Dickens’ works to be a best seller Sept. 5 at PBA Galleries


‘Edition Definitive’ of Charles Dickens’ works in 60 volumes. PBA Galleries image

BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, Sept. 5, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of rare books and manuscripts. The auction presents over 300 lots of rare, significant, valuable and unusual materials, ranging from early printed books and religious tomes to landmarks of American literature, beautiful color plate botanicals to narratives of Pacific exploration and rarities of Americana, finely bound books and sets to manuscript Cuban slavery documents and everything between. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Literary rarities from Locke to Vonnegut will be available in a variety of scarce states. From the 17th century, PBA has the substantially revised 1694 second edition of An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding by John Locke (below), in which he lays out the foundations of British empiricism ($3,000-$5,000).


John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding. PBA Galleries image

Other canonical authors represented in the auction include Charles Dickens, whose “Definitive” edition of his Works will be on offer. The edition is composed of 60 volumes, one of 15 sets only, with plates from the original illustrations, and original watercolors by Kid and others, bound in full red levant morocco ($8,000-$12,000).

Two Robert Louis Stevenson rarities, An Object of Pity and Objects of Pity will be on the auction block as well. The volumes are joint creations of RLS and compatriots on Samoa, printed in Sydney, one a presentation copy from Stevenson to Charles Warren Stoddard ($4,000-$6,000).


Robert Louis Stevenson rarities. PBA Galleries image

Illustrated book highlights include the important viticulture work Ampelographie Francaise, 1857, a folio plate volume with 70 stunning chromolithograph plates of grapes and grapevines (below), aimed at their identification and classification ($7,000-$10,000).


Folio color lithos of grapevines. PBA Galleries image

In photography, Traveling Around the World with General Nelson A. Miles, by Henry Clark Rouse, 1904 is a marvelous travelogue illustrated with 174 mounted original photographs ($5,000-$8,000).

The auction specializes in first editions and signed/inscribed books and manuscripts. Charles Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast is a first edition, first printing, inscribed presentation copy of one of the most important narratives of life at sea in the 19th century ($6,000-$9,000).


Presentation copy of ‘Two Years Before the Mast.’ PBA Galleries image

Signed dramatic works include Happy Birthday, Wanda June, original script for the Broadway production of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s play, signed by Vonnegut ($2,000-$3,000). In available manuscripts, PBA has a manuscript record of a slave auction in Cuba in 1865, with a listing of the slaves and their owners, along with the regulations for conducting auctions in the General Depository for Slaves in Santiago de Cuba ($2,000-$3,000). 20th-century rarities include the three volumes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, each the second impression of the first edition, a near fine set in the original dust jackets ($2,000-$3,000).

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