That duo impressing at the Heritage (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) auction on June 9-10 were a single leaf from the Gutenberg Bible of the 1450s and a Boston newspaper announcement of America’s Declaration of Independence.
The latter, bid to $140,000 (£100,000), appeared in an issue of The New-England Chronicle published just 14 days after that historic, July 1776 decision of the Continental Congress.
The leaf from a paper copy of Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible was one of those ‘Noble Fragments’ removed from an imperfect copy by bookseller Gabriel Wells and issued in a 1921 ‘leaf’ book with an accompanying essay by A Edward Newton.
It had been estimated at just $30,000 but at $130,000 (£92,855) would seem to have set a record for one of those single leaves – and by some distance.
Sold at $42,000 (£30,000) was The Oath of a Freeman, a now famous forgery by Mark Hoffman, who as a convicted murderer has spent the last 34 years in a Utah prison. It was previewed in News Digest, ATG No 2495.
Hemingway in advance
Inscribed and signed for a friend, one of just 15 advance copies of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls of 1940 sold for $44,000 (£31,430).
In beige cloth as issued, it was a gift to Richard Watts. Like Hemingway, he had served as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and in his later career achieved fame as a drama critic for both The New York Herald Tribune and The New York Post.
Sold for a record $50,000 (£35,715) was a copy of the October 1912 issue of The All-Story magazine in which, over some 131pp, Tarzan made his first appearance in print.
Another 18 months passed before that inspired creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs could be had in book form and launch a staggeringly successful and rewarding cinematic, comic strip and merchandising industry.
On the cover is seen Clinton Pettee’s illustration of Tarzan overpowering a lion, but this copy, like other survivors from that original 15c publication, was printed on poor quality paper, and has a number of shortcomings.
It had, however, seen some expert restoration in the past and overall was reckoned by Heritage to be “…in very good condition for this notoriously fragile piece”.