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Christie's announces highlights from its spring sales of Books & Manuscripts
Benincasa, Grazioso (c.1400-1482). Portolan Atlas, signed and dated. Illuminated manuscript on vellum. Venice, 1468. $1,200,000-1,800,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces the spring various owner sale of Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana encompassing over 200 lots of autograph manuscripts, cartography, literature, illustrated books and historical artifacts. The sale will take place on June 14, 2018 at Christie’s New York, immediately following the dedicated sale of the exceptional “Duke of Portland” complete first folio edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) (estimate: $8,000,000–12,000,000).

Fittingly, the first section of the various owners’ auction is led by the first edition of Audubon’s folio Quadrupeds of North America, 1845-46-48, an homage to the American frontier, and the most ambitious of all color-plate books to be wholly produced in the United States (estimate: $200,000–300,000), followed by a choice selection of further works illustrating American animals and landscape by Alexander Wilson, Karl Bodmer, Henry Warre and others.

Highlighting travel and cartography and also the top lot of the sale is a fine Portolan Atlas by Grazioso Benincasa (c.1400-1482), Venice, 1468 (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000), an outstanding work by one of the finest pre-Columbian cartographers. It presents the earliest known separate map of the island of Ireland and is a rare witness to the late 15th-century race to the Indies, charting the Golden Age of Exploration. Other highlights from this section include Willem Blaeu (1571-1683) and Joan Blaeu (1596-1673), Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive atlas novus, 1640-45, a handsome world atlas from the golden age of Dutch cartography (estimate: $80,000-120,000); and a Silver Terrestrial Globe after Johann Oterschaden (fl. 1600-1603), a rare, beautifully engraved, miniature silver globe from the early 17th century (estimate: $50,000-80,000).

Leading Americana is an extremely rare copy of the W.J. Stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, one of only six known proof copies on paper, 4 July 1823, commissioned by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (estimate: $200,000-300,000). Other highlights include The "Bible of the Revolution," a first edition of the first complete Bible in English printed in America (estimate: $55,000-80,000); and a selection of autograph manuscripts and letters by Thomas Paine (1737-1809), George Washington (1732-1799), Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Additionally, featured is a selection of correspondence from the Wright Brothers and Lindbergh Papers of Aviation Journalist, Earl Findley, split across multiple lots.

Other sale highlights include the first issue of Shakespeare’s Second Folio, which contains Milton’s first appearance in print—a tall and fresh copy in an early binding (estimate: $150,000-200,000); and an autograph manuscript by Charles Darwin (1809-1992) from his radical treatise on human evolution (estimate: $70,000-90,000).

Closing the sale are emblems of milestones in 20th-century history, featuring the first Olympic Gold Medal awarded for Basketball, to George Louis Redlein (1885-1968), St. Louis, 1904 (estimate: $100,000-200,000); Paul McCartney's 1970 affidavit initiating his lawsuit to break up the Beatles, with John Lennon's handwritten annotations throughout (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and an autograph manuscript by John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), referred to as a “demonstration draft” of his inaugural address (estimate: $50,000-75,000).

On the same day, the Books & Manuscripts department will also present one of the most sought-after books of natural history ever created: the exceptional “Duke of Portland” complete first folio-edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) (estimate: $8,000,000–12,000,000).

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