Swann

Swann Auction Galleries in New York are an auction house that have been trading in rare and antiquarian books and works on paper since 1941.

The family-run business moved to new and larger premises in 1999, and now holds over 40 sales every year.


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Spanish text manuscript is emblematic of a high price

02 December 2019

Possibly dating from the late 16th or early 17th century, a Spanish text manuscript version of Andrea Alciato’s 1531 'Emblemata', the first and most frequently reprinted emblem book, sold for $9000 (£7030) at Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in New York.

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The railway that carried escaped slaves to freedom

18 November 2019

Sporting a distinctive hairstyle and beard that the cataloguer suggested “…would never again be replicated until early 21st-century Brooklyn”, the photograph below was part of a slavery and abolition-themed lot sold for $80,000 (£64,725) in an Americana sale held in New York by Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on September 25.

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Melville library in demand at Swann

04 November 2019

Two books from Herman Melville’s library, both volumes of classical poetry that were annotated throughout and in one instance signed, topped a recent New York sale.

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EH Shepard pictures Bertie

28 October 2019

Coming up for sale at Swann Galleries in New York on December 10 is an original, initialled ink and wash drawing by EH Shepard for a lesser-known work by Kenneth Grahame, Bertie’s Escapade, that was published by Lippincott in the US in 1949.

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Why graphic impact is the name of the game

23 September 2019

American Lance Wyman (b.1937) is regarded by many as one of the greatest graphic designers of the modern era and the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico – the first to be held in Latin America – gave him the ideal canvas to showcase his considerable talents.

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Yorkshire quartet in New York as Frank Meadow Sutcliffe photos offered at Swann

16 September 2019

Four works by the pioneering British photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853-1941) will feature in Swann Galleries’ sale of Photographs in New York on October 17.

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Thar she blows for auction record

12 August 2019

Published in 1851 by Richard Bentley as The Whale, the first English edition of Herman Melville’s tale preceded the American issue by four weeks.

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Olympic upheaval as posters reveal convoluted history of the wartime Games

22 July 2019

These two posters which will be offered for sale by Swann Auction Galleries in New York on August 7 illustrate the convoluted history of the Olympic Games during the Second World War era.

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Cosmographical delight and colossal crustaceans

22 July 2019

Top lot in a June 6 sale of maps, natural history and other colour plate books held in New York was a rare map by Lewis Evans of what were then still the ‘Middle British Colonies’ in America.

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Hirschfeld steps into the saleroom

08 July 2019

Works produced in the 1940s by Al Hirschfeld figured prominently among the higher priced lots at a June 4 Illustration Art sale held in New York.

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Pick of the week: Early draft of colonial American map impresses at New York auction

17 June 2019

A pre-press version of a key map of colonial America emerged for sale at Swann Auction Galleries in New York on June 6. Carrying an estimate of $30,000-50,000, it sold at $100,000/£76,900 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) – a sum that reflected its extraordinary provenance.

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Gaston Leroux’s 'The Phantom of the Opera' makes a very real result at Swann auction

10 June 2019

Sporting a torn and defective but rarely seen dust jacket, a 1911, first American printing of Gaston Leroux’s 'The Phantom of the Opera' sold for $10,000 (£7750) in a recent New York sale.

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New York auctions to celebrate the LGBTQ community and mark 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising

05 June 2019

As the Pride season begins this month with a series of events and parades in major cities to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Swann Auction Galleries are to hold auctions honouring the movement.

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New World music making at Swann's Americana sale

13 May 2019

Billed as the first music to be both composed and printed in the New World, Juan Navarro’s setting of '…Quatuor passions Christi' was one of several items of Mexican origin to do well in a recent Americana sale.

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Golf, Goldfinger and an early 007 classic sell at Swann New York

06 May 2019

Ian Fleming firsts in a Swann of New York sale of May 14 will include a copy of Goldfinger of 1959 inscribed to a famous golfer, Henry Cotton, estimated at $12,000-18,000 (£9250- 13,850).

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Guide to travel in the shocking age of segregation

19 April 2019

First published in 1936, The Negro Travellers’ Green Book was a once indispensable guide for African-Americans in the age of segregation.

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Set of Man Ray limited edition prints emerge at Swann auction

15 April 2019

'Electricité', pictured below, is one of a limited edition portfolio of 10 photogravures after Man Ray’s Rayographs from a 1931 commercial commission from the artist by the Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution d’Electricité.

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Early movers in the chess playing world

08 April 2019

Born in Celico, southern Italy and consequently known as ‘The Calabrian’, Gioachino Greco is considered the first professional chess player.

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Poignant guide for African American travellers that inspired Oscar winning film Green Book sells at auction

04 April 2019

The name of the film Green Book which won the Oscar for best picture in February was based on a motoring handbook aimed to guide African-American travellers away from hazardous areas in the pre-civil rights US.

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Princess Diana complains about ‘too much media attention’ in letter for sale at Swann Auction Galleries in New York

11 March 2019

Letters from Princess Diana written in the late 1980s and early 90s to a leading fashion magazine editor are coming to auction in New York.

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