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Western classic ‘Shane’ a first at PBA Galleries auction May 3

First printing in a rare proof dust jacket of the Western classic ‘Shane’ by Jack Schaefer. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, May 3, PBA Galleries will offer Jack Schaefer’s Western classic Shane, the first edition, in a rare variant proof of the dust jacket. Also in the auction, will be over 500 lots of important and interesting literature from the 17th to 21st centuries, from early poetry, plays and picaresque novels to Avant Garde and counterculture writings of modern times. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Included are significant collections of George Sterling, Jack London, Robinson Jeffers and their Bohemian circle; crime, mystery and early sex novels by Lawrence Block, with original manuscripts; landmarks of 19th century literature by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, James Fenimore Cooper  and Nathaniel Hawthorne; plus Saul Bellow, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, Graham Greene, Christopher Isherwood, Philip Levine, W. Somerset Maugham, Flannery O’Connor, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stegner, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain.

Shane, the author’s first and best-known book, is a first printing in the rare proof dust jacket showing the mysterious Shane with his back to his nemesis, Wilson, the gunslinger hired to intimidate the homesteaders. Shane protects the farmers but in the end, must leave the Wyoming Territory. The published jacket shows just a bust of Shane. This copy (above) is signed by Schaefer and housed in a custom full calf clamshell case (estimate: $10,000-$15,000).

A presentation copy of the rare first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Father Damien: An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu (below), is one of only 25 copies privately issued by the author. The edition was to be distributed among Stevenson’s friends prior to the appearance of the letter in The Scots Observer on May 3 and 10, 1890. Inscribed, it comes with two additional autograph notes. The first is from the recipient, A. Liversidge, and the second signed by Stevenson reads, “Dear L. I am in the smoking room when you are ready. R. L. Stevenson” on Sydney Union Club stationery (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

A presentation copy of the rare first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Father Damien: An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu,’ one of only 25 issued. PBA Galleries image

A collection of 15 rare original issues of Kaliflower were published by the San Francisco Sutter Street Commune. The group, also known as the Sutter Scott Street Commune, imbued with the Digger philosophy, issued its free newspaper to other Bay Area communes to keep other fellow-minded folks informed. It was distributed weekly for three years, beginning in April 1969, and for at least part of its run, was printed a few blocks from PBA’s current location (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Original issues of ‘Kaliflower,’ a free weekly newspaper, issued by the San Francisco Sutter Street Commune for distribution to similarly minded communes. PBA Galleries image

Another interesting lot from the early 1970s is a self-portrait in oil by Charles Bukowski. A colorful painting of the celebrated poet and author, it is inscribed and signed on the verso with Buk’s drawing of his little man to his neighbor (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Self-portrait by underground writer Charles Bukowski, inscribed and signed to his neighbor. PBA Galleries image

Three lots from the Fred Bennet collection of the American poet and playwright, George Sterling, are also highlighted: a significant archive of 75 signed typed poems by Sterling, some with ink corrections or alterations by the author (estimate: $2,000-$3,000); a first edition of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, inscribed to Sterling by both the author and Jack London (est. $3,000-$5,000); and a copy of Martin Eden, inscribed by Jack London and with a letter describing George Sterling and identifying him as the inspiration for one of the book’s characters (est. $2,000-$3,000).

Other featured literature in the sale include a first edition in a first issue dust jacket of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel of the American Civil War, Gone with the Wind (estimate: $3,000-$5,000) and Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, in two volumes from 1869, the first edition in book form of his revealing study of the gradual falling into madness of a suspicious husband (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Mitchell, Margaret’s ‘Gone With the Wind,’ 1936, first edition, first printing with illustrated dust jacket. PBA Galleries image

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. For more information, contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or

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