The first 73 featured the work of Ernest Hemingway. Top lot, at $25,000 (£19,840), was a 1926 first of The Torrents of Spring (right) with a very distinguished provenance.
A first printing and still in its dust jacket, it was signed and inscribed for Hemingway’s friend and family doctor Don Carlos Coffey, who amassed the first major collection of his books and manuscripts.
Tucked into this copy is an undated letter to Dr Guffey in which Hemingway tells him of the $500 advance he had received from the publisher, Scribner’s, and how five years later his royalties statement showed that he still owed them $9.
He also tells Guffey that when he declined Ernest Walsh’s request that the book be serialised in The Quarter because of that magazine’s very irregular ‘quarterly’ appearances, Walsh “…attacked it in the New Masses as The Cheapest Book I Ever Read — well, well, well, well, well”.
First sold in 1959 in a Parke-Bernet sale of the recipient’s library, it resurfaced in 1977 to sell for $4250 in what was by then Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet. In 2004 it made $20,000 as part of the Maurice F Neville library in the same rooms.