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A 1903 first of Jack London’s 'The Call of the Wild', sold at $8500 (£6115) by Potter & Potter.

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A relatively short, single-page typed letter in which Albert Einstein, writing from Princeton in 1954, responds to a correspondent who had asked ‘What do you think about the nature of Communism and what are the best methods of combatting its influence?’ made $24,000 (£17,265) in a March 13 sale held by Potter & Potter (20% buyer’s premium).

Other highlights of the saleroom’s first dedicated book auction of the year included an 1852 first of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin at $7500 (£5395) and a 1903 first of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. The latter, billed as an exceptional copy in the scarce jacket, sold at $8500 (£6115).

One of just a dozen vellum copies of the 1905, Shakespeare Head edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets realised $10,000 (£7195) and an inscribed presentation first of Joseph Conrad’s Within the Tides of 1915 made $2800 (£2015).

On the move

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The frontispiece and title-page of The Conjuror Unmasked, sold for $5500 (£3955) at Potter & Potter.

A few days after conducting this sale, the Chicago auction house moved into much larger and more suitable premises and it was there, on April 24, in one of the magic sales for which Potter & Potter is best known, that The Conjuror Unmasked sold for $5500 (£3955).

Published in 1785, this was a rare first English language edition of Henri Decremps’ La Magie Blanche Dévoilée, a work first published in Paris the previous year.