DALLAS — A superb set of the four first edition Winnie The Pooh books, signed by the author, anchors a vast selection of first edition children’s literature, just one part of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Oct. 16-17 Signature® Rare Books Auction at the company’s uptown Dallas headquarters.
If you ask most any child – or adult for that matter – who said, “I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me,” you would scarcely have time to finish the question before the answer came exuberantly pouring out: Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh Bear, of course, the most famous bear in the world.
“There are few children’s books, if any, more universally beloved than A.A. Milne’s classic tale of a ‘silly old bear’ and his boy, Christopher Robin,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage Auctions. "To have a complete set of first editions in near fine dust jackets is rare enough, but to have them all signed by Milne himself makes them an irresistible delight for collectors." The set is estimated to bring between $25,000 and $35,000.
An almost equally famous line in children’s literature, “I am Eloise I am six” is part of an equally impressive highlight of the children’s literature trove in the October Heritage Rare Books Auction, the only known manuscript material for Kay Thompson’s classic Eloise.
The manuscript is part of an archive of early draft manuscripts and typescripts for Thompson’s celebrated children’s book, Eloise, (including the immortal first lines, "I am Eloise I am six") and also for its adaptation for a vocal performance by Thompson, and its adaptation for the song "Eloise" by Thompson and Robert Wells.
"Many of the drafts mention characters and incidents that do not appear in the book," said Gannon. "No other part of Thompson’s early manuscripts are known to survive minus this unique group of documents, which also comes with a wonderful association copy of the book inscribed by the author to Wells, from whom the collection originated, along with signed and inscribed copies of the other three Eloise titles."
The archive is expected to bring $30,000 and up.
Adding further heft to the grouping is a trio of the 20th century’s most loved books:
A first edition in wrappers of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, replete with a Rowling signature, continues Heritage’s run of superb first edition Potter books, and further cements the firm’s place as the premier auction vendor of first edition Harry Potter books. It’s estimated at $6,000-$10,000.
In the early part of the last century, L. Frank Baum’s Oz books were as popular as Rowling’s Harry Potter books are today. Across the decades comes a beautiful example of one of the rarest survivals from the World of Oz, a first edition copy of The Wizard of Oz Waddle Book, with the original waddles intact, making it an almost irresistible addition to any Oz-lover’s collection. It is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.
The most sought-after Arthur Rackham signed limited edition of J.M. Barrie’s 1906 illustrated classic Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens will have true collectors of illustrated children’s books and rare Peter Pan editions closely watching the progression of this impressive lot. It is number 308 of only 500 limited edition copies signed by Rackham on the limitation page. This lovely, rare illustrated book is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
"We’ve assembled a very special grouping of books that have tremendous meaning to millions of people across the years and the globe," said Joe Fay, Manager of Rare Books at Heritage. "To be able to present them all together in one auction makes this a wonderful and exciting event for us, and hopefully for some smart collectors."
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Hugh Lofting’s original hand-drawn title page for The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle: Used as the title page for the original edition of The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle, a highly detailed and perfectly preserved drawing. This was the first of the highly successful Dr. Dolittle series. Lofting created the character during his service in World War I after witnessing the horrors that war inflicted on local animals, most notably horses. Estimate: $6,000 and up.
Signed C.S. Lewis first edition Narnia novel, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Signed by C.S. Lewis on the title page, the third book published of The Chronicles of Narnia, and chronologically fifth in the series. First editions of the Narnia books are much sought-after, and rarely are signed copies encountered. True aficionados of Lewis’s Narnia books agree that the author most fully realized his vision for the books in this seminal story. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.
Limited edition Antoine de Saint-Exupéry-signed copy of The Little Prince, first edition in English: A rare chance to own a superb first English edition of this beloved book, number 389 of the limited 500 copy run. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000.
Two Dr. Seuss first edition Cat In The Hat books – The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back: In these two classic kids’ books about the very mischievous and hysterically funny cat who comes to play, the author created an icon and cemented his legacy. Very scarce. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.
Heritage Auction Galleries is the world’s third largest auction house, and by far the largest auctioneer of rare collectibles, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 450,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, visit www.HA.com.
Photos courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.