BEVERLY HILLS, CA.-
An incredibly rare copy of The Aitken Bible, 1782, the first Bible printed in English in America, provides the intriguing centerpiece for Heritage Auctions
' Sept. 12 Signature(r) Rare Books Auction at Heritage's Beverly Hills showroom, 9478 West Olympic Boulevard. The fascinating tome is expected to bring $40,000+.
"This is a first edition of the first complete Bible published in America and the only Bible ever authorized by Congress," said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. "When America was a British colony, we were forbidden to print the Bible. When we gained independence this was one of the very first books to come off American presses and it made as big a political statement as it did religious - it's simply an amazing volume."
Another important early American religious text is also expected to pique the interest of collectors: an 1830 first edition of The Book of Mormon, An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken From the Plates of Nephi, by Joseph Smith. The book, originally owned and consigned by the descendents of John Wesley Brackenbury, a stepson of Joseph Smith and an early member and eventual elder of the Mormon Church, is expected to bring more than $80,000. The edition comes with an intriguing array of 17 photographs of Brackenbury's family and of Mormon leaders Joseph Smith III and Alexander Hale Smith.
Other top Americana offerings include a first edition of Thomas Jefferson's famous work on his home state, Notes on the State of Virginia, London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1787, expected to bring $20,000+, while an extremely rare copy of Alexander Hamilton's Report of the Secretary of the Treasury to the House of Representatives Relative to a Provision for the Support of the Public Credit of the United States...Presented to the House on Thursday, the 14th Day of January 1790 is expected to bring $10,000+.
"This Hamilton text is not only one of the great state papers of early America, it's the first report on public credit ever in this country," said Gannon, "and still an amazingly relevant document to modern day America, considering the recent debt ceiling debate and the fact that Hamilton's legacy as America's first financial architect is the subject of much discussion in the press these days."
Heritage has increasingly become the go-to auction house for rare Children's Literature, and the Sept. 12 auction should further burnish that reputation. No auction house has presented more first editions of the Harry Potter books, and this auction will feature another rare copy of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, London: Bloomsbury, 1997, with a Rowling signed photo and transmittal autograph note signed on her own stationery, expected to bring $20,000+.
The Beverly Hills event will include a very rare first edition of H.A. Rey's Curious George, presented in its original dust jacket, making it even more exceptional, expected to be the subject of much collector buzz and to bring $15,000+. Also included will be the next installment of the Garth Williams Estate with the original painting and preliminary sketches for the dust jacket design of The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, 1960, signed in full by Garth Williams on the front. It is estimated at $2,000+.
Greats of world literature are well represented in the auction, led by a first edition of William Shakespeare's Poems Written by Wil. Shakespeare, printed in 1640 and expected to bring $20,000+, while a very rare Greek only copy of Aesop's Vita et Fabellae Aesopi...Gabriae Fabellae...Collectio Proverbiorum Tarrhaei &c. [Venice]: Aldus Manutius, 1505, is estimated at $7,500+. A first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922, one of 750 numbered copies on handmade paper (this copy being No. 540), out of a total edition of 1,000 copies, is expected to bring $10,000+.
Fans of American literature will also find much to celebrate in the auction, with a first edition of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940 - one of 15 author's copies with uncut edges inscribed and signed by Hemingway to his Havana neighbors, Popsie and Frankie Steinhart - expected to bring $20,000+, and a first edition, third printing of F. Scott Fitzgerald's ever-popular Tender is the Night, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934, inscribed by Fitzgerald on the front free endpaper "For Walter Bruington / from his friend / F Scott Fitzgerald / This story of a Europe / that is no more. / Sept 1940"estimated at $6,000+.
Important works from giant names of science constitute another important section of the auction, led by one of the most important science and philosophical texts ever published, a 1637 first edition of Rene Descartes' Discours de la Methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verite dans les sciences. Plus la Dioptrique. Les Meteores. Et la Geometrie, Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637 - marking the first appearance of the timeless maxim "I think, therefore, I am." - estimated at $60,000+.
A 1632 first edition of Galileo Galilei's Dialogo...Doue ne I congressi di Quattro giornate si discorre sopra I due Massimi Sistemi del Mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano..., Florence: Giovanni Batista Landini, Galileo's statement and defense of the Copernican system of heliocentrism, which resulted in his 1633 trial for heresy in Rome, is expected to bring $30,000+, while a first edition, first issue of Charles Darwin's The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Name, London: John Murray, 1877, inscribed by Darwin on the title page "From the Author with kind regards," and containing three signed letters from Darwin to his French translator, carries a pre-auction estimate of $3,000+.