CHICAGO – First editions of each of Jane Austen’s major novels led Hindman’s May 11 Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts auction. The five books, including Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, realized more than $300,000. Overall, the auction totaled more than $1.1 million and was more than 94 percent sold.
“The passion of private collectors for rare works of literature and first editions led to very competitive bidding on the Jane Austen novels,” said Hindman Vice President of Books & Manuscripts Gretchen Hause. “We are thrilled with the results, and to see that the market for literature, and particularly for literature written by women, continues to gain strength.”
Highlighting the five first editions was Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which sold for $107,100, more than double its high estimate. The work, written by Austen at the age of 21 and finally published 15 years later in a small edition of approximately 1,500 copies, stands as one of the most enduring and beloved works of 19th-century literature. Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, sold for $81,900 against a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
The Americana session achieved outstanding results, continuing to underscore the firm’s strength in the category.
A presentation copy of the first octavo edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America from Drawings Made in the United States and their Territories led the Americana choices, realizing $88,200. The double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) established his reputation as the greatest ornithological artist of his time, and the octavo edition adds 65 new images for a total of 500 plates, making it what has been called “the most extensive color plate book produced in America up to that time.”
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