SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries will feature an important collected edition of William Shakespeare’s works at its Feb. 8 auction. LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding on this and 162 other rare lots in this auction.
Certainly the most widely read, most often published and most influential writer in the annals of English literature is William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. His 36 plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Though a number of his plays were published during his lifetime – he died in 1616 at age 52 – it was not until 1623 that a collected edition of his plays was published, known as the First Folio.
Nine years later, another edition was called for, and in 1632 there was published the Second Folio of Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. It was essentially a page-for-page reprint of the First Folio, but with a very significant addition, John Milton’s “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare.” It was the first appearance in print of any work of Milton’s. There were to be two more folio editions of Shakespeare’s Works published during the 17th century – the third folio of 1664 and the fourth folio of 1685.
The Second Folio to be offered by PBA Galleries is described as a “tall,” well-margined copy was rebound in full morocco in the middle of the 19th century by the firm of J. Leighton for the owner, Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche, a noted traveler, scholar and collector. There is some restoration to the title page and final leaf, but overall a very choice copy, in eminently collectible condition. PBA Galleries estimates this monumental work will sell for between $200,000 and $300,000.
Another valuable work in the auction by a celebrated English author is Marlborough: His Life and Times by Winston S. Churchill. The four volumes are number 94 of 155 sets, which were sold by subscription and published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd. from 1933-1938. Churchill signed the set on the limitations leaf in Volume 1. The rare set has a $12,000-$15,000 estimate.
David Low (1786-1859), a professor of agriculture at the University of Edinburgh, was interested in the agricultural education of the common man as well as the landed gentry. Low’s Domestic Animals of the British Islands intended to educate anyone interested agriculture, from the common man to the landed. The two-volume set published in 1842 contained 56 hand-colored lithographed plates of farm animals. Complete copies are rare in the trade, often being disassembled for the plates. Bound in 19th-century green half morocco and marbled boards, the set has a $12,000-$15,000 estimate.
Two rare and important works about China will be available at the auction. One is a 15-volume complete set that forms an introduction to Chinese life in the 18th-century. The work of Jesuit missionaries, the set represents an important survey of Eastern life, philosophy and language. Having descended in the family of American naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry, the work is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
The second work in the sale devoted to China, Jean-Baptiste Du Halde’s important Description of China … , was published in London in 1738-41 and features 64 copper-engraved maps, plans and plates, most of which fold. The two volumes also examine the geography and history of Korea and Tibet. The estimate is $8,000-$12,000.
The auction will begin at 1 p.m. Pacific at PBA Galleries, 133 Kearny St. – fourth floor.
For details call 415-989-2665.
To view the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet during the sale at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE