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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

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Hot Ticket

Ticket to a Mozart concert, £27,500 ($45,100) at Sotheby’s London on June 8.

One of only four known copies of a ticket to a Mozart concert. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

A ticket to the only public concert that Schubert ever gave, sold for £25,000 ($38,915) at Sotheby’s in December last was featured in the January issue, and this summer, the same saleroom came up with a ticket granting admission to a concert given by Mozart in Vienna.

Four of these little tickets, each with Mozart’s own validating stamp in the corner, are recorded, but to which concert they allowed entry is a matter of conjecture. It seems most likely that such tickets would have been printed in reasonably large numbers for use over more than one concert season. The best that can be said is that it dates from the years 1781-91.

Of the four known survivors, two are in institutional collections in Vienna and Salzburg, a third was sold by Sotheby’s in 1991 to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna for £4,370 (then $6,425), and this fourth example is now with a European collector.

Comforting the Duchesse

Jean de la Fontaine, Fables… £21,250 ($34,850) at Sotheby’s on June 8.

A portrait of the Duchesse de Berry. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

This was a sale that included some fifty lots of finely bound books from the library of Marie Caroline, Duchesse de Berry (1798-1870), a French aristocrat who saw her husband, Charles Ferdinand, heir apparent to the French throne, murdered in 1820, just a few years after their marriage, and spent much of her life trying, unsuccessfully, to secure the crown for their son. Her life was in fact marked by exile, and she died at Brunsee, her castle in Austria—but she could at least take some comfort from her beautifully bound books.

The Duchesse’s 1787 Paris edition of Fontaine’s Fables bears her gilt arms on the bindings. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Many of the lots were large author sets or other multiples, like the collection of forty-seven volumes of works by Honoré de Balzac that in their half calf bindings and bearing the Brunsee book labels, sold at a ten times estimate £32,500 ($53,300).

This six-volume,1787 Paris edition of la Fontaine’s Fables was published in Paris by Didot l’ainé with two hundred and seventy-five engraved plates after Vivier was bound by Bozerian le jeune in the early nineteenth century. The Duchesse’s gilt arms appear on the covers.

Into the Sunset with Pooh and Piglet

E. H. Shepard, drawings for Winnie-the-Pooh, $194,0000 and $103,700 at Bonhams New York on June 22.

Shepard’s sketch of Pooh and Piglet walking home into the sunset after Pooh’s party. Courtesy of Bonhams.

“Pooh and Piglet walked home thoughtfully together in the golden evening, and for a long time they were silent.” This drawing for the 1926 first edition of Winnie-the-Pooh was the pick of five Shepard drawings in a special twentieth-century illustration art sale.

Another Winnie-the Pooh lot, “Pooh’s Party,” in which Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, and Owl are seen gathered around Pooh, urging him to open his present from Christopher Robin, sold at $103,700, but the complete suite of four illustrations of Eeyore for “The Tail is Lost,” valued at $60,000-80,000 failed to sell. That is a shame—but just what the doleful Eeyore would have expected in the circumstances.

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