NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
New York Books and Manuscripts sales realize $9,690,563, across three auctions that took place on June 15, 2017, with an overall 75% sold by lot. The various owner sale totaled $6,894,875, setting the highest total ever for a single-session various-owners Books sale at Christies New York. The auctions witnessed active online participation, with top lots selling to online buyers including the record-setting Enigma Cipher Machine, which sold for $547,500, and there was global bidding with registrants across 22 countries.
Sven Becker, Head of Books and Manuscripts, comments, We are thrilled by the strong results achieved across these three sales and their broad range of subjects: from musical manuscripts with the highest price paid for Schubert at auction in over 20 years to scientific instruments, including the record price at auction for an Enigma machine. We saw strong participation across the usual virtual sale channels, but we were particularly happy to see a new generation of collectors represented in person in the room: a very young bidder, in his school uniform, underbid and purchased a number of rare historical items, including one relating to Lewis & Clarke. He was a diligent bidder and avoided being dragged into bidding wars.
Strong results were achieved for single owner collections, including the two dedicated auctions, The Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection, which totaled $1,463,063, with 81% sold by lot, and The Ornithological Library of Gerald Dorros, MD, which totaled $1,332,625, with 80% sold by lot, and The Eric C. Caren Collection, the single-owner selection of the various owner sale, with many lots greatly exceeding initial estimates, including The Star-Spangled Banner, Daily Federal Republic, 22 September 1814, which sold for $168,750, more than twenty times the low estimate.
The top lot of the three sales was a presentation copy of the first edition of Francisco Goya y Lucientes Los Caprichos, 1799, which realized $607,500. World auction records were set for A Four-Rotor Enigma Cipher Machine, 1944, which sold above the high estimate for $547,500 to an online bidder, and A Manuscript Document from the Salem Witch Trials containing the deposition of Mary Daniel, from The Eric C. Caren Collection, which sold for $137,500.
Other highlights from the day of sales included Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Autograph Music Manuscript for the Piano Sonata in A flat major, D.577, May 1817, from The Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection, which sold for $475,500, the highest price paid for Schubert at auction in over 20 years, A Working Apple-1 Personal Computer, Palo Alto, 1976, which sold for $355,500, John Gould (1804-1881), The Birds of Australia, from The Dorros Collection, which sold for $295,500, and John Hill (ca 1714-1775), The Vegetable System, which sold for $199,500.