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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 15 December 2016

RESULTS: Fine Books & Manuscripts

Total: $9,433,063 | 82% by Lot | 91% by Value

Washington, George (1732-1799). Jefferson, Thomas (1743–1826). Nine lots of correspondence between François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788)—with six letters by George Washington and three by Thomas Jefferson.Price Realized (for all lots): $1,138,750

Washington, George (1732-1799). Jefferson, Thomas (1743–1826). Nine lots of correspondence between François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788)—with six letters by George Washington and three by Thomas Jefferson. Price Realized (for all lots): $1,138,750

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727). Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. London: Joseph Streater for the Royal Society, and to be sold by Samuel Smith, 1687. First edition. Price Realized: $3,719,500

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727). Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. London: Joseph Streater for the Royal Society, and to be sold by Samuel Smith, 1687. First edition. Price Realized: $3,719,500

Newton’s Principia realizes $3.7M

and sets Auction Record for a Printed Scientific Book

Highest total for a various owner sale of Books & manuscripts at Christie’s

The Fine Books & Manuscripts sale totaled $9,433,063, with 82% sold by lot and 91% sold by value, making this the highest total for a various owner sale of Books & Manuscripts at Christie’s. There was active in-room, phone, and online participation from institutions, established collectors, and new buyers with registered bidders from over 25 countries.

The top lot was Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000), which realized $3,719,500, nearly four times its low estimate and setting a new world auction record for a printed scientific book. 

Other sale highlights included nine lots of correspondence to the Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788), featuring six letters by George Washington (1731-1799) and three by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), which collectively realized $1,138,750, with single lots more than doubling initial estimates.

The top lot of the selection was George Washington's (1732-1799) Autograph letter signed (“Go: Washington”), Mount Vernon, 25 April, 1 May 1788, to François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux (estimate: $80,000-120,000), which realized $307,500.

Strong results were achieved for private collections including early botanical books belonging to Cornelius J. Hauck (1893-1967), which sold 90% by lot, and an important collection of major 19th century American authors, formed by Mrs. J. Insley Blair of Far Hills, New Jersey, which sold 92% by lot, with many titles more than doubling initial estimates.

About Christie’s

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. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), 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 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.