Middle Earth and American history top Heritage rare book auction



2016-09-19 10:19:55

Tales from American history and Middle Earth were the biggest sellers at the recent Heritage Auctions rare books sale in Dallas.

"Our selection of rare Americana and Modern Literature were particularly strong in this auction," said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. "We saw intense bidding that pushed many first editions well beyond our expectations."

Leading the sale was a highly rare and important first edition copy of The Federalist, a collection of political essays by Founding Fathers James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, published in 1788.

Having played a vital role in the establishment of the U.S Constitution, the book is regarded as one of the most influential in American history, and soared past its estimate of $100,000 to sell for $175,000.

Another of the sale's leading lots was a first edition copy of Joseph Smith's The Book of Mormon, published in 1830, which sold for $100,000.

The copy was originally owned and annotated by Pomeroy Tucker, a friend of the Smith family and the foreman of the printing press, who later wrote a damning critique of the religion described as the "most influential anti-Mormon work in [its] period."

The most valuable fictional work on offer was a three-volume set of the first edition, first impression of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. All featuring their original dust jackets, the rare books sold together for $30,000.

There were also notable sales for a pair of rare first editions by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A presentation copy of the third Tarzan adventure, The Beasts of Tarzan, trebled its estimate to sell for $18,750, followed by a first edition, presentation copy of The Moon Maid, with an original drawing by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which sold for $12,500.

Further highlights from the sale included a first edition, first printing presentation volume of Alcoholics Anonymous, inscribed and signed by Bill Wilson, which sold for $17,500; a 1923 first edition of Ernest Hemingway's first book, Three Stories & Ten Poems, which fetched $15,625; and a copy of the first account of the historic Lewis and Clarke expedition, Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean, which realized $13,750.

In total the sale achieved $1.23 million, far beyond expectations, with an impressive sell-through rate of 97%.

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