A logbook kept by Captain Robert A Lewis, co-pilot of the B29 Superfortress that dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, was sold at $440,000 (£371,000) by Heritage.

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That of the co-pilot, Captain Robert A Lewis, this US War Deptment issue notebook contains the only in-flight account of the ‘Little Boy’ mission that involved a 3000 mile round-trip flight from its base in the Mariana Islands.

Trained by Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, and at one point branded by him “a goddam fool, but also a goddam fine pilot”, Lewis had originally been named as the mission pilot, but changes were made as a result of their clashing personalities and a twist of fate.

“What the hell is that doing on my plane?” Lewis had yelled when he first spied the now famous name of ‘Enola Gay’ on the nose of ‘his’ bomber. Then, just days before the mission, and following a few of Lewis’ riskier training manoeuvres, Tibbets, who had named the plane for his much-loved mother, appointed himself as the commander and pilot of the mission.

Feeling unappreciated and annoyed with the situation, Lewis was said to have been quite excited when approached by a New York Times reporter and asked to help with the mission in another way – by keeping a logbook of the flight that would later be published by the newspaper.

Pricey Beethoven


Bid to $380,000 (£320,405) at Heritage was an autograph manuscript leaf for passages in what was to become the first movement of Beethoven’s famous ‘Emperor Concerto’.

Bid to $380,000 (£320,405) at the Heritage sale that ended on July 17 was one of the more expensive musical lots seen at auction in recent times: a working autograph manuscript leaf for the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in E-flat major, Op.73, more familiarly known as the ‘Emperor Concerto’.

Undated, but probably produced in Vienna in late 1808 or early 1809, this working manuscript is filled to both sides of the leaf with notations for various passages of what was to be his last completed piano concerto, some of which differ from what appeared in the finished work.

Sold at $280,000 (£236,085), one of the sale’s major literary lots, the manuscript of Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, first published in The Strand Magazine in 1893, was featured in ATG No 2557.

A later literary entry in the Heritage sale was an exceptionally well-preserved copy of the 1997 first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bid to $180,000 (£151,770), it would have set an auction record had not another first edition copy emerged at Bonhams (27.5/26/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) on June 22.

The spines of that one were slightly bumped, but it was one inscribed ”6-9-87 To Jenny and Lucy, with best wishes, JK Rowling” and it sold at £175,000.


British and Irish book auctions.