Auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on November 13, 2018
Map of New England by John Seller, circa 1676, Achieves a Stunning $343,750
15th Century Spanish Book of Hours Sells for $112,500
NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle's auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 10am presents material ranging from early illuminated manuscripts to modern literary first editions.
With competitive international bidding in the saleroom, on the telephones and via the Internet, the auction totaled a very successful $1,392,319, far exceeding its estimate of $623,600-945,500, with an exceptional 85% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.
Map of New England by John Seller, circa 1676
Highlighting the sale was an exceedingly rare and early English map of New England by John Seller, Hydrographer to the King, the first not derived from Dutch prototypes. Following fierce competition, the map achieved a stunning $343,750.
John Seller (1632–1697) is an intriguing and important player in the early map and nautical chart publishing business in England. He began as an instrument maker, was accused and acquitted of high treason for an incident initiated on the New England walk of the Royal Exchange. He was later made Hydrographer to King Charles II and was mentioned several times in Pepys diaries.
The map contains an interesting display of early information on the colonies: the plan of Massachusetts is possibly derived from William Reed's boundary survey of 1665; the rendering of Long Island after John Scott's unpublished manuscript map; a vignette of Indian dwellings at upper left from De Bry; and the animals throughout reminiscent of those on American maps by Blaeu and Visscher.
There have been no separate copy of the map or a copy of the map with text in the auction record since the famed Streeter sale in the 1960s.
Spanish Book of Hours
Also achieving a remarkable price at the sale was a Spanish Book of Hours that fetched $112,500, doubling its estimate of $40,000-60,000. The Book was prepared for use in Barcelona in the last quarter of the 15th century, evidenced by the presence of the patron saints of that city in the Calendar and several portions of the text written in Catalan. Its nine fine full-page miniatures were probably Flemish.
An very rare inscribed copy of Alexandre Dumas' Le Comte de Monte-Cristo from 1846 sailed past its estimate of $8,000-12,000 to achieve $62,500. The book featured the first three paragraphs in Dumas’ hand, with a notation by his friend, Englishman Josiah Wilkinson, stating, "This mss. sheet containing the commencement of the first chapter was written for me by Alexandre Dumas while staying with him at his chateau of Monte Cristo near St, Germain, August 22, 1847/Josiah Wilkinson."
Attracting a great deal of interest was a group of material by the Lebanese-American author and artist Khalil Gibran (1883-1931). Likely prepared for the frontispiece of his best-known work, The Prophet, was a self-portrait drawing that realized $53,125, far surpassing its estimate of $20,000-30,000. The portrait had been a gift to his assistant and last companion Barbara Young. From the same group was a lot of seven drawings by Gibran that fetched $50,000, more than doubling its estimate of $15,000-20,000.
Read an essay by Specialist Edward Ripley-Duggan profiling Kahlil Gibran and The Prophet. Read About Kahlil Gibran
Charles Addams’ Dear Dead Days. A Family Album was published in 1959, and a highlight of the sale was original illustration art depicting Addams’ eponymous family was reproduced as the dust jacket of the first edition. Presented by Addams to the illustrator and raconteur Alexander King and his wife, the artwork sold for $31,250, just exceeding its $20,000-30,000 estimate.
In an burst of artistic creativity in late summer 1978, David Hockney created a series of large format works known as Paper Pools, in which dyed paper pulp was pressed into prepared colored sheets, imitating the iridescent effects of light on the surface of water. The technical achievement of these works, which required new printmaking techniques to create, are celebrated as some of Hockney’s finest, and their creation was the subject of a 1980 limited edition, issued with an original color lithograph signed by the artist, now one of the most desirable artist books of the period. Estimated at $10,000-15,000, the work achieved a remarkably strong $28,125.
The Estate of Arnold "Jake" Johnson
A true bibliophile, Arnold “Jake” Johnson (1930-2017) of Bozeman, Montana, was an inveterate collector of rare items related to travel, expeditions in India and Africa, English sporting and color-plate, 19th century big game hunting, and Western Americana. A special section of the November 13 sale presented property from the Estate of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, comprising rare books, hand-written accounts of hunting expeditions, striking examples of 19th century photographic travel albums, and elusive bibliographies and facsimiles of major works. Additional property from the Estate of Arnold “Jake” Johnson will be offered in future live and online only auctions.
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