BOSTON – RR Auction‘s June Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale brings almost 900 lots to the auction block, featuring robust art and literature sections with online bidding through June 16. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
Highlights include an F. Scott Fitzgerald signed book, The Beautiful and Damned, a first edition, second printing, first state hardcover copy bound in dark bluish green cloth. It is signed and inscribed on a free end page in fountain pen, “For George W. Stair, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, New York City.” George W. Stair was a noted bookman who originally owned and operated a rare bookstore near Rockefeller Center. Despite disappointing reviews, rare book dealers such as George Stair recognized Scott Fitzgerald’s potential, and considered acquiring his signature on a first edition a significant association.
Another notable highlight is a Jack Kerouac hand-corrected and signed six-page typed manuscript proof for the article In the Ring, circa 1968. It is initialed on the last page in black ballpoint by the author, and also includes the hand-corrected galley proof, printer’s instructions, and first printing in the March 1968 issue of The Atlantic. The article describes boxing and wrestling matches witnessed around New England during his youth, and stands as a great example of Kerouac’s stylish semi-autobiographical prose. This was the last piece of Kerouac’s to appear in a major publication during his lifetime, as he passed away at the age of 47 on October 21, 1969. An excellent original work from the Beat Generation pioneer, and an archive that chronicles the publishing process from start to finish.
Also featured is a Dr. Seuss-signed first-edition copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, along with an inscription adjacent to the half-title page in black ink: “With best wishes to Matt Stiller! Dr. Seuss, March 1990.” The consignor notes that the book was purchased at the Strand Book Store in New York City during the week of its publication, and mailed to Dr. Seuss shortly thereafter. Although unconfirmed, it remains highly unlikely that the author performed any public book signings for Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his final book, given that he had experienced complications from his oral cancer prior to its release date; Dr. Seuss would lose his battle with cancer at the age of 87, a year and a half after signing this copy. Signed examples of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! are virtually nonexistent, with research revealing no other examples sold at auction within the past 15 years—that this is a first edition only further elevates its already immense desirability and scarcity.
The lineup also includes a Beatrix Potter-signed sketch of Peter Rabbit. With their playful plots, imaginative critters, and some of the liveliest illustrations in children’s literature, Beatrix Potter’s little books—23 in total, published during the course of two decades—were an instant and enormous success. This wonderful association boasts a sought-after ink signature and includes the inscription, “[From:] Wm. and Beatrix Heelis, [To:] Christopher and Phyllis Le Fleming and the young man, from Peter Rabbit, Christmas 1936,” with Potter adding a wonderful small sketch of a rabbit and a trail of winding “x” marks.
Herman Melville fans won’t want to miss a one-page signed letter, written to his publisher, G. P. Putnam & Co. in New York, on November 25, 1854. The gorgeously penned and perfectly preserved example looks as fresh as the day it came from the great author’s pen.
Other great letters on offer are a J. R. R. Tolkien two-page typed example, dated June 22, 1957 and addressed to Andrew Schiller, commenting on the classic medieval tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the structural rules of the English language. While teaching at Leeds in the early 1920s, Tolkien produced A Middle English Vocabulary and a translated definitive edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E. V. Gordon; both would become academic standard works for several decades. Much of Tolkien’s scholarly concern was in linguistics, and more specifically the construction of language—interests evident in the Elvish dialects that appear in his fiction, as well as in the many questions he poses in this significant letter. Revealing the depth of thought that informed his many texts, this is an ideal Tolkien letter.
Another tempting lot is a Pablo Picasso-signed photograph with a lengthy inscription to his best friend, the sculptor Jaime Sabartes. The vintage matte-finish photo of Picasso bundled up for chilly weather is signed and inscribed in fountain pen. Picasso first met Sabartes in 1899 when they were both just 18 years old and began a lifelong friendship. Sabartes initiated the establishment of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona with the donation of his personal collection, which consisted of nearly 600 of Picasso’s works.
Also showcasing an art-world titan is a Salvador Dali autographed letter, signed with a sketch. It’s a one page long, undated, and handwritten in French to a friend, with a desirable sketch by the artist in the upper right corner, depicting a simple landscape scene with two figures in the foreground who point at an enormous sun overhead.
Other top offerings include an exceedingly rare signed pair of Air Jordan 1 Player Sample Sneakers; Albert Einstein’s remarkable musings on the meaning of life; a set of oversized Wizard of Oz portrait photographs inscribed to the producer’s assistant; and a selection of excellent John F. Kennedy material.
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