New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts on December 14 in New York, which encompasses over 400 lots including notable letters and manuscripts, cartography, literature, and volumes on science.
Featured collections include early botanical books belonging to the noted book collector Cornelius J. Hauck (1893-1967), an important collection of major 19th century American authors, including Melville, Poe, Whitman and Hawthorne, formed by Mrs. J. Insley Blair of Far Hills, New Jersey, and a devoted section of books on architecture & perspective, as well as American maps and views, including Currier & Ives.
Leading the sale is a first edition and publisher’s copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000), bound in inlaid contemporary English red morocco for presentation from the publisher Samuel Smith bearing his presentation book label.
Notable highlights include nine lots of correspondence between François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788), French general and philosopher, to the founding fathers of the United States—featuring six letters by George Washington (1731-1799) and three by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)—held by descendants of Chastellux.
Washington, George (1732-1799). Autograph letter signed (“Go: Washington”), Mount Vernon, 25 April, 1 May 1788, to François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, congratulating the Marquis on his marriage, musing on the end of all war while awaiting news on the ratification of the constitution: “Should it be adopted… America will lift up her head again and in a few years become respectable among the Nations.” Estimate: $80,000-120,000.
Jefferson, Thomas (1743–1826). Autograph letter signed (“Th:Jefferson”), Paris, 2 September 1785, to François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, written four months after publication of Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. He graciously reads and critiques Chastellux’s account of his travels through the newly independent states and it contains a remarkable chart comparing northern and southern tempers. Estimate: $70,000-90,000.
Also featured are the papers of aviation journalist Earl Findley, divided into 16 lots, which includes a rare signed photograph by Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), letters from Orville Wright (1871-1948), Katharine Wright (1874-1929) and Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), featuring an Important and Revelatory Letter by Orville Wright concerning Charles Lindbergh, questioning the trans-Atlantic aviator’s motives behind his advocacy for American neutrality at the start of World War II (estimate: $15,000-25,000).
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).
Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.
Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.
Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.