Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale in Boston

Skinner, will host its annual auction of Fine Books and Manuscripts on November 15th in its Boston gallery, located at 63 Park Plaza.

Isaac-Newton-The auction will offer first editions, botanical illustrations, maps and important documents. Among the most interesting aspects of the auction is a varied offering of materials surrounding the Renaissance and the Reformation, representing more than 30 lots, as well as significant scientific papers from the masterminds of the 18th and 19th century. In short, auction #2483 can be summarized as offering documentation by the greatest thinkers in religion and science.

Renaissance & Reformation Material
The majority of ecclesiastic material comes from two separate collections, both formed by Boston area physicians. The auction’s offerings represent the turbulence of the time, when lust, greed, selling of indulgences and excesses of the papacy led to the skepticism in the church. Featured is an extremely rare and important autograph letter from Martin Luther (lot 131, est. $15/25,000). The letter, from 1581, had been lost for 215 years and recounts the lack of support Luther encounters with the Reformation movement in Nuremberg.

Also of note is a papal document from Leo X pardoning a murder (lot 164, est. $4/6,000); a manuscript signed by Ferdinand V and Isabella I (lot 61, est. $3/4,000) concerning the disposition of the Royal gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; and an autograph letter by John Galvin – a pay order presented to the General Treasurer to pay Calvin as first minister of Geneva (lot 18, est. $6/8,000).

Scientific Papers
Worthy scientific papers include an autograph note signed by Carl Linnaeus (lot 128, est. $4/6,000), founder of the Linnaeus classification of botany; a bound booklet by Anthony von Leeuwenhoek (lot 414, $3/5,000), the inventor of the microscope; a signed letter by Albert Einstein on behalf of his relation Ursula Einstein, likely for emigration purposes (lot 60, est. $1,5/2,000); a signature and dedicatory sentiment from Marie Curie to celebrated French mathematician Paul Appell (lot 38, est. $7/900); and an autograph manuscript discussing ancient European history by Sir Isaac Newton (lot 151, est. $10/15,000)

Also featured are several Charles Darwin documents, gaining interest due to the recent passing of the 200th anniversary of his birth. Included in the Darwin offerings are a signed letter to Sir William Boyd Dawkins concerning animal remains found in local caves (lot 45, est. $4/6,000); a letter, likely to Jabez Hogg, answering a question regarding arsenic use in medicine (lot 46, est. $2/3,000); and another letter to an unknown recipient concerning the arrival of some specimens (lot 44, est. $2,5/3,500).

Literary Offerings
The auction’s literary gems include a leaf from a manuscript draft of Henry David Thoreau’s “A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers” (lot 187, est. $4/6,000); first editions of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms (lot 366, est. $4,5/5,500) and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (lot 365, est. $1,2/1,800); and a copy of a book owned by Nathaniel Hawthorne as a young boy attending Bowdoin College in Maine (lot 363, est. $2/3,000). The book is signed and stamped “Hathorne”, the author’s given name at birth. Hawthorne supposedly later changed the spelling of his name to “Hawthorne” upon learning that his great, great grandfather was a Salem witch trial judge.

Political Correspondences
In contrast to his public persona comes a heart-felt condolence letter from Karl Marx, with wife Jenny, to good friend Thomas Allsop, regarding the death of Allsop’s wife (lot 139, est. $12/14,000). Also up for bid is a letter from David Hume and Jean Jacques Rousseau to the Secretary of State’s office concerning failure of the government to adequately care for a group of important letters (lot 96, est. $10/15,000) and Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (lot 397A, est. $20/30,000), his only full-length book. Presidential material, including several Lincoln letters, will be offered, as will documents from important Revolutionary War and Civil War heroes.

Audubon Prints and Other Highlights
Other featured items of interest include the catalog’s cover lot, a John James Audubon Carolina Parrot, plate 26 from The Birds of America (lot 575, est. $25/35,000); and a signed and annotated receipt from William Hogarth (lot 93, est. $8/1,200), father of modern caricature art and famous for his print series Marriage a la Mode. One historically important yet chilling artifact is a City of Boston License granted to the infamous Cocoanut Grove Nightclub to be a Common Victualler (lot 14, est. $1,5/2,000), charred from the fire that took the lives of 492 people when a devastating fire broke out in the popular nightclub on November 28th 1942. While the incident remains one of Boston’s greatest tragedies, its impact on fire safety laws was profound.

Auction Previews
Auction previews for the auction will be held by appointment only on Thursday, November 12th from 12-5 p.m., and on Friday, November 13th from 12-5 p.m., Saturday, November 14th from 12-5 p.m., and on Saturday, November 15th from 9-11 a.m.

Catalog Information
Illustrated catalogue #2483 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240. It is also available at the gallery for $32. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sales. For more information on the auctions, auction preview times, and the gallery walk, visit Skinner’s website at Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.

Skinner-Live! Online Bidding on Skinner’s Website
Skinner’s website now features real-time online bidding via the SkinnerLive! bid applet. Visit and click on the blue Skinner Live Bidding button for full instructions prior to the auction. The blue Skinner Live Bidding button can be found under the Buy/Sell tab on our homepage and on the American Furniture & Decorative Arts department page. Once pre-registered on our website, you can join in the live bidding as soon as the auction begins. All lots in the auction are also available for viewing at The website provides full-color thumbnail images and full lot descriptions. It allows users to leave bids online, and view prices realized in real-time during and after the auction. Visit to sign up for our free eZine of upcoming arts & antiques auctions and events.

About Skinner
Skinner, Inc. is one of the world’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Bolton, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site

Image: Lot No. 151: Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727), Autograph manuscript with separate signature on a signed ledger slip, 1718], approximately eighty lines of text, in Latin, discussing ancient European history, framed with portrait, (some burn through, else fine). Estimate:$10,000-15,000