Hunter S. Thompson’s signed and annotated Gideon Bible opens a new chapter at PBA Galleries Jan. 25

Hunter S. Thompson's Gideon Bible, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at PBA Galleries.

BERKELEY, Calif. – More than 450 lots of fine literature and ephemera with science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, Beat Generation and counterculture items along with a selection of surfing memorabilia and poster art will come to PBA Galleries on Thursday, January 25. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

A personally signed and annotated Gideon Holy Bible taken from a Las Vegas hotel room by ‘gonzo journalist’ Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) is a leading contender for the oddball of the sale. With a publication date of 1958, this copy would have been exceedingly old by the time Thompson made a name for himself with 1967’s Hells Angels, his breakthrough work. It was purchased directly from Thompson’s Woody Creek, Colorado home in the mid-1990s. As Thompson wrote in 1998’s Generation of Swine, “I have stolen more quotes and thoughts and purely elegant little starbursts of writing from the Book of Revelation than anything else in the English language – and it is not because I am a biblical scholar, or because of any religious faith, but because I love the wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music … [the Gideons] have saved me many times, when nobody else could do anything but mutter about calling security on me unless I turned out my lights and went to sleep like all the others … ” The Bible is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

An early entrant to the realm of science fiction literature is 1884’s Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions by Rev. Edwin Abbott (1838-1926). A 1980 reissue of the work – which was encased in aluminum and features an accordion-fold format – has text that can be opened to read as a square, and, when unfolded, extends to 33 feet per side. The first half of the book is printed on one side, the second on the opposite. With an introduction by sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury, and signed by him, this copy is number 120 of 275 and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

An 1876 first printing of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens, 1835-1910) is notable for retaining its original sheepskin binding, a rarity among Tom Sawyer editions printed by the American Publishing Company of Hartford, Connecticut. It is estimated at $7,000-$10,000.

By the time Jack Kerouac typewrote and signed this 1968 letter to his niece – focusing primarily on the antics of his two house cats – the Beat Generation writer’s original vision for the ‘counterculture’ was spinning out of control in American politics and popular culture. “Pitou just ran out again. He’s white as snow from the white sand around here. He has a favorite tree in the yard and he goes way out on the limb and looks down at me with the stars above him.” The letter carries an estimate of $7,000-$10,000.

One of the most beloved authors and illustrators of all time, Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) created a wonderful world of animal characters known to generations. Her 1904 release of The Tale of Benjamin Bunny continued the series, and this first edition copy published by Frederick Warne and Co. in London is in remarkable condition despite it having been clearly loved by its original owner. The lot also includes a later edition, and the pair are estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

Travel, Americana and literature add color to Freeman’s Sept. 27 Books and Manuscripts sale

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PHILADELPHIA — Subject matter ranging from Revolutionary War and anti-slavery tracts to Central American ruins and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping add fascinating color to the Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts sale scheduled for Wednesday, September 27. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s diverse selections symbolize a walk through a wide range of Western history and literature. The lot with the highest estimate is a first edition of Frederick Catherwood’s 1844 travelog Views of the Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. One of just 300 copies printed, the book was the third in a series of first-hand accounts of ancient Mayan ruins encountered by Catherwood, a draftsman, and archaeologist John Lloyd Stephens during 1839-1842 expeditions. The book comes with 25 tinted lithographic plates engraved after Catherwood’s on-scene illustrations. So important were these works at the time that Edgar Allen Poe called the author’s 1843 Incidents of Travel in Yucatan “the most interesting book of travel ever published.” The lot carries an estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

One of the greatest minds among the American Founding Fathers belonged to Thomas Paine. Though only a recent 1774 arrival to the colonies, Paine’s Common Sense was the first widely distributed pamphlet to call for independence from the crown. Freeman’s has a rare 1776 Philadelphia copy of the document in the sale, estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

Quakers, a Protestant Christian group, have long been a part of the American fabric. Their early, 18th-century advocacy for the abolition of slavery set them apart from mainstream thinking at the time. Observations on the Inslaving, importing and purchasing of Negroes by Anthony Benezet was the first Quaker-related pamphlet to speak to the realities of the slave trade. Published in 1759, Freeman’s has a first edition of this important document with clear provenance to the original owner, James Moon, a Bucks County Quaker abolitionist. The pamphlet has an estimate of $15,000-$25,000.

New Jersey Detective Ellis H. Parker was one of the investigators of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder. Notably, it was Parker who felt Bruno Hauptmann, convicted of the crime, to be innocent. A trove of his contemporaneous notes and other documents related to the investigation is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

A signed presentation first edition copy of Ray Bradbury’s seminal The Martian Chronicles leads a large group of more contemporary American literature. Inscribed by Bradbury hoping he could “continue to entertain you,” the book is estimated at $1,200-$1,800.
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Frederick Catherwood, ‘Views of the Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,’ estimated at $30,000-$50,000 at Freeman’s.
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Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense,’ the 1776 Philadelphia edition, estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Freeman’s.
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Anthony Benezet, ‘Observations on the Inslaving, importing and purchasing of Negroes,’ estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Freeman’s.
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Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder archive of New Jersey Detective Ellis H. Parker, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Freeman’s.
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First edition signed presentation copy of Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ estimated at $1,200-$1,800 at Freeman’s.
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, ‘Ambassadeurs: Aristide Bruant,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at Freeman’s.
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PBA Galleries presents exquisite rare books Oct. 21

Illustration from the 1973 limited edition of the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,’ inscribed by illustrator Susan Allix, est. $4,000-$6,000
Illustration from the 1973 limited edition of the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,’ inscribed by illustrator Susan Allix, est. $4,000-$6,000
Illustration from the 1973 limited edition of the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,’ est. $4,000-$6,000

BERKELEY, Calif. – PBA Galleries will hold an auction of Fine Literature with Bukowski, Beats & the Counterculture on October 21. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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