That highest result on September 30, at a low-estimate bid of $140,000 (£108,525), came for an 1855 first of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
In the familiar first issue binding and including the separately printed copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wellknown letter to Whitman (“I greet you at the beginning of a great career”) and four promotional articles written by Whitman himself, this was one of a small group of copies that he prepared for the English market – and probably one of the earlier copies from the initial print run.
Estimated at just $5000-8000 but sold for $44,500 (£34,495) was a 1958, first American edition of Lolita that Vladimir Nabokov inscribed on publication day for Jason Epstein, a Doubleday editor and early supporter – adding one of his now famous butterfly pictures.
Four US publishers had refused to publish Lolita but when Putnam decided to do so it became the first novel since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks.
Inscribed examples of both the 1955 Paris first and this 1958 first US edition are equally scarce said Doyle, due to Nabokov’s usual refusal to sign copies.
The saleroom also noted that in a letter that accompanied a signed copy of the 1958 US edition for Anita Loos, his wife Vera had once explained “…he has been autographing Lolita only for personal friends and the very few writers whose work he admires.
“He has refused his autograph to so many of his own students and to so many of his acquaintances that it would be impossible for him to make an exception…”
Sold at $19,000 (£14,730) was the typed manuscript, bearing extensive autograph corrections, of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Miracle of Puran Bhagat’, a tale that made three magazine appearances before finding its way into the Second Jungle Book of 1895.
This and the Walt Whitman lot were both part of a library formed in the 1930s-40s by Duncan Cranford, as were examples of two of the famous AA Milne and EH Shepard books.
One of 20 doubly signed, large paper copies on Japan vellum of the 1927 first of Now We Are Six sold at $12,500 (£9690) and bid to $11,000 (£8525) was a 1924 trade first of When We Were Very Young. The latter was a copy that Milne warmly and gratefully inscribed for Curtis Brown, the man who as his literary agent for much of his life had saved him so much trouble, and whose agency still represents the Milne estate.