Audubon’s Birds of America may fetch $20K as headliner of auction

LOS ANGELES — 2014 promises to be an exciting year for the discerning book collector as Bonhams brings to auction a tasteful selection of ornithology, photography, art, and literature in its Fine Books and Manuscripts auction on February 10, set to coincide with the annual California ABAA Bookfair in Pasadena.

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The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories. New York: V.G. Audubon/Roe Lockwood & Son, 1860.
Est. $15,000-20,000. (Photo courtesy Bonhams)

The sale opens with a strong selection of ornithological titles, including the Lockwood octavo edition of Audubon’s Birds of America (est. $15,000-20,000), John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trogonidae… ($16,000-18,000), Mathews’ The Birds of Australia and The Birds of Norfolk (est. $15,000-25,000) and Rothschild’s The Avifauna of Laysan and the Neighboring Islands (est. $15,000-25,000), one of the first and most important books on Hawaiian birds. This section, which all originates from the same source, also includes some handsome original artwork, including a Louis Agassiz Fuertes watercolor of Germain’s Peacock Pheasant and Pea Hen and Charles Robert Knight’s oil of three Lady Amherst’s Pheasants (each est. $4,000-6,000).

Bonhams is very pleased to offer as well a selection of vintage photographic images of China taken between 1910-1929 by John Zumbrun, an American businessman and the owner of the Camera Craft store in Peking, including a large and stunning panorama of Beijing (est. $20,000-30,000).

Some other sale highlights include an excellent copy of Foujita’s A Book of Cats (est. $60,000-80,000) and a very rare and fine copy of Hamilton and D’Hancarville’s Collection of Etruscan Greek and Roman Antiquities from the Cabinet of the Hon. W. Hamilton … (est. $75,000-100,000). This last title is almost unknown in the full four volumes, and certainly not in a contemporary binding.

The sale closes with small but interesting sections of Literature and Philosophy, including the first collaboration of Marx and Engels (est. $6,000-8,000) and a fine copy of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (est. $15,000-20,000), followed by some excellent examples of Western Americana, including George Bonnell’s Topographical Description of Texas (1840; est. $8,000-12,000) and Leonard Kip’s California Sketches…. (1850, est. $5,000-7,000), the former the first book on Texas and the latter an important account of Gold Rush-era California.

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Silver print photograph, 7 1/2 by 71 inches, titled “Birds Eye View of Peking,” and with attribution in the negative, [Beijing, 1910-1929], presale estimate $20,000-30,000. (Photo courtesy Bonhams)

Starting Thursday, Feb. 6 Bonhams will hold extended preview hours in Los Angeles to accommodate attendees of the book fair in Pasadena, opening 10-5 on Feb. 6 through Sunday the 9th. The sale will be held Monday the 10th at 10am, simulcast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

More detailed information of the auction is available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21612/

Two weeks after the Fine Books and Manuscripts auction, Bonhams will feature a large collection of Fine Press books and Books on Books in the February 24 Period Art & Design auction at Bonhams in San Francisco. Included are examples from legendary Bay Area presses Arion Press, Grabhorn Press and Allen Press, as well as other American and British presses including Barbarian Press, Bird & Bull Press, Doves Press, Essex House Press, Gehenna Press, Golden Cockerel Press, Gregynog Press, the Limited Editions Club, Pennyroyal Press and Trianon Press.

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