PBA Galleries

Pacific Book Auction Galleries was founded in 1992, changing its name to PBA Galleries in 2001. The auction house holds regular sales at its galleries in the Van Ness area of San Francisco.

Specialising in rare books and manuscripts, their sales often focus on a particular area of collecting such as cartography, exploration, children’s books and Americana. They also offer private library sales.


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The worldwise works of HG Wells

11 November 2019

Sold for a record $2750 (£2220) at PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) in California on October 10 was an inscribed copy of The World Set Free, a prophetic novel by HG Wells.

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Golf guide chips in for a sport surprise

04 November 2019

Golf books do not bring as many really high prices as was once the case, but the most recent of the regular sales in this category held by a Californian saleroom did contain a couple of surprises.

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William Nicholson’s 'Alphabet' in San Francisco sale

28 October 2019

With the title and 26 plates tipped onto brown paper leaves, a large ‘library edition’ copy of William Nicholson’s famous Alphabet, published by Heinemann in 1898, is estimated at $800-1200 in a November 7 sale at PBA Galleries of San Francisco.

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Buck’s 'The Good Earth' makes rare appearance in San Francisco

05 August 2019

Published in 1931, Pearl S Buck’s 'The Good Earth' was the best-selling novel in the US for both that and the following year, as well as the winner of a Pulitzer Prize.

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Colin Dexter's Quinn takes top spot

15 July 2019

A Colin Dexter first brought one of the higher bids at Keys (20% buyer’s premium) of Aylsham in its June 13-14 sale.

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Early Golf magazine sells a fair way above guides

17 June 2019

Early magazine runs brought some unexpectedly high prices in the latest of the regular golfing literature sales held by a Californian saleroom.

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21st century tastes: How the growing interest in the history of food and drink is influencing the market for early recipe books

21 May 2019

Old cookery books are more than simply receptacles of food history. They speak of technological change, the availability and discovery of ingredients that came with the expansion of the known world and how the social standing of the cook or chef changed over time. They are also very much in collecting vogue.

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Medley of tastes on offer in California

18 March 2019

A Californian sale of March 7 certainly offered great variety in age, content and price range. Promoted as A Biblio-Medley for All Tastes, it ran to well over 500 lots across its printed and supplementary, online catalogues – with at least one lot, a volume of the works of Arthur Hallam, sold for just $10.

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Philip K Dick references the Dane

19 November 2018

Two copies of Time Out of Joint, an early dystopian work by the well-known sci-fi writer Philip K Dick, were offered in a PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) sale of October 18.

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Golfosaurians and other course tales

12 November 2018

One of just 100 first edition copies of National Golf Links of America by Charles Blair MacDonald was the top lot in a recent US golf sale at $15,000 (£11,450).

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From Tolkas with ’Love to dearest Bobsie’

22 October 2018

The dust jacket is far from pristine, but this 1933 first of The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas is signed and inscribed by both its subject and her lifelong partner, the writer Gertrude Stein.

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War on the American frontier is the focus of San Francisco sale

17 September 2018

Accounts of wars and skirmishes in the southern states of North America and Mexico were one notable feature of an August 23 sale held in San Francisco.

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A ten shilling, ‘thick paper’ Federalist

18 June 2018

The Federalist…, a collection of essays first published in New York newspapers in the years immediately following independence, is today recognised as a seminal work on American political theory and a cornerstone of constitutional governance.

Golf book

First golf book tees off in the US

30 April 2018

Published in 1895, Wright & Dixon’s Guide to American Golf… was one of the very first books on the game to appear in that country. A copy sold on April 12 in San Francisco for $42,500 (£29,930) was billed as “perhaps the only copy extant”.

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Busman on a honeymoon

26 March 2018

'Busman’s Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions' was the 11th and last of the Dorothy L Sayers books featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.

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Plastic surgery fits the bill at auction

12 March 2018

A number of books on plastic surgery featured in a recent Californian sale including an 1833, first English edition of Johann F Dieffenbach’s Surgical Observations on the Restoration of the Nose.

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There’s gold in them thar hills…

12 February 2018

Published jointly by Kellogg & Comstock of New York and D Needham of Buffalo, c.1849-50, the rare and amusing hand coloured lithograph shown below is titled The Independent Gold Hunter on His Way to California: I Neither Borrow nor Lend.

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Fairy tales and Dr Seuss fascinate in the Big Apple

27 November 2017

Harry Clarke worked for three years on his first major book illustration commission, an edition of the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen commissioned by Harrap.

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Shelley signature competes with rare sci-fi and fantasy

30 October 2017

Science, fantasy and horror was the principal theme of a PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) sale of October 5, though there were also books to appeal to broader literary tastes.

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Hunting tales tracked down at auction

26 June 2017

Some of the more successful lots in a June 1 sale at PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) of the first portion of the Richard Beagle collection of angling and sporting books were scarce accounts of early hunting trips in the Yukon and Wyoming.

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