of Photographs is scheduled for Fall 2011. Consignments are currently being accepted. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

All prices include the buyer's premium.

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