Pride of place among early or otherwise significant publications featuring the work of Andy Warhol offered in a sale of March 30 went to a copy of 25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy.
The most important of his earlier works, printed by Seymour Berlin in 1954, it sold for $85,000 (£62,045) at Bonhams New York (27.5/25/20/14.5% buyer’s premium).
It features 18 watercolour finished lithographs, or 19 including that on the octavo work’s white cloth cover.
Stated to be one of 190 copies – though it has been suggested by some that only 150 copies were actually printed – the book is signed by Warhol on the colophon and accompanied by a letter in which he asks the purchaser, a department store in Salt Lake City, how it had come to hear of the book.
It seems that Warhol’s books from this period were more typically gifted to friends and clients, and this is one of a small number of examples that were actually sold.
The work includes the cats resident at the townhouse that he shared with his mother and the lithographs, it appears, were hand coloured by Warhol and his friends at “coloring parties… using Dr Martin’s aniline watercolor dyes”.
An inscription in this copy marks it as No 110 above Warhol’s signature and adds a note that the text is the work of Charles Lisanby.
Inscribed for DD Ryan, the fashion icon and editor of Harper’s Bazaar, another Warhol highlight, at $38,000 (£27,735), was a copy of Wild Raspberries of 1959.
This was a work, said the cataloguer, that paired Suzie Frankfurt’s absurd and witty recipes with Warhol’s amusing and mostly coloured litho illustrations to form one of the most unusual and brilliant cookbooks ever produced.
Something very different, sold at $20,000 (£14,600) was a complete set of Tegg’s Mariners Marvellous Magazine, or, Wonders of the Ocean…, little works originally issued in the years 1805-09, but here collected together in a special four-volume set.
Thomas Tegg (1776-1845) was a populist publisher of magazines and exciting real life stories, a man who had what Bonhams called a “Dickensian” and extremely varied career before entering the pamphlet market. That proved a very rewarding move and his business published around 2000 small pamphlets and chapbooks in the years 1805-36.
Due to their flimsy nature, the survival rate of these chapbooks is very low and although individual examples do occasionally surface in the book trade, the complete series has not appeared at auction for the last 50 years or more, said Bonhams.
In this compilation of accounts of shipwrecks, captivities and other maritime misfortunes, the majority involve losses of British vessels, many on overseas expeditions.