The copy sold by Heritage (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale of September 15 was a really bright and clean example from the first impression run of just 500.
Hammered down at $65,000 (£48,505), it set the auction benchmark for a copy of JK Rowling’s first book. Indeed, it bettered even the record of £46,000 set at Sotheby’s last December for “an almost mint copy” that was additionally signed and inscribed by the author – “To Ella, one of my favourite names…”
TS Eliot family collection
The Dallas sale also included a 14-lot TS Eliot collection of books, typed letters and photographs with a family provenance.
These had been passed down to a great niece, Priscilla Stearns Talcott, who is described by the saleroom as “the last living relative to have a personal relationship with the author”.
Leading at $46,000 (£34,330) was one of four presentation copies printed on Japanese vellum of the 1919 Ovid Press first edition of Ara Vos Prec.
Inscribed for Eliot’s mother, Charlotte, it had the spelling of Vus for Vos corrected on the title-page.
In America, this collection of poems, with ‘Ode’ replaced by ‘Hysteria’ and another given a change of title, was published by Knopf in 1920 as just Poems.
In 2010 at Sotheby’s a copy of the US edition that Eliot inscribed for Virginia Woolf, who had earlier printed seven of the poems at the Hogarth Press, sold at £75,000.
Also inscribed for Eliot’s mother was a 1927 London first of his poem Journey of the Magi that, in the original black and yellow wrappers, sold for a record $12,500 (£9330).
Taken in the London studio of Carl Vandyk, two photo portraits of Eliot that he inscribed at Christmas 1930 for his sister Marian and niece Theodora sold at $16,500 (£12,315).
“ The TS Eliot lots had been passed down to a great niece, described as the last living relative to have a personal relationship with the author
Tarzan’s first swing
The sale included records for a couple of Tarzan lots and good results for other 20th century writers, among them Dashiell Hammett, Hemingway, Tolkien and Ian Fleming.
Copies of the 1914 first book edition have made more, but it was in the October 1912 edition of the All-Story magazine that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes made its first appearance. Bid to a record $23,000 (£17,165) was a copy of that key issue inscribed by the author to FJ Ackermann, a literary agent, editor and fellow science fiction writer.
A 1920 first in dust jacket of Tarzan the Untamed that Burroughs inscribed for his son, Hubert, also made a record sum at $7250 (£5410).
In bright orange cloth with paper spine label, one of just 40 copies of the 1922 subscriber’s issue of the Hogarth Press first of Virginia Woof ’s Jacob’s Room was sold at $15,000 (£11,195).
This was a copy that went initially to the American born writer and critic Logan Pearsall Smith, whose psychologist niece, Karin, married Virginia’s brother, Stephen.
Signed by the author, a 1926 first of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises made $28,000 (£20,895).
As expected, the most successful modern first in what was billed as the KoKo collection was the catalogue cover lot, a 1929 first of Dashiell Hammett’s first book, Red Harvest of 1929, which sold at $40,500 (£30,225). Other ‘KoKo’ Hammetts included The Dain Curse of the same year at $19,000 (£14,180) and The Maltese Falcon of 1930, at $17,000 (£12,685).
One of two 1937 firsts of The Hobbit in the Texas sale, the jacket skilfully restored, made $23,000 (£17,165) and the better of two 1953 firsts of the original James Bond novel, Casino Royale, sold at $21,000 (£15,670).