1790 Census to Highlight Bi-Coastal Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction in October

  • LOS ANGELES , California
  • /
  • September 21, 2010

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Estimated at $15,000-25,000 is a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Beauttiful and the Damned." It is signed "Sincerely, F. Scott Fitzgerald" on the front free endpaper. The first edition, first printing of his second novel, in first state dust-jacket.

On October 4th, the attention of collectors will be focused on Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale.  Simulcast to New York, the Los Angeles based sale is comprised of fine and rare first edition books, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera. Bonhams is proud to be the only auction house to offer bicoastal previews to our Books & Manuscripts clients. 

Highlighting the sale will be the first edition of the first United States census, which was conducted in 1790 under the direction of Thomas Jefferson (est. $80,000-120,000). One of the rare copies signed by Jefferson on the final page, the volume has descended through the family of Gideon Granger, Postmaster General during Jefferson's administration, and is believed to be his copy.  It was evidently used by a high-level government official as it contains annotations and calculations of rates at which the marshals who collected data were to be paid.

Another unusual piece within the sale is a lot of five Levi Strauss & Co lithographic trade cards from the 1890s, a rare example of early advertising ephemera for the iconic company.  The cards feature depictions of 19th century denim jeans, jackets, and overalls (est. $2,000-3,000). 

In this sale we are also offering a section of Historical Photographs, which includes subject-driven images, both single photographs and albums, relating to travel and industry around the world.  Present are early images of New York City; views of the Paris Exposition of 1889, which was the first to introduce the Eiffel Tower; an impressive archive of images and manuscripts relating to a Montana cattle farm in the early 1900s; aviation and military images as well as photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (est. $4,000-6,000).

Also of interest is a copy of Braun and Hogenberg's 1575-93 atlas, Civitates orbis terrarum, the comprehensive city atlas designed as a companion piece to Ortelius' Theatrum orbis terrarum, and includes plans and nearly 300 views of cities in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Eurasia (est. $20,000-30,000). 

Another cartographic high point is John Melish's Map of the United States with the Contiguous British and Spanish Possessions (1816). Praised by Thomas Jefferson for its "luminous view of the comparative possessions of different powers in our America," copies of this wall map were used by the U.S. Government to settle boundary disputes with Spain, Mexico and the Republic of Texas (est. 50,000-70,000).

A strong literature section will also highlight the fall sale.  Featured works include two fine Mark Twain letters, one to his editor arguing that he should not give up publishing in the Galaxy Magazine, and the other agreeing to give the famous "Babies" speech at a banquet honoring U.S. Grant, as well as, several modern first editions including: Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; William Faulkner's Mosquitoes; Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises; Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; James Joyce's Finnegans Wake; and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird as well as a 1922, first edition, first printing of F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. Printed by Charles Scribner's Sons, the present copy is signed "Sincerely, F. Scott Fitzgerald" (by the author himself). This exceptional lot is estimated at $15,000-25,000.

In the Art & Illustration section, Bonhams will be offering several fine examples of 20th century illustration art, including works by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Maurice Sendak, as well as an original 4-panel daily strip of Charles Schulz's Peanuts featuring Charlie Brown on the pitcher's mound tumbled by a line drive with shoes, socks, hat, and glove flung in all directions. This excellent example of Schulz's iconic work is expected to bring $10,000-15,000.

Perhaps the most curious piece in the sale is a single page printed and typed report detailing a blood test taken from Mohandas Gandhi ten days before his assassination, indicating that, although he is generally healthy, his white blood cell count is high (est. $5,000-7,000).

Additional lots of interest include bar trays signed by Porgy and Bess creators George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, and Edwin Dubose Heyward (est. $3,000-5,000) and several Albert Einstein pieces, including a signed photo, a signed pen-and-ink portrait, and an annotated typed letter agreeing to write a preface for a 1934 book on microbes, along with a signed copy of the preface itself (estimates range between $2,000-7,000). 

New York Preview: September 23-25, 2010

Los Angeles Preview: October 1-3, 2010

Auction: October 4, 2010, Los Angeles, simulcast to New York


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