LONDON - The sale of the first part of the Joseph Conrad Collection from the Library of the late Stanley J. Seeger on 10 July marks a particularly resonant moment in my life and career.
Sometime in the autumn of 1988 (when I was working for Rick Gekoski, the book-dealer, prior to joining Sotheby’s) I picked up a copy of World of Interiors magazine in a doctor’s waiting room and read a feature on Mr. Seeger’s then house, Sutton Place in Surrey. Housing magnificent works of art by Picasso and Bacon, in one photograph there was a glimpse of Mr. Seeger’s collection of first editions.
Typhoon, the complete autograph draft manuscript. Estimate: £300,000–500,000.
Spurred on by this I wrote to him, beginning a relationship that saw him start buying all of the finest first editions, manuscripts and letters by Joseph Conrad which ever came to market. I watched this collection grow and evolve after I started at Sotheby’s in 1993, and have seen it develop into the greatest single author collection of its kind in the world. Now, over recent months, I have been reunited with some old friends (and some of my own 1980s invoices!) as we have carefully and lovingly catalogued the first batch of these superlative books – trying to echo, albeit in a lesser way, the attention devoted by Mr. Seeger in assembling it.