Fine Books and Manuscripts
Online Auction: 2–16 July 2021 • 1:00 PM EDT • New York

Fine Books and Manuscripts 2–16 July 2021 • 1:00 PM EDT • New York

Sotheby’s is pleased to invite participation in New York’s July sale, “Fine Books and Manuscripts.” The sale brings together rare and unique property across a range of subjects, including literature, cartography, and historical manuscripts.

Maps, Atlases, and Exploration: Lots 1-47

Are you looking to be transported to another land as you sit in the comfort of your air-conditioned living room? Perhaps one of our maps, atlases, or narratives of exploration, can offer direction. In this sale we are delighted to feature a range of property that illuminates the progression of cartography from 1493 to 1866. Beginning with Schedel’s "Secunda etas mundi" (or map of the world), printed in Nuremberg in 1493, and ending with the ship’s log of the HMS Achilles and the HMS Constance (at sea 1882-1884), with originals watercolors and maps.

Americana: Lots 48-94

If your sights are set on the 4th of July, you might want to consider a 1776 broadside—largely authored by John Adams—in which the Massachusetts House of Representatives formally severs its ties with Parliament. Or perhaps a rare autograph transcription of Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, lavishly illuminated. We are also pleased to highlight here the 1754 edition of Mark Catesby’s landmark The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands…, which is arguably the most famous colorplate book of American plant and animal life.

Literature: Lots 95-183

In need of a good read for a long-awaited vacation? You may find inspiration in our remarkable selection of literature and poetry, including a first edition of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.”), in its original jacket; a first edition of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (“And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free.”), which once belonged to Scofield Thayer, the legendary editor of The Dial; and property from the estate of the Filipino poet, critic, and academic, José García Villa, who counted e.e. cummings and Patricia Highsmith as close friends, as evidenced by the latter’s warm inscription in Strangers on a Train: “Dear José, I really wish I lived in your house entirely – with love…Pat”. We are also delighted to offer a range of fine letters by such literary giants as Joseph Conrad, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, and others. One by Lord Byron even offers insight into the poet’s curious banking and culinary habits.

General Interest: Lots 184-217

From baseballs to Bobby Fisher, we have a range of property sure to speak to anyone’s interests. We are pleased to offer Samuel Charters’ typescript printing proof for The Country Blues, with his annotations; a group of autograph letters signed from Claude Monet to Paul Durand-Ruel; Arabella Elizabeth Roupell’s Specimens of the Flora of South Africa By a Lady (1849), a rare work with large-scale images of the exuberant flora of the Cape of Good Hope; and many other unique books, manuscripts, and letters.

Whatever you may be searching for, a highlights exhibition will be open for viewing from Monday, 12 July, through Thursday, 15 July, 10am-5PM. Private views are available upon request.

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