PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s September 21 Books and Manuscripts auction inaugurated Freeman’s fall auction season with the remarkable $277,200 sale of New Englands First Fruits. The extremely rare first edition on early colonial New England includes the first printed account of Harvard University — and garnered considerable interest, with competitive bidding driving the sale price more than nine times above its high estimate of $30,000.
“We’re thrilled by the successful sale of New Englands First Fruits, and so is the consignor,” said Head of Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts department Darren Winston. “This is the first copy to be offered at auction in over 20 years, and today’s result confirms the market demand for this material, setting a new world auction record for the title.”
A rare and beautiful first edition of L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — made famous by the 1939 classic film starring Judy Garland — achieved $37,800, more than tripling its high estimate of $12,000.
Several important Americana manuscripts and documents likewise sparked bidding wars, resulting in sale prices that far exceeded estimates, including the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a scarce copy that achieved $27,720 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500. A 1738 colonial treatise on paper money sold for $21,420 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500, and a very rare 1683 document issued to the very first purchaser of Pennsylvania land sold for $20,160. It had been estimated at $5,000-$8,000.
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