Plays and poetry to highlight PBA Galleries auction Jan. 11

Plays and poetry

King Henry 5th & 6th from Shakespeare 2nd folio, 1632. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries starts 2018 off on Thursday, Jan. 11, with a sale of over 700 lots of important literature spanning four centuries, with additional fine books in a variety of fields. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Of prime interest is the poetry collection of Larry Rafferty, featuring numerous key works by some of the most important figures in 20th-century poetry, many of them signed or inscribed by the authors. The poets represented include John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heaney, Weldon Kees, Frank O’Hara, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

Also in the auction are eight plays by William Shakespeare from the second folio, 1632; first editions by Henry David Thoreau including Walden, large collections of John Steinbeck and Mark Twain, plus Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, John Le Carré, H.P. Lovecraft, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and P.G. Wodehouse.

Fine books include early printings of books from the Bible, illustrated books, finely bound books and fine press books. Finally, there is a large number of charming miniature books from a variety of modern presses.

King Henry the Fifth & King Henry the Sixth parts 1-3, are among the 10 plays offered in the sale from the 1632 Shakespeare 2nd folio. The four plays bound together in modern Levant Morocco are among his most popular and important histories (est. $12,000-$18,000). Henry the Fifth (above) is considered the most popular of his histories, featuring Falstaff as a companion to Henry. The Henry VI plays deal with the War of the Roses and the scheming rivalry of Richard, Duke of York. These plays are some of Shakespeare’s earliest and they established his reputation as a playwright.

Another highlight of the sale is a signed first edition of North & South, Elizabeth Bishop’s first book. Published in 1946, this copy is offered in the original dust jacket and housed in a custom clamshell box. Although well-respected during her life, her reputation has grown since her death and she has been described as one of the most important American poets of the 20h century (est. $5,000-$8,000).

Plays and poetry

Elizabeth Bishop’s first book, signed, 1946. Estimate: $5,000-48,000. PBA Galleries image

Other poetry highlights include the rare limited edition of Robert Creeley’s Pictures, published by New Mexico’s Tamarind Institute. Illustrated with 11 lithographs by the American pop artist, Jim Dine, it also comes with a 12th lithograph, signed and numbered by Dine, loosely laid in (est. $2,500 – $3,500).

Plays and poetry

Robert Creeley & Jim Dine, ‘Pictures,’ one of 40 copies. Estimate: $2,500-$3,500. PBA Galleries image

The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot, is considered the great poem of the 20th century. A first edition, no. 522 of 1,000 copies will be offered (est. $5,000-$8,000).

Featured literary work include a first illustrated edition in English of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s high spot of world literature, The History of the Most Renowned Don Quixote of Mancha: And his Trusty Squire Sancho Pancha, published in 1687 (est. $8,000-$12,000); the scarce first English edition of The Green Ray by Jules Verne (est. $2,000-$3,000); and a first American edition in original dust jacket of B. Traven’s legendary tale of three American derelicts who hunt for gold in the Mexican wilderness, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was the basis of the 1948 John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart (est. $1,500 – $2,000).

Plays and poetry

B. Traven, ‘Treasure of the Sierra Madre,’ first American edition. Estimate: $1,500-$2,500. PBA Galleries image

Other featured lots include The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, in six volumes. This, the first edition, 1776-1788, comprises the first modern history of ancient Rome, and is a masterpiece of literary style (est. $12,000-$18,000).

A first edition in the original cloth of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, will also be on the block. A key text of the transcendentalist movement, the 1854 publication is one of the landmarks in American letters (est. $5,000- $8,000).

The sale will begin at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. Eastern.

For details contact the PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or