Hans Christian Andersen rare books and memorabilia

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2015-06-26 11:01:49

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Hans Christian Andersen rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet, Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875).

Brief History/biography

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen is a writer with whom, along with the Brothers Grimm, most of the world-renowned classic children’s stories and fairy tales originated. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages, been the basis for numerous adaptations, and were instrumental in shaping an understanding of what a children’s story essentially is. Some of his most famous fairy stories include The Snow Queen (1845), The Princess and the Pea (1835), The Ugly Duckling (1843), The Little Mermaid (1837),The Emperor’s New Clothes (1837), and Thumbelina (1835). His first publication of Fairy Tales (Eventyr) was in 1835, and more stories were added to the first volume for editions in 1836 and 1837. He also wrote novels, poetry, and travelogues. It was Charles Dickens who introduced Anderson to England, although they fell out after he once outstayed his welcome at the Dickens household.

Types of rare books and memorabilia

Books

Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Stories from Hans Andersen (1911), illustrated and signed by Edmund Dulac, sold for £7,000 in October 2005.
  • Fairy Tales (1924), illustrated and signed by Kay Nielsen, sold for £3,600 in November 2007.
  • Wonderful Stories for Children (1846), translated by Mary Howitt, first edition, sold for £3,500 in April 2006.
  • Fairy Tales (1916), illustrated and signed by Harry Clarke, sold for £3,200 in March 2010.
  • Fairy Tales (1932), illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham, sold for $2,600 in December 2009.

Bonhams

  • Fairy Tales (1924), illustrated and signed by Kay Nielsen, sold for £2,400 in June 2010.
  • Fairy Tales (1916), illustrated and signed by Harry Clarke, sold for £2,160 in September 2005.

Christie’s

  • Fairy Tales (1916), illustrated and signed by Harry Clarke, sold for $6,815 in November 2000.
  • Fairy Tales (1924), illustrated and signed by Kay Nielsen, sold for £2,032 in November 2004.

Sothebys

  • Fairy Tales (1924), illustrated and signed by Kay Nielsen, sold for £2,160 in March 2005.
  • En Landsbyhistorie (1855), original wraps, sold for $3,240 in April 2004.
  • Fairy Tales (1932), illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham, sold for £1,560 in December 2005.

Documents, Autographs, Letters, Photographs etc

Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Original cabinet portrait photograph of Andersen, signed by him, 1865. Sold for $2,200 in December 2007.

Bonhams

  • Handwritten letter signed by Andersen in English, 1858, sold for $4,270 in April 2011.
  • Letter written by Charles Dickens to introduce Hans Christian Andersen to Lord Robertson, and to Scotland, 1847. Sold for £2,880 in November 2007.
  • Handwritten letter signed by Andersen in English, describing his first meeting with Dickens. Sold for £1,673 in September 2004.
  • Photograph of Andersen, signed by him, and inscribed on the reverse, dated 1870. Sold for $1,920 in June 2008.

Christie’s

  • Handwritten quotation signed by Andersen with signed portrait photograph, sold for $8,625 in December 1998.

Guide for collectors

First editions of Andersen’s tales in the original Danish rarely come up for sale, but would be extremely valuable.

Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless works have been used as a vessel for various brilliant illustrators to add their drawings to over the years, such as Harry Clarke, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, and Kay Nielsen. These editions are very collectible for the illustrators and their use of Andersen’s classic tales.

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