CHICAGO – Potter & Potter Auctions‘ June 1 Fine Books & Manuscripts sale achieved a total of $628,000. It featured 510 lots and had a 97% sell through rate. Absentee and Internet live bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.
The top lot was a first edition, first issue copy of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which had been estimated at $8,000-$12,000 and earned $24,000. It was printed in London by [C. Whiting for] Chapman and Hall in 1861. This example was among the earliest printings of its type, given its well-documented errors and layout.
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others realized $11,400 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. This first edition of the first book published at Arkham House in 1939 retained its original dust jacket. It was one of only 1,268 copies printed by the legendary publisher of weird fiction and horror.
Commanding $9,000 against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000 was Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep. This first edition of the author’s first book was published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934 and included its first issue dust jacket. This example was from the personal library of Larry McMurtry.
Thomas Hardy’s The Trumpet-Major. A Tale, was estimated at $2,000-$3,000 and attained $11,400. This first edition in book form was printed in London by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1880. This work, in its secondary binding, was originally published as a serial in Good Words magazine that same year.
Signed or inscribed editions of some of the world’s most influential works also took top lot slots in this important sale, such as Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, which was estimated at $2,000-$3,000 and realized $6,000. This first edition, first printing copy was published in New York by Times Books in 1995. It is inscribed on the half-title: “Jean and Paul, Thanks for all your friendship and support.” The book was described as “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician” by Time columnist Joe Klein.
Also performing well was Langston Hughes’ The Ways of White Folks, which rose to $4,800 against an estimate of $300-$500. This early printing presentation copy was published in New York by Alfred A. Knopf in 1947. It was inscribed by Hughes to author Kay Boyle (1902-1992), a prolific writer and political activist who worked for the NAACP.
Rounding out the sale were antique to antiquarian works, important historical ephemera, and other category-spanning publications, led by Michael Nostradamus’ The True Prophecies or Prognostications of…, Physician to Henry II. Francis II. and Charles IX. Kings of France, and one of the best Astronomers that ever were. A work full of curiosity and learning, which had been estimated at $7,000-$9,000 and brought $10,200. This handsome first edition in English was translated with comments by Theophilus de Garencieres and published in London by Thomas Ratcliffe and Nathaniel Thompson for John Martin et al. in 1672.
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