6 lots to watch at upcoming auctions

What do a first edition of J.D. Salinger’s literary legend “The Catcher in the Rye,” a gelatin silver photograph of violins, and a 19th-century walking stick with a hidden device have in common? They are a few of the many lots to watch at upcoming auctions through Heritage Auctions.

Here are six lots from upcoming auctions that caught my attention.

Exciting Photo Finish

Violins photo

All photos courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.ha.com.

Rounding out the month of February, Heritage Auction will bring 172 lots of photographs before bidders on Feb. 28. Of the lots is an enchanting gelatin silver photograph by American photographer Arnold Newman. The photo is of a group of violins, taken in Pennsylvania in 1941. It contains a signature of the artist and the edition ‘20/99,’ appearing in ink on recto.

Another an item in the Feb. 28 auction to capture my attention is this rather haunting orotone. It is an exceptional item for many reasons, including the fact that orotone photographs ruin easily because of their inherent fragility. The orotone process of producing a photograph from negative involves printing it on a glass plate that is coated with a silver gelatin emulsion. The next step in the process is what adds the golden hue present in orotone photos. During the development process the glass plate is covered with oil containing pigment gold in color. One of the first photography artists to use the orotone process is Edward Sheriff Curtis, the very man who created the photograph shown here. The photo is titled “Homeward,” and dates to 1898.

Lively Literature 

Looking ahead to the March 7 Rare Books Signature Auction, a first edition, tenth printing, presentation copy of “The Catcher in the Rye,” inscribed by author J.D. Salinger is among the lots expected to prompt bidding battles.

The inscription states: “Dec. 24, 1951/ To Susan Bishop – /with best wishes,/J.D. Salinger.” The book dates to 1951, and while it has become a classic of American literature, that wasn’t always the case, and in fact, it almost didn’t come to fruition. However, Salinger took an unconventional, albeit successful approach to garner interest from a skeptical press. Shortly after finishing the novel and before its initial rejection by the first publishing firm Salinger worked with,

Transforming an Opinion

Salinger went to the home of the legendary New York Times Fiction Editor William Maxwell, and he read “Catcher in the Rye” out loud to the editor. He quickly became a fan. Interestingly enough, before completing the book, Salinger submitted his short story “The Boy in the People Shooting Hat” to The New Yorker, but the magazine turned it down. That same short story became chapters three through seven in “The Catcher in the Rye,” according to an article by Mental Floss.


Another book poised to command attention is a limited edition on a hand-made paper first edition of A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh.” This copy is one of 350 copies, bearing number 233. It includes the signature of the author and the illustrator. Published by Methuen & Co. of London, it dates to 1926.

New Advent of a Classic Tale

Word on the street is Disney is slated to release the film “Christopher Robin” in August of 2018. In the story, viewers encounter a now grown Christopher Robin who becomes reacquainted with his childhood chum, Winnie-the-Pooh, and good things ensue. Since that film isn’t quite ready, I thought I’d share this clip from the original 1977 film “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”….

More Than Meets the Eye

Among the lots in the March 10-11 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction catalog, I spotted an intriguing item in this English Ebonized Wood Numismatist’s Walking Stick, from the late 19th century.

At first, it seems like an average, everyday walking stick. That is until the holder pushes a button and the top of the handle lifts. Inside the hidden compartment is a miniature weight mechanism and space to store coins. The brass scale rises out of the chamber and can be used to weigh coins. So darn cool.

It is incredibly difficult to select just six lots to feature, but that’s what makes this weekly blog post so much fun. The last item is a pair of Spanish Baroque-style carved wooden putti figures. These chubby child figures were common within examples of religious and mythical fine and decorative art. This is especially true with Baroque and Renaissance period art.. The Italian putto pictured here, along with its mate, dates to the 18th century.

For more information, visit www.ha.com.

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