Top Lots: Fall 2012 Book Auctions

The last three months of 2012 saw several stellar book auctions at Swann. On October 11, a sale of Art, Press & Illustrated Books resulted in a record price for Gustav Klimt's only monograph, Das Werk von Gustav Klimt. Two weeks later, the October 23 auction of Aldine Imprints & Early Printed Books from the Library of Kenneth Rapoport became Swann's highest-grossing early printed books sale to date. The top lot, an Aldine edition of Claudius Galenus's Librorum pars prima[-quinta], Venice, 1525, brought $48,000.
Claudius Galenus, Librorum pars prima[-quinta], first edition in the original Greek, Venice, 1525.
Two items tied for top lot in Swann's November 20 auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature. An inscribed first edition of Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons1918, sold for an auction record of $16,800, as did Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, first edition, 1920. Other top lots in the sale were first editions of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 and John Steinbeck's first book, Cup of Gold, 1929. They brought $15,600 and $14,400, respectively.
Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, inscribed first edition, 1918.
Among Autographs offered November 29, a postcard from Pablo Picasso to conductor Henri Defossé took the top spot, selling for $27,600, an auction record for a postcard from Picasso. Signed "Olga et Picasso" and with a small drawing of a holiday feast, the card offered New Year's greetings in December, 1919.
Pablo Picasso, Autograph Postcard Signed "Olga et Picasso," Paris, 2 December 1919.
Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, Ephemera, auctioned December 6th, featured a collection relating to the early mapping of Japan and Asia, saw particularly strong prices for maps of China. However, the top lot of the sale was John Gould & Richard Bowdler Sharpe's Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands, volumes 2-5, first edition, London, 1875-88. The beautifully illustrated ornithological tomes brought $33,600.

John Gould & Richard Bowdler Sharpe, Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands,
vols 2-5, first edition, London, 1875-88.

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