In the News

Sale of Karl Lagerfeld Original Fashion Drawings Attracts Intense Worldwide Bidding

West Palm Beach, FL - On April 18, runway action halted temporarily as fashionistas... read more

Waverly Rare Books to Conduct May 2 Judaica Auction

Falls Church, VA - Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, will... read more

A Record for Peruvian Photographer Martín Chambi at Swann Galleries

New York — Swann Galleries’ sale of Classic & Contemporary Photographs on Thursday, April... read more

Bond Abounds in Literature Auction at Swann on May 14

New York - Nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries, science-fiction and more form Swann Galleries’ 19th... read more

Two Hunter S. Thompson Letters to be Auctioned

Los Angeles - An pair of extraordinary letters by Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson... read more

Printed & Manuscript Americana Realizes $1 Million at Swann

New York - Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16... read more

Einstein Letter Defending his Jewish Heritage to be Auctioned

Los Angeles - A fascinating letter by Albert Einstein on the Jewish People’s rights... read more

"William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary" Opens May 4

Amherst, MA --The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art celebrates the golden anniversary... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Look Beyond Books

Cashing in on Beat Ephemera

Bank check for $100 from Jack Kerouac to himself

Courtesy of PBA Galleries.

Rumor and contention still swirl about the Kerouac estate, leading to a brisk trade in memorabilia related to the Beat poet and novelist. Kerouac, who died at age 47 in 1969, wrote this check to cash in 1959. Just two years earlier, On The Road had galvanized readers, earning praise as “a major novel” and thrusting Kerouac to celebrity status. But Kerouac’s fame was as overwhelming as it was sudden, and he struggled with alcoholism and ambiguity about his status as a Beat Generation figurehead. Other Kerouac-related auction lots have courted controversy over the years, such as a letter from Neal Cassady thought to have inspired a rewrite of Kerouac’s most famous novel. The two estates tussled over ownership, and the letter was withdrawn from auction in December 2014.

PBA Galleries, $480 / January 15, 2015

The Mystery of the Brass Plates

Pair of brass plates celebrating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes appeared in four of his novels and 56 stories. The storied detective has become a beloved pop culture icon, and this status is reflected in two brass plates sent to auction last fall. The plates are at the center of their own literary mystery—though possibly presented to Vincent Starrett, whose Studies in Sherlock Holmes was released in 1940, it is unclear what exactly they celebrate and why. The first plate references the “Baker Street Irregulars,” a literary society that named itself after fictitious characters in the Holmes books. The second plate is particularly intriguing: it is inscribed “Lambie & Barroman,” names shared by key witnesses in a 1909 murder case followed and even written about by Doyle.

Heritage Auctions, $7,187.50 each / October 8, 2014

Hot Jacket Art

“Burning Man” cover art illustration for Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 burned bright in literary consciousness when it was published in 1953. The classic novel, which follows a fireman tasked with burning books in a dystopian society, was released with a cover illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini, who created a man made of flame. Mugnaini was an Italian illustrator and animator who drew covers for many other Bradbury novels, including The Martian Chronicles. This item was Bradbury’s own and a worthy addition to any collection of his work.

Nate D. Sanders, $5,120 / September 25, 2014

Courtesy of Leslie Hindman.

Our Mutual Friend

Plaster bust of Charles Dickens

When this bust was cast and inscribed in 1869, Charles Dickens was the most significant literary figure in the world. Dickens had become prominent 30 years earlier with The Pickwick Papers and went on to become famous for his gripping serial fiction, his commentary on the social conditions of Victorian England, and his profitable public readings. This bust, which was cast by Sumner & Co., was likely designed during Dickens’ series of “farewell readings”—a tour that was cut short by his declining health and his death in 1870.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, $1,250 / November 5, 2014

They Gave a Damn

Final shooting script for Gone With the Wind

Courtesy of Profiles in History.

Of Gone With the Wind collectors, there are many. Anything related to the book or the movie will draw a crowd. When the film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War saga premiered in 1939, it was hailed as one of the best films of all time. But its road to the big screen was rocky indeed, involving multiple screenwriters, three directors, and a worldwide search for an actress worthy of playing fiery Scarlett O’Hara. Producer David O. Selznick made history when his film premiered to over 300,000 fans in Atlanta and won ten Academy Awards. Though the actual authorship of the screenplay is hotly contested, that didn’t stop Selznick from binding the final shooting script and presenting it to numerous members of his cast and crew. This one is inscribed to MGM studio publicist William R. Ferguson.

Profiles in History, $24,600 / October 20, 2014

This Ad Contains Multitudes

Broadside advertising Walt Whitman’s books

Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Walt Whitman may have been a bohemian, but the acclaimed poet also knew how to sell books. Known as America’s “first great poet,” he scandalized early audiences with his frank and earthy depictions of sexuality in books like Leaves of Grass. In 1872, he designed a large advertising placard he called a “show bill” to promote his books in bookstores. The poet’s popularity fuels a strong market in first editions ($305,000 is the current auction record for his work), and for those buyers, this broadside is breathtaking bonus material.

Sotheby’s, $43,750 / December 2, 2014

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