PBA Galleries offering ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Ulysses’ firsts at international fair Feb. 12


This rare first printing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ in the original dust jacket is expected to sell for $35,000-$45,000. PBA Galleries image


SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries will host their next sale on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Oakland Marriott City Center during the 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair. PBA presents 221 lots of rare, important, interesting, and charitable works, ranging from manuscript laws of Venice in the 16th century to legendary 20th century fantasy, with landmarks of philosophy, science and literature, rare illustrated books, and historical accounts of world travels. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

A rare first printing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again in the original dust jacket (above) will be on offer. This was Tolkien’s first novel of “Middle-Earth” and the captivating tale of its hero Bilbo Baggins. It is one of the most internationally acclaimed works in the fantasy literature genre and one that appears to be eternally popular with readers young and old of any generation. It is expected to sell for $35,000-$45,000.

A first edition, first printing of one of the landmarks of 20th century literature, James Joyce’s Ulysses (above), will also be offered. One of 750 copies, numbered 255, it is one of the earliest copies from the press. Numbering of the edition began at 251 and this copy at 255 would have been the fifth to have been completed. Furthermore, according to the publisher’s records, it is listed as one of the first to be sold, being bought on Feb. 9, 1922, 95 years ago (est. $20,000-$30,000).



First printing of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.’ Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. PBA Galleries image


Also featured in the sale is the rare “Imperial Edition” of Reichenbachia. Orchids Illustrated and Described in four volumes. Only 100 sets of this edition were made each containing 192 chromolithographs of orchids mounted on thick card and most finished by hand. Each of the massive volumes weigh over 40 pounds (est. $30,000-$50,000).



Imperial Edition of ‘Reichenbachia: Orchids Illustrated and Described,’ four volumes. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. PBA Galleries image


A rare and important presentation copy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s final published work, Encyclopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse, is also a highlight of the auction. Presented to Hegel’s colleague at the University of Berlin and prominent Protestant theologian, Philip Marheineke, the work is the greatest expression of Hegel’s philosophy and this third edition was the final work published during Hegel’s life (est. $50,000-$80,000).

Also featured in the sale are four one-of-a-kind lots: the personal accounting ledger, 1843-1844, of merchant captain and California pioneer William A. Leidesdorff (est. $30,000-$50,000); a small group of original signed letters from Albert Einstein to author Max Fishler, about Immanuel Kant and relativity (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000); a rare manuscript on vellum of the laws of Venice from 1580 (est. $15,000-$25,000); and an archive of approximately 135 pencil-drawn preliminary architectural sketches for the “Joy Zone” at the 2015 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco (est. $10,000-$15,000).


Approximately 135 pencil-drawn preliminary architectural sketches for the ‘Joy Zone’ at the 2015 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. PBA image


Concluding the auction are nearly 100 lots of material donated by antiquarian booksellers to be sold for the benefit of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Benevolent Fund and the Elisabeth Woodburn Fund, which provides financial support for scholarly research and education relevant to the antiquarian book trade.

The sale will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Pacific Time in Room 202 on the second level. For more information, please contact the galleries at 415-989-2665 or pba@pbagalleries.com.