Heritage Historical Auction News: Our Strongest Rare Book Auction to Date & More

Bid: Heritage Auctions Historical April 5-6 Rare Books and Manuscripts AuctionBidding is open and lively for the strongest rare book auction Heritage has offered to date, Auction #6155. A broad and diverse group of fine, collectible books in fields ranging from Science Fiction and Fantasy to Western Americana will cross the auction block on Wednesday April 6th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

The auction is anchored, or should I say seated, in the chair used by J.K. Rowling while writing the first two books (Lot 45297) in her phenomenal series featuring Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived! The cover lot of the auction catalog, the “Harry Potter Chair” – nicknamed “Chair-y Potter” on Today.com – is already receiving substantial news coverage world-wide, and is expected to generate interest with institutional, private and corporate bidders. Are you watching, Jeff Bezos? Any muggles who happen to be in New York City can walk by the Heritage Office at 445 Park Ave. (at 57th Street) and see the J.K. Rowling chair in its revolving display! The chair will be on exhibition at Heritage’s Window on Park Avenue through the auction date on April 6th, with just a few breaks to appear on television!

Science Fiction Auction

The Science Fiction and Fantasy portion of the auction was assembled by Lloyd W. Currey, who has brought together a large offering of classic titles in excellent collectible condition. From a stellar copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (Lot 45002) to Donald Wondrei’s copy of the first Arkham House book, Lovecraft’s The Outsider (Lot 45113), a collection of stories collected and edited by August Derleth and Wandrei himself. And from Franklin V. Spellman’s large collection of Lord Dunsany (Lot 45064) to Bradbury collector and friend Bob O’Malley’s excellent set of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series (Lot 45103), inscribed in the first volume by King and illustrator Michael Whelan. Many excellent copies of Bradbury works with personal inscriptions to Bob O’Malley are also present here, such as Dark Carnival (Lot 45014), Fahrenheit 451 (Lot 45016), The Martian Chronicles (Lot 45021) and The October Country (Lot 45024). For lovers of H.P. Lovecraft, there are many lots of special interest, aside from the outstanding copy of The Outsider mentioned earlier: One being ten autograph letters signed totaling forty-six pages in Lovecraft’s hand (Lot 45111) and another is an original typescript for The Festival (Lot 45112) one of the first Cthulhu Mythos stories. Additional standouts include excellent copies of titles by Edward “Doc” Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, and Frank Herbert among many others, so please look through the auction to see if there are any treasures for your collection.

For the first time, we are presenting a stand-alone section labeled “Film”, that pulls together scripts, source stories and “books into film”; some examples are Maxwell Anderson’s Darkling I Listen (Lot 45175), the first version of Vertigo that was commissioned by Alfred Hitchcock; as well as the source text in Boileau-Narcejac’sd’Entre les Morts (Lot 45177). Also offered are several other scripts of important Hitchcock titles including Rear Window (Lot 45186), To Catch a Thief (Lot 45188), and Psycho (Lot 45185). Many other great lots round out this section, from movies by Sam Peckinpah, Otto Preminger, Rod Serling and Michael Wilson, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Western Americana titles

We are proud to offer a fantastic private collection of Western Americana titles that has a strong focus on Colorado. The highlights are too numerous to mention all of them but include A Journal of Sibley’s Indian Expedition of 1863 (Lot 45453); Pat Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid (Lot 45463) with a clipped Garrett signature; Overton Johnson and William H. Winter’s Route Across the Rocky Mountains (Lot 45481); Zebulon Pike’s An Account of a Voyage Up the Mississippi River…in 1805 and 1806 (Lot 45508); and an excellent copy of Alfred E. Mathews Pencil Sketches of Colorado (Lot 45491).

An superb group of Sherlock Holmes titles from Arthur Conan Doyle comprise lots 45216 through 45220; including a complete run of the stories in the original wrappered issues of Strand Magazine (Lot 45218) and the first impression in book form of A Study in Scarlet (Lot 45220).

Titles from the collection of California collector and bibliophile Melba Berry Bennett include several John Steinbeck classics found in lots 45264-45269. Her collection also contributes Mark Twain’s annotated copy of Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (Lot 45272) and an interesting manuscript review by Bret Harte featuring four autograph letters from Victor Hugo (Lot 45238).

Fifteen First Editions from the Royal Historian of Oz

Astute collector Donald Carter adds great selections to our auction, with many purchased from the sales of the renowned collections of Richard Manney and Donald Drapkin. These include a set of L. Frank Baum’s Oz Books (Lot 45283); an attractive copy of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn with a tipped-in inscription from the author (Lot 45271); a superb set of Captain James Cook’s three great voyages, complete with the atlas volume (Lot 45415); and Cole Porter’s personal address book (Lot 45319).

Illustrated with Ninety Beautiful Photogravures

There are so many special lots of interest, but a few favorites include a unique hand-made manuscript book by Margaret Atwood titled Paper Boat (Lot 45203) that was made as part of an initiative by Solutionaries, a climate change education project for young people; An exceptional collection of Edward Ruscha books from the collection of his friend and fellow artist, Joe Cleary (Lot 45314); an inscribed copy of Hemingway’s The Green Hills of Africa (Lot 45236); Doris Ulmann and Julia Peterkin’s majestic Roll Jordan Roll in the deluxe signed limited edition and featuring stunning photographs by Ulmann (Lot 45326); a wonderful group of five Curious George titles, each with an original drawing of George and inscribed by H.A. Rey (Lot 45296); and finally, a wonderful group of books from the collection from photographer Pat York and actor Michael York, including William Cowper’sAnatomia Corporum Humanorum (Lot 45379) featuring fantastic large anatomical engravings; a copy of the Bremmer Press Vesalius (Lot 45388) with most engravings printed from the original Sixteenth-Century blocks (since destroyed in World War II); a finely-bound set of C.S. Lewis The Narnia Chronicles (Lot 45288); and a signed limited copy of Pablo Picasso’s Carmen (Lot 45312) signed by the artist.

Please enjoy reviewing the auction and bidding, and let us know if you have particular questions about any of the lots. If you can’t join us in New York for the live auction, our patented bidding platform, Heritage Live!, is the next best thing to being there.

Heritage’s New York Auction on April 6th to Feature Special Genre Collection

Heritage Auctions is pleased to announce a special Rare Books Auction #6155, to be held in New York City on April 6, 2016, featuring over 350 lots of fine and rare nineteenth and twentieth century science fiction and fantasy books.

The auction includes many of the most sought after collectibles in this popular genre. Carefully curated by Heritage’s popular fiction specialist Lloyd Currey, the sale will offer books rivaling or exceeding the superb quality and condition of our very successful September 2011 auction of The Jerry Weist Collection. It features the major books by Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, M. R. James, Ursula K. Le Guin, H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, E. E. Smith, Kurt Vonnegut, John Wyndham, Roger Zelazny, and many others.

The History of Civilization

Seminal books issued by the genre’s early small press publishers are well represented, from Dawn of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum (1936) and The Outsider and Others by H. P. Lovecraft (1939) through the 1950s, the golden age of SF&F small press publishing, a period that generated (gave rise to) many notable publications, the most iconic arguably being the six-volume The History of Civilization by E. E. Smith (1955). The auction includes important books published by Arkham House, Gnome Press, and the other major specialty publishers, as well as books from the leading mainstream publishers of the era, including many of the scarce hardbound titles published by Ballantine Books in the 1950s.

Author’s first books and first books of fiction are abundant, including those by Robert Aickman, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Baxter, Robert Bloch, Ben Bova, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, Lord Dunsany, Philip José Farmer, William Hope Hodgson, Fritz Leiber, A. Merritt, Larry Niven, Anne Rice, Eric Frank Russell, Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. van Vogt, Kurt Vonnegut, Stanley G. Weinbaum, H. G. Wells, Roger Zelazny, and others

Alfred Bester

Many of the books have won prestigious genre awards, starting with The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (1953), winner of the first Hugo Award for best novel, and progressing through award winners published in the early twenty-first century.

Filmed books are also well represented, including those that were the basis or inspiration for iconic films of the 1950s like The Thing from another World, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and This Island Earth, through seminal modern films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and many others.

A strong selection of horror and supernatural fiction includes major collections of short fiction from the 1890s through the 1950s, including rarely offered books by E. F. Benson, A. M. Burrage, William Hope Hodgson, Oliver Onions, M. P. Shiel, and others, as well as classic collections of short fiction like The King in Yellow, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, and The Outsider and Others. Significant fantasy and horror novels include Psycho by Robert Bloch, The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Among the many noteworthy items offered in the auction are:

Sea Kissed by Robert Bloch, a first printing of the author’s first book, an unauthorized forty-page booklet collecting four short stories first published in Weird Tales (one in collaboration with Henry Kuttner), which was published in England in February 1945, a few months before The Opener of the Way, his first book published in America.

A signed contract between Edgar Rice Burroughs and A. C. McClurg and Company for Tarzan and the Ant Men1924, signed by Burroughs and others.

A unique copy Again, Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison, the major original SF anthology of the 1970s, with a 2-page “Idea for a story” handwritten by Ellison on the verso of the front free endpaper and the recto of the credits leaf. In addition, Ellison has annotated the title page as follows: “Save this story idea / for the new book / Harlan Ellison / 3 Jan 79“, and written a full page of ruminations on writing on the dedication page.

Thea von Harbou

Metropolis by Thea von Harbou, the 1926 first edition in dust jacket of this anti-utopia set in a gigantic mechanized city in the year 2000. It was the basis for the brilliant film by Fritz Lang, an adaptation with a mythic scale that would not be challenged, “The Shape of Things to Come” aside, for decades to come.

A rare 1880 3-volume first edition of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s The Purcell Papers, a posthumously published collection of twelve early stories by one of the most important and innovative figures in the development of the ghost story.

A typewritten manuscript of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Festival,” a circulating carbon copy, undated, but circa late 1933, of a short story first published in Weird Tales in January 1925, titled and signed by Lovecraft on a cover sheet accompanying the 10-page typescript of the story.

A stunning like new copy of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others, from the estate of Donald Wandrei, cofounder (with August Derleth) of Arkham House, the book’s publisher.

A rare paperbound advance copy of The Moon Pool, A. Merritt’s first book, with the Joseph Clement Coll frontispiece illustration reproduced on the front cover.

Oliver Onions’s own copy of the first printing of Widdershins, a landmark book in the history of supernatural fiction, with his signature and address at the top edge of the front free endpaper, below which he has inscribed the book to Percy H. Muir (1894-1979), a prominent twentieth-century antiquarian bookseller, book collector, and bibliographer.

Clark Ashton Smith

A first edition of Clark Ashton Smith’s The Dark Chateau and Other Poems with a signed inscription by Smith to friend and fellow writer E. Hoffmann Price.

Out of Space and Time by Clark Ashton Smith, a contemporary presentation copy of the first edition with signed inscription by Smith to Samuel Loveman on the front free endpaper

A 12-line Autograph Letter written by Bram Stoker to Charles E. Potts, on Tour 1887 — 1888 Lyceum Company letterhead, thanking him for sending pictures and clippings and in return, sending Potts a copy of his lecture on America.

Bram Stoker

The 1902 Doubleday, Page first printing of Bram Stoker’s The Mystery of the Sea, a presentation copy with signed inscription by Stoker dated 22 March 1902, a week before the book’s official publication date.

Theodore Sturgeon’s It, a single story printed in advance of his first book, Without Sorcery, a collection of his short fiction in which “It” would appear. About fifty copies of the story were printed on proofing paper and distributed at the 1948 World Science Fiction Convention to promote the book.

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, an advance copy of the first edition, one of an estimated twenty-five to thirty copies bound using the dust jacket as a wrapper and sent to reviewers prior to publication.

Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn of the Flame and Other Stories, the author’s posthumously published first book, one of the five copies with the uncredited introduction by Raymond A. Palmer, which was suppressed by Weinbaum’s widow who considered it to be “too personal.”

Plus spectacular copies of major genre high spots: Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451and The Martian Chronicles, Card’s Ender’s Game, Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy, Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and The Man in the High Castle, Heinlein’s Double Star and Stranger In A Strange Land, Herbert’s Dune, Huxley’s Brave New World, Le Guin’s A Wizard Of Earthsea, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones Sequence, Niven’s Ringworld, Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Peake’sGormenghast Sequence, Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five, Or The Children’s Crusade, Wells’s The Time Machine andWar Of The Worlds, Zelazny’s Lord of Light and Nine Princes in Amber, and many others.

This is an auction no genre enthusiast should miss.

Stanley Kubrick: An Original Voice in Adapting Literature

As with Shakespeare’s plays, most movies are adaptations of a good story previously told in the written word. The Rare Books Signature Auction #6155 on April 6, 2016, features plenty of books that have been shaped into memorable feature films, as well as screenplays for films such as Hitchcock’s Psycho and To Catch a Thief. Also represented is Stanley Kubrick, including a signed typed letter asking to look at a moon model that hints at his pre-production plan for his film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and first editions of books likeThe Shining and A Clockwork Orange which served as the source material for his works. Unlike his predecessor Hitchcock, Kubrick’s approach to the psychological drama was one that involved an exploration of genre and just a pinch of dark comedy.

Kubrick’s career was able to transform into that of an auteur upon being hired by Kirk Douglas to direct the Hollywood epic Spartacus. The two had previously worked together on Paths of Glory, and Douglas had just fired original director Anthony Mann from the project- Douglas had the rights and was both producer and star, and he was not satisfied with Mann’s vision at all. Kubrick suddenly found himself managing a cast over 10,000 actors, arguing over the script with Douglas, and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work without the creative control he wanted. However, despite its on-set troubles and the disintegration of Kubrick and Douglas’s partnership, Spartacus was a critical and commercial darling, garnering six Academy Award nominations. Not bad for a 31-year-old film director.

Two Hours to Doom

With his mainstream success, Kubrick took the opportunity to jump into satire and black comedy, starting with Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita starring James Mason and Peters Sellers. Impressed with Sellers, Kubrick hired him to play three different characters in his next project Dr. Strangelove, inspired by both Peter George’s novel Two Hours to Doom (also known as Red Alert in the United States) and the Cold War. Both films attracted controversy for their themes, but Kubrick responded to the critiques: “A satirist is someone who has a very skeptical view of human nature, but who still has the optimism to make some sort of joke out of it. However brutal that joke might be.”

2001: A Space Odyssey.

Never one to be pigeon-holed, though, Kubrick experimented with science fiction in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Having enjoyed author Arthur C. Clarke’s previous work, Kubrick suggested they work together on expanding his short story “The Sentinel” into a longer narrative. They collaborated on a script while Clarke wrote the novel version. After an extensive research period which included a trip to NASA, filming on 2001: A Space Odyssey commenced in 1965 and final edits were made only days before the movie’s release in 1968. Of course, this was to be expected—Kubrick was not only a visionary but a perfectionist, often insisting on as many as thirty to forty takes while filming his actors. Unfortunately, much like the film itself, the audience reaction was a slow burn that had mixed reviews regarding the pacing. The special effects, on the other hand, earned an Academy Award for Kubrick.

A Clockwork Orange

After wrapping 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick was on the lookout for a project he could film quickly and cheaply. His wife, Christiane, stated in an interview that she gave him a novel she had just finished reading: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The same book had been previously given to him by writer Terry Southern during their time working on Dr. Strangelove, but Kubrick had put it aside at the time to focus on other projects. However, when one’s wife tells her husband to read a book, the husband would be wise to read that book. And this time around, he was taken with it. Shot on location in London and starring Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orangewas released in theatres with an X-rating for violence and sexual brutality. While a success in the United States, copycat murders in the United Kingdom as well as personal death threats led Kubrick to pulling the film from theatres and preventing its re-release until the event of his death in 1999. Despite the controversy and the movie’s rating, A Clockwork Orange received four Academy Award nominations including Best Film and Best Director.

The Shining

Kubrick continued to explore other storytelling avenues, starting withBarry Lyndon, a period film based on William Makepeace Thackeray’s book, and then taking on horror with an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. It starred Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, receiving commercial success more so than critical. Even author Stephen King had his opinions, appreciating the imagery but saying that it was “a poor adaptation.” However, compared to the lackluster box office success of Barry Lyndonin the United States, The Shining‘s box office receipts were considered a win on Kubrick’s behalf.

The final films of his career – Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut – had release dates separated by twelve years, and just a few days after completing editing on Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick passed away on March 7, 1999, shy of his 71st birthday. As with most art, appreciation for his work grows more and more as time continues on. His film adaptations are featured on countless film lists, from the American Film Institute’s various “Top 100…” lists to the Time‘s article “Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies.”

Not bad for a 45 year career. Not bad at all.

If you’re interested in the books that inspired the imagination of modern legend, visit the April 6th Rare Books Auction #6155 – New York. There you will find first editions of Lolita, Two Hours to Doom, A Clockwork Orange,The Shining, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well Stanley Kubrick’s typed letter signed mentioned previously. And don’t forget to peruse our other pieces of film memorabilia or the hundreds of books featured in our floor and non-floor sessions that have impacted our culture.