BERKELEY, Calif. – On Tuesday, December 1, PBA Galleries will host an auction with more than 450 lots of fine literature and ephemera, featuring scarce works from the counterculture and the Beat Generation, plus a large section of rock and psychedelic posters. Also included are editions from Charles Bukowski, many with original artwork, as well as large samplings of the works of Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and other major voices of 20th-century literature. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
A highlight of the sale is an original eight-line manuscript letter handwritten by Jack Kerouac to poet Lois Sorrells Beckwith. She was a romantic partner of Kerouac for a number of years, and the person after whom the character “Louise” in Big Sur is modeled. Beckwith and Jack Kerouac met in 1958, lived together for a few years, and remained friends until Kerouac’s death. The letter carries an estimate of $6,000-$9,000.
The fine literature section contains many unique offerings, such as a copy of Lysistrata signed by Pablo Picasso that contains six original etchings. Published in 1934 by Limited Editions Club, Gilbert Seldes translated the classic tale by Aristophanes. Its estimate is $5,000-$8,000.
A rare Bukowski work on offer is a copy of Crucifix in a Deathhand, one of 12 specially inscribed copies with original artwork and saffron covers. The original inscription-painting by Bukowski, in red paint, reads: “Spiders die at night too without reading Dylan Thomas. Good night, Charles Bukowski,” followed by a drawing of a spider. It has an estimate of $5,000-$8,000.
Notable posters that appear in the December 1 sale lineup are a Grateful Dead poster from 1967, signed by artist Bob Fried and estimated at $4,000-$6,000. The much-coveted promotional poster features an image of a skeleton walking on stilts across a road of books.
Also featured is a wonderful example of one of the most sought-after posters from the Bill Graham Presents series, advertising a series of shows in Toronto by Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead, estimated at $4,000-$6,000; as well as an artist’s proof of the limited edition of The Curse of Lono, signed by author Hunter S. Thompson and illustrator Ralph Steadman at the limitation. It has an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.
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