SAN FRANCISCO – On June 30, PBA Galleries will host the John R.M. Phelan Collection of Fine Press Books. This auction is composed of 450 lots of beautiful, finely printed works, many with illustrations by important artists. Featured are books from the Allen, Arion, Ashendene, Bird & Bull, Doves, Golden Cockerel, Grabhorn, Kelmscott, and other presses, collected over many years, many purchased directly from the presses themselves.
Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.
The highlight of the sale is the Arion Press The Apocalypse: The Revelation of Saint John the Divine. This incredible work is illustrated with 29 woodblock prints (above) by American pop artist Jim Dine. Only one of eight copies issued in a custom oak box with a sculpture cast and painted by Dine. It is part of a large collection of Arion Press publications including other collaborations with Dine. It has a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Also featured in the sale is the 1894 The Tale of Emperor Coustans and of Over Sea by Kelmscott Press. The volume (below), one of 525, features elaborate woodcut borders on title pages and woodcut initials throughout designed by William Morris. It is finely bound in full dark blue levant morocco bordered with gilt oak sprays with onlaid leaves and acorns in green and brown (est.: $2,000-$3,000).
The Golden Cockerel 1929 edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales remains a premier work of the press. The publication of the Tales took the majority of the Golden Cockerel Press’ resources for nearly two and a half years from 1929 to 1931 and cemented the legacy of the press.
Designed under the oversight of Robert Gibbings, this four-volume edition features masterfully crafted wood-engraved illustrations with simplicity and linear precision by Eric Gill. The set (below) is no. 184 of 485 with original niger-backed patterned boards (est.: $7,000-$10,000).
The King James Bible, published between 1903-1905, is one of the legendary fine printings of the Bible and the masterpiece of the Doves Press.
The King James Bible (below) is the sixth publication of the press and features the iconic initial letter “I” from “In the Beginning” gently cascading down the page, alongside the elegant block of text. One of 500 printed, it is presented in five volumes on original full limp vellum by the Doves Bindery and housed in five brown morocco-backed tan cloth slipcases, each with a matching tan chemise with morocco pull (est.: $6,000-$9,000).
The Arion Press Holy Bible is a superb example of contemporary fine printing and one of the most important books to be produced by the Arion Press of San Francisco. This massive lectern Bible of exquisite typographic beauty is offered in two volumes and bound in full morocco, blue covers and black spines with red strip separating them. Both volumes (below) are housed in large black cloth box with cloth lid (est.: $6,000-$9,000).
The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific time.
For more information, contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665.