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6 captivating lots from a unique book collection

Hundreds of signed, first edition literary works are coming to auction Jan. 24 through Everything But the House. It's the book collection of a late publisher, philanthropist.

The opportunity to bid on seldom-seen first edition and signed classics is a treat. However, when the books are from the collection of a late publisher and philanthropist, the winning bidders are also acquiring items associated with a life that according to various accounts was steeped in generosity. That is certainly not a bad legacy with which to be connected.

Unique Selections Headlining Book Collection

The book collection, which features signed works by Henry Ford, Sarah Bernhardt, Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, and Katherine Hepburn, is being auctioned online by Everything But the House (EBTH) at 8 p.m. Eastern time, Jan. 24. The sale features 429 lots, a mixture of single items and groupings, with the majority antique, vintage, and contemporary works of literature, along with railroadiana memorabilia also present. As is normal practice, EBTH begins bidding at $1.

Here are just six of the many captivating lots in this auction.

Mark Twain books

All photos courtesy of Everything But the House (EBTH)

This set of 35 hardcover books represents the ‘definitive edition’ of the “Writings of Mark Twain,” which was published in 1920. The front flyleaf contains this message from the publisher “This fly-leaf was signed by Mark Twain in 1906 in anticipation of the present definitive edition of his works,” and the signature of ‘Mark Twain’ and ‘S.L. Clemens.’ As of 2 p.m., Jan. 21, the current bid on this lot is $2,457.

Memoirs of an Automotive Pioneer

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Bound in burgundy leather, this signed first edition of the Henry Ford memoir “Today and Tomorrow,” dates to 1926, and bears Mr. Ford’s signature on the title page. The current bid is $358.

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Group lots, like this one featuring 15 antique and vintage children’s books, are featured throughout the auction catalog and an occasion for the winning bidder to start a book collection with a single bid. Among the books in this grouping is “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll, the “Story of Rin-Tin-Tin,” and a signed copy of “The Snow Goose,” by Paul Gallico.

Offers for Adolescents and from Actresses

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Best known for her performances on the stage and early screen films, French actress Sarah Bernhardt authored this book with illustrator and painter Georges Clairin in 1878. The signed first edition is a hardcover clothbound book. As of the afternoon of Jan. 21, the current bid was $210.

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Author James Johnson Sweeney authored this cloth bound hardcover book about the life and work of artist Marc Chagall, in conjunction with a 1946 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The book examines the paintings and prints completed by Chagall between 1908 and 1945, and includes three poems and two essays. It is a signed first edition copy.

View of the Fair

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Last, but certainly not least, is this 1893 Chicago World’s Fair pictorial album. Also known as the Columbian Exposition, the book features a variety of the attractions of the World’s Fair.and lists the cost to construct each. For example, Machinery Hall at the Fair cost $1.2 million, and the Woman’s Building cost $138,000 and the architect was Sophia G. Hayden.

View more lots from this collection, up for auction Jan. 24 through Everything But the House.

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