Two US auctions offered works from the magnificent private library of a legendary antiquarian book dealer and collector, the late William S Reese (1955-2018).
Held at Christie’s New York (26/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) on May 25-26, they ran to some 245 lots in all and were presented in now rarely seen but welcome hardback catalogue form.
A great many six-figure bids were recorded, topped at $1.7m (£1.35m) by one of only six recorded copies of the first broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence printed in Massachusetts. It was last seen at auction in 2010, when at Sotheby’s New York it sold for a premium-inclusive $572,500.
Ohio senator John Smith’s copy of the rare, privately printed 1785 first edition of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia sold at $240,000 (£190,780).
A selection of results is noted in the accompanying caption stories.
A third, online sale of some 150 lots from the Reese collections that ended on June 2 comprised for the most part much more modestly estimated material and was led by a true first of Brideshead Revisited.
One of the 50 copies in paper wrappers printed six months prior to the planned publication date and intended to be privately distributed among author Evelyn Waugh’s friends, this one was John Betjeman’s copy. It sold for a premium-inclusive $23,940 (£19,050).