NEW YORK — Swann Galleries will hold its next Fine Books & Autographs sale on Thursday, February 17. Autographs from luminaries representing the realms of technology, politics, literature and beyond will be offered alongside scarce first editions from the 20th century and noteworthy artist books. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Twentieth-century literary high spots include a first edition of T.S. Eliot’s first book, Prufrock and Other Observations, London, 1917, in the original bluff wrappers, estimated at $8,000-$12,000, and also a superb first edition copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Boston, 1951, in the first issue dust jacket, estimated at $8,000-$12,000.
Appearing at auction for the first time is a first edition of Dawn Powell’s rare disavowed first novel Whither, Boston, 1925, which carries an estimate of $6,000-$9,000. Also here is an important three-way association copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Philadelphia & New York, 1962, inscribed by both Lee and her friend and fellow author (and screenwriter for the 1962 adaptation), Horton Foote, presented to a production assistant on the Academy Award-winning film. Its estimate is $9,000-$12,000. Equally compelling is a printing of the long uncorrected galleys of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, New York, 1963, one of a small number produced, and not to be confused with the common wrappered, advanced uncorrected proof. It is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
Complementing the literature section are offerings of art, press and illustrated books in impeccable condition. These include the scarce portfolio “One Cent Life,” Berne, 1964, the deluxe edition, one of 100 signed and numbered copies on handmade paper, estimated at $2,000-$3,000, and an “Artist’s Proof of Robert Indiana’s The American Dream,” El Segundo, 1997, one of just 30 copies. It is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Autograph selections include the cover of a 1982 issue of TIME magazine featuring Steve Jobs, signed by the original Apple genius and estimated at $15,000-$25,000. Thomas Edison material on offer includes schematic diagrams for two speaker designs from 1927, estimated at $3,500-$5,000, as well as a signed photograph estimated at $1,000-$2,000 and signed handwritten notes from 1912 to Sherwood Troop Moore offering instructions and remarking on the failed results of a test. This last carries an estimate of $600-$900. In addition to Jobs and Edison, autographs from technological innovators include a photograph signed by Henry Ford, estimated at $1,500-$2,500.
Material from American political figures include a document signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, authorizing the use of his name for the first presidential library, estimated at $700-$1,000; an 1864 appointment signed by Abraham Lincoln included in an album of letters, notes and documents signed by figures relating to the Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a Time magazine cover from February 1957 that was signed in 1959, estimated at $3,000-$4,000.
World leaders and figures who appear in the sale lineup include Leon Trotsky, who signed a letter to his publisher in 1930 concerning the History of the Russian Revolution, published in that year, estimated at $1,000-$2,000; a photograph of Nelson Mandela signed by the revolutionary in 1995, estimated at $1,000-$2,000; two color photographs of the 14th Dali Lama, each signed by him in Tibetan circa 1995, estimated at $400-$600; and a copy of the December 1975 issue of Time featuring Mother Teresa, signed by the beatified Catholic nun in 1986 and estimated at $700-$1,000.
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