Past Auction

Album of 18th Century French Erotic Watercolors Sells For $224,500 at Doyle New York's November 7, 2011 Rare Books and Autographs Auction

Mon, Nov 07, 2011 at 10am EST |
New York
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Collection of Explicit Renderings Was Consigned at a Regional Appraisal Day Organized by Doyle's Washington, DC Office

  • Collection of Explicit Renderings Was Consigned at a Regional Appraisal Day Organized by Doyle's Washington, DC Office
  • The November 7 Auction Offered Rare Americana, Colorplate Books, Manuscripts, Early Printing, Literature, Maps, Childrens' Books and Illustrations
  • We Invite You to Contact Us for a Complimentary Auction Evaluation of Your Books and Autographs

An 18th century album of French erotic watercolors sold for a staggering $224,500 at Doyle New York's auction of Rare Books and Autographs on November 7, 2011. With competitive bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the sale totaled a strong $902,875, doubling the pre-sale estimate of $376,900-567,700, with a remarkable 92% sold by lot and 97% sold by value.


The explicit 240-year-old watercolors were likely painted by Dutch painter Jacob Xavery, who moved to Paris in 1768, at a time of popular anti-clerical sentiment fueled by the Enlightenment. The sexual encounters depicted take place between couples and in groups, and some of them take place within monasteries and convents. The album had been consigned to the auction by a collector in the Mid-Atlantic States at a regional appraisal day organized by Doyle New York’s Washington, DC office. It was estimated at $8,000-12,000. Following lengthy competitive bidding, the album sold to a bidder in the salesroom for $224,500.

Illustration Art

Illustration art in the sale offered two original pen and ink drawings by Ernest H. Shepard for Winnie the Pooh, published in London (Methuen, 1922). One of the drawings depicted Chritopher Robin and Piglet ,and the other Winnie the Pooh struggling to remove his head from the “Hunny” jar. The two drawings doubled their estimate of $25,000-35,000, selling for $68,500.


A rare piece of Americana attracted a great deal of interest among the bidders. Lawrence Furlong’s 1796 The American Coast Pilot; Containing, the Courses and Distance from Boston to all the principal Harbours, Capes and Headlands included between Passamaquady and the Capes of Virginia ... was the first navigational guide of its kind printed in the United States. While attributed to Captain Furlong, this work was mostly assembled by its publisher, the Newburyport book store owner Edmund March Blunt. The American Coast Pilot is highly ambitious in scope, providing navigational directions from Passamaquoddy in New Brunswick, Canada to all major 18th century American harbors, the Gulf region, the Florida Keys, the Caribbean and further afield but is particularly strong in its descriptions of Boston, Cape Cod and Newburyport waterways. Estimated at $10,000-15,000, it sold for a stunning $75,400.


Manuscripts in the sale featured John Goodwin’s Of the Circuler Scale The first [seconde; Thyrde; Fiveth; seaventh] Booke Wherein is contayned the Partes of the Instrument and conclusions to bee performed thereby Written By John Goodwin the Author Practitioner In the Mathematicks & Teacher of Arithmetic & Geometrie in the Cytie of London Anno 1599 (London: 1599). Goodwin was a mathematician and instrument maker of high contemporary esteem, who was pursuing researches in these fields at a time when they were of extraordinary importance to English exploration, trade and commerce. Elizabethan manuscripts pertaining to map and instrument making such as this are of the greatest rarity. It more than doubled its $20,000-30,000 estimate, selling for $62,500.

All prices include the buyer's premium.


Doyle New York's next auction of Rare Books and Autographs is scheduled for Spring 2012. 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. Please contact Edward Ripley-Duggan at 212-427-4141, ext 234, or Peter Costanzo at ext. 248, or email [email protected]

Consignments are currently being accepted

To have your property evaluated for possible consignment in the next auction, please contact:

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