Heritage Rare Book & Manuscript Auction

Heritage Auction Galleries recently held an auction of rare books and manuscripts on April 16 and 17, 2007 in Dallas, Texas. The auction of 1,237 lots realized $2,333,045, though the final totals will probably be higher after the ongoing sales are completed.

“This was an exceptionally strong auction,” said Sandra Palomino, Manager of Rare Books & Manuscripts for Heritage. “There were so many strong prices realized across so many areas, it’s hard to know where to begin.”

“Of course, Presidential material was extremely strong,” said Palomino, “with a William Henry Harrison manuscript letter, signed the day after his inauguration, leading the pack. From the Forbes collection, this letter brought $127,000 in a 2002 Christie’s auction. We sold it for $167,300. Additionally, a superb autograph letter signed by George Washington, hailing from the Gary Grossman Collection, sold for $41,825, a typed letter signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower fetched $38,837, and a historically important autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson brought $26,290.”

“Historical material also evoked quite a bit of interest among our bidders,” Palomino said. “Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall’s important folio, History of the Indian Tribes of North America, published in three volumes between 1838 and 1844, sold for $89,625. A fascinating lot, an incredibly deep and complete archive of Louisiana’s Bernard family and their involvement in the slave trade in New Orleans and Bayou Teche, realized $77,675, and a related item, a ships manifest from 1833 documenting the transport of slaves from Alexandria, Virginia to Natchez, Mississippi, sold for $17,925. A pair of letters from Albert Einstein to physicist Jean Becquerel brought $33,460, while an autograph letter written and signed by Brigham Young brought $15,535.”

“We were pleased to present a number of fine books in this auction,” Palomino said, “including the collection of the late Betty Bennett, a renowned professor of literature and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, at American University, Washington D.C, as well as one of the world’s foremost experts on the works of Mary Shelley. Her 1818 first edition copy of Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, published in three volumes by the London publishing firm of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, the highlight of the collection, sold for $65,725.”

“Equally impressive was the Ventura Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy Books,” Palomino said, “an incredibly high-grade collection of many of the best and most sought-after titles in this fascinating field, assembled by a well-known and well-respected collector. A signed first edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, attractively bound in asbestos boards, sold for $15,535, while a beautiful inscribed copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird – admittedly not a science fiction or fantasy title, but an incredible and extremely desirable book nonetheless – brought $22,705.”

Heritage Auction has a Historical Documents & Autographs auction scheduled for June 9 and a Rare Books & Manuscripts auction on October 18 & 19, 2007 in Dallas, Texas. For more information visit their website at www.HA.com.

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