Auction of the Week: Potter & Potter Fine Books and Manuscripts sale January 27
Our featured auction this week is the upcoming Fine Books and Manuscripts sale at Potter & Potter on January 27. Here are 10 of our favourite lots...
On The Road by Jack Kerouac First Edition
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
A sought-after first edition copy of On The Road, the seminal 1957 novel by Jack Kerouac which inspired the Beat Generation of writers, poets and musicians.
Kerouac based the novel on his time travelling across America with Neal Cassady, who he immortalized as the iconic character Dean Moriarty.
He later wrote the initial manuscript for the book over three weeks in 1951, using a single continuous 120ft scroll of paper to capture his stream of consciousness without interruption.
Six years and several revisions later the book was finally published by Viking Press to huge critical acclaim. Kerouac was hailed as one of the most important writers of his generation and became a national star almost overnight.
To this day On The Road is regarded as one of the most significant works in American literary history.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Personally Owned and Worn Suit
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
This heavy gray two-piece suit was the only formal outfit owned Lee Harvey Oswald, the notorious presidential assassin who murdered John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Oswald purchased it in Japan around 1957, whilst serving with the U.S marines in Yokahama, and later took it with him when he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959.
He was photographed wearing the suit on his wedding day in April 1961, when he married Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova, and he brought it with him when he returned to the U.S in 1962.
The suit was specifically mentioned in a report by the Warren Commission, which was set up to investigate Kennedy's assassination:
"Oswald owned one suit, of Russian make and purchase, poor fitting and of heavy fabric which, despite its unsuitability to the climates of Texas and Louisiana and his obvious discomfort, he wore on the few occasions that required dress."
The suit features a hand-sewn label bearing Oswald's name, and was originally acquired directly from his brother.
"Dewey Defeats Truman" Chicago Daily Tribune Full Front Page
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
This original front page from the Chicago Daily Tribune features one of the most infamous headlines in U.S publishing history.
On November 3, 1948 the newspaper jumped the gun in spectacular fashion and incorrectly called the presidential election in favor of New York governor Thomas Dewey.
When it became clear that the incumbent President Harry S. Truman had in fact won, in a startling political upset, the Tribune began to furiously recall copies of the edition.
A triumphant Truman was later photographed holding up a copy of the paper, smiling proudly as he told the assembled press "That ain't the way I heard it!"
It's believed that around 6,000 copies made their way on to the streets, and today they're highly popular with collectors of political memorabilia.
A Structural Relic Recovered from the Hindenburg Airship
Estimate: $900 - $1,200
This section of aluminum alloy struts was taken from the twisted wreckage of the Hindenburg airship, one of the most famous disasters in aviation history.
On May 6, 1937 the German airship arrived in New Jersey, having crossed the Atlantic from Frankfurt carrying 96 passengers and crew. As it attempted to dock with its mooring mast it burst into flames, crashing to the ground and killing 36 people.
The crash effectively marked the end of airship travel, as images of the disaster were broadcast around the world and public confidence in airships vanished almost overnight.
The relic originates from the personal collection of Navy Chief Petty Officer Frederick J. 'Bull' Tobin (1892—1978), one of the chief boatswains in charge of the Hindenburg's mooring lines.
When the airship burst into flames, most attending men fled the scene in fear - but Tobin famously ordered his men to "stand fast" and save as many lives as possible.
Today Tobin is remembered for his heroic actions by a memorial plaque at the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Museum, which bears his own simple words "We've got to get those people out of there!"
Typed Letter Signed, “J.D. Salinger,” to Mrs. Joan Benson
Estimate: $7,000 - $9,000
This typed letter bears the rare signature of J.D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author of the classic 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye.
Salinger wrote the letter in January 1957, in reply to one he received from Mrs. Joan Benson of Windsor, Vermont. It reads in part:
"I don't think I'm nearly so fragile as person as my work seems to make a few nice people think...but it's very gratifying indeed to be heartened, reinforced, when one least expects anything of the sort."
“As for your expressed hopes that my career didn’t end with the Roofbeam story, please be assured that I don’t think it did. I’m just finishing an extremely long, almost novel-length story—to do with the Glass family again—which will probably be published in about a year.”
Salinger was clearly touched by Benson's letter, and ends his reply "Please write again if you feel like it. But not very soon. I don't take calmly to the very few valuable letters I get."
Anheuser-Busch Brew’g Ass’n Export Beers Vintage Advertising Sign
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
This stunning vintage Anheuse-Busch advertising sign dates from the pre-Prohibition era, and features four early brands from the Missouri brewery against a backdrop which includes the Statue of Liberty.
The sign is a highly detailed color lithograph transferred onto glass, and is regarded within the breweriana hobby as an incredibly rare piece.
Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury First Edition
Estimate: $900 - $1,200
Here's a highly rare first edition copy of Dark Carnival, the first book ever published by Ray Bradbury, one of the most celebrated American authors of the 20th century.
Bradbury began his career in 1937 writing short stories for Imagination, a fanzine published by Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J. Ackerman.
His short stories were later collected into this debut book, printed in 1947 by Arkham House, the publishing company originally set up to preserve the work of iconic author H.P Lovecraft.
Bradbury went on to sell more than eight million books worldwide, and when he passed away in 2012 he was described as "the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream".
Around 3,000 copies of the book were printed, and it then remained out of print for more than 50 years before a limited edition reprint in 2001.
This copy retains its original dust jacket, and is signed and inscribed by the author: “For Clyde/with my friendliest good wishes/from Ray Bradbury/March, 1953”.
Robert Burns Signed Document, as Exciseman
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
This highly rare and historic document bears the signature of the Bard of Ayrshire himself, renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Burns began his writing career in 1786 with the publication of his first book of poetry. It was a modest success, but as he had failed to prosper as a farmer he sought a more stable form of employment in 1789 by training as an exciseman.
His job was to ensure people paid their taxes, particularly where they related to alcohol, although the role made him an unpopular figure with the locals in his area.
Burns combined his writing career with this new job, working his way up to the position of Excise Officer for Dumfries.
He went on to become one of the most revered cultural figures in Scottish history, and to this day his birthday on January 25 is celebrated across the country as Burns Night.
The partially printed document is dated March 1, 1793, and permits Robert Anderson to "receive one Cask of Foreign Rum". **
Famous Monsters of Filmland No. 1.
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Here's a rare high-grade copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the world's first monster movie magazine published in February 1958 by the legendary horror and sci-fi fan Forrest J Ackerman.
The magazine ran for 191 issues until 1983, and combined cornball humour with a remarkable archive of horror movie photographs, along with Ackerman's encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre.
Generations of writers and film-makers, including Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Landis and Peter Jackson, were inspired by the magazine during their childhood and have described it as one of their greatest influences.
This example is one of only a handful in existence with a CGC grade of 9.0 with off-white to white pages.
Presidential Pardon Signed by John F. Kennedy
Estimate: $7,000 - $9,000
This Presidential pardon issued by John F. Kennedy was signed by Kennedy on November 22, 1962 - exactly one year prior to the day of his assassination in Dallas.
The full and unconditional pardon was issued to Matthew J. Connelly, a former Appointments Secretary to President Harry S. Truman, who was convicted of tax fraud in 1956 and served six months in prison.
Due to the tragically brief nature of Kennedy's presidency, he issued just 472 pardons during his time in office – a relatively small number compared to many presidents before him.
This rare signed pardon originates from the estate of Matthew Connelly’s son Robert, and includes all documents relating to the case, such as Connelly’s completed copy of the Department of Justice Petition for Pardon.
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