Bonhams brings historical manuscripts, first editions of noted literature, early printed works, maps and Americana to auction on Oct. 15, 2008, the firm’s inaugural Fine Books & Manuscripts auction connecting its Bonhams salesroom in New York City with the Sunset Boulevard saleroom of Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles.
Expected to attract bibliophiles, institutions and collectors alike, bidders are expected to vie for the printed treasures on offer – including historically important correspondence, documents from David Crockett, material signed by former U.S. Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and property of American chess master Bobby Fischer, among others.
Highlighting the historical section of the Fall sale is a two-page letter of Texas hero David Crockett to statesman, lawyer, orator and advocate of American nationalism Daniel Webster regarding a pension for the Indian War hero Robert Henry Dyer who served as a Colonel of the Tennessee Mounted Gunman and fought the Creek Indians under the command of Andrew Jackson. Property of the noted Chicago collector Frank Zygmunt, the document is expected to fetch $30,000 to $50,000 in October.
According to Book Specialist Adam Stackhouse, “Autograph material of David Crockett is scarce. Letters penned by him are rarely found at auction, particularly lengthy letters from one famous Tennessee statesman to another. This is a rare piece of American history.”
Also on offer from the Collection of Mr. Zygmunt is a letter dated 1783 from Founding Father George Washington, written as General of the Continental Army, to George Clinton, the first Governor of New York State, regarding his thoughts on private property, developing markets and free trade (estimate $12,000-$18,000). A rare autograph album containing signatures of former President Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant (found on the same page), along with numerous members of the Lincoln Cabinet and select members of the Senate and Congress will be offered (estimate $7,000-$9,000).
Around the globe, the Fine Books & Manuscript department holds as many as 20 sales each year, offering the collectors market a wide range of subject matter, ranging from illuminated manuscripts to early printed books, atlases to travel literature, natural history to sporting books, bibles to modern first editions, celebrity culture and desirable material related to other more unusual areas.
Also on the block in October and expected to interest collectors is a selection of mid-1920s signed letters from famed magician Harry Houdini (estimates range from $700 to $2,000) and a “Tournament Notebook” from Bobby Fischer, arguably the most famous of all chess players in the world. The text includes a detailed record of moves played and his insightful notes on competitors from 1959 to the early 1960s (estimate $2,500-$3,500).
Simulcast for the first time between salesrooms in Los Angeles and New York City, the October Book & Manuscript sale’s illustrated online catalog is available at www.bonhams.com/us.
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