Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts closed out 2015 with a general sale that brought our year-end total to just under $20 million at auction. Led by Pieter Holsteyn the younger's Aves Ad Vivum Depictae a Petro Holysten Celeberrimo Picture. [Amsterdam, ca. 1638], from the A. Alfred Taubman collection at $850,000 (est. $300,000 - $500,000), the sale achieved a strong sale total of $2.3 million. A Highly Important Archive of A Streetcar Named Desire followed at $406,000, while an Origin of Species Presentation Copy sold for $298,000, well above its high estimate of $200,000.
Details: Fine Books and Manuscripts including Americana on 14 December features significant lots in every collecting category. Leading the sale is the earliest of three letters that Abraham Lincoln wrote to his first fiancée, Mary S. Owens. This is the only one of the three in private hands and one of the earliest obtainable Lincoln letters on any subject. (Est: $500,000 - 700,000).
Important literature, both English and American, includes Tennessee Williams’ heavily edited manuscript for his masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire (Est: $300,000 - 500,000) a fine collection of Joseph Conrad’s works with important association copies, Walt Whitman’s personal copy of Robert Burns poetry (Est: $50,000-70,000) and a rare Dylan Thomas working poetical draft. (Est: $50,000 - 70,000)
A fine example of David Roberts Holy Land in parts and in its original shipping cases will interest travel and color plate collectors (Est: $100,000 - 150,000), while those who collect original illustration should be charmed by an original Bemelmans oil painting from his Madeleine series. (Est: $10,000 - 15,000)
For those armchair adventurers among our clients, a flying helmet and goggles worn by Amelia Earhart (Est: $3,000 - 5,000) should prove irresistible and for the those interested in landmarks in the world of science, a fine presentation copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species (Est: $150,000 - 200,00)rounds out an eclectic sale.