20th century US authors featured at PBA Galleries Oct. 10

Jack London, ‘The Iron Heel,’ first edition, Macmillan, 1908, with dust jacket. PBA image

BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, Oct. 10, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of fine literature. Over 500 lots of literature and poetry from the 20th century and earlier will be on the block. The sale features some truly rare and unique material relating to Charles Bukowski, a nice selection of Raymond Carver rarities, and a number of scarce and important works by Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Thorne Smith, John Steinbeck, and other perennially collectible authors of the 20th century. Also on offer is a comprehensive section of the works of H.G. Wells with a number of inscribed and signed volumes. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Canonical literary heavyweights of the 20th-century Western literature are well-represented. Iron Heel, Jack London’s chilling dystopian novel of a fascist dictatorship in the United States, will be offered by PBA in its rare original dust jacket ($5,000-$8,000).

In personal archives, Ray Bradbury’s large collection stands out: The lot’s papers include many hundreds of drafts, contracts, letters, signed photographs, promo materials and other miscellaneous papers ($800-$1,000).

Large archive of Ray Bradbury papers and photographs. PBA image

Rare Charles Bukowski materials will be on the auction block, including a nine-page manuscript letter from Jane Cooney Baker, Bukowski’s early muse. Currently, this letter is the only known surviving piece of correspondence from the mysterious Baker, Bukowski’s early love and the model for Fay Dunaway’s character in the film Barfly. The letter was written to her family and touches upon her relationship with Bukowski, among other aspects of her life, of which little biographical material has been available ($3,000-$5,000).

Nine-page manuscript letter from Jane Cooney Baker, Charles Bukowski’s early muse. PBA image

Bukowski devotees will also compete for three hours of unreleased Bukowski interview footage from 1983, filmed for an interview with Cosmopolitan International Magazine. In this unedited footage, Bukowski fields questions from photographer Michael Montfort and interviewer Frances Schoenberger over many bottles of wine. The vast majority of the footage has not been released to the public ($5,000-$8,000).

The bulk of the auction presents 19th and 20th-century literary history with exceptional highlights such as a first American edition of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine ($1,000-$1,500).

Spirited bidding is expected for the two-page signed holograph letter by Willa Cather written to Harry Hansen, literary editor for the New York World, regarding a review of Death Comes for the Archbishop ($1,000-$1,500).

Handwritten letter by Willa Cather. PBA image

Valuable history is preserved in the six printing plates from City Light Books publications, including the 17th printing of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and works from Bob Kaufman and David Meltzer ($700-$1,000).

Other particularly exciting gems include a first edition of Thorne Smith’s most famous book, Topper, which was made into the 1937 Cary Grant film. The first edition is inscribed by Thorne Smith and in its original dust jacket ($2,000-$3,000).

In popular literature, PBA will offer a first edition, first issue with all the first points (and first issue dust jacket) of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Far fewer copies of the first U.S. edition of the first Harry Potter book were issued than the sequels in this wildly popular series ($1,000-$1,500).

A scarce copy of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company is available. The book is signed and inscribed by Beach, an American-born bookseller and publisher who, through her Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company, published James Joyce’s Ulysses, and encouraged the publication and sold copies of Hemingway’s first book ($2,000-$3,000).

‘Shakespeare and Company,’ inscribed by Sylvia Beach. PBA image

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. For more information contact the PBA Galleries 415-989-2665 or pba@pbagalleries.com.