Sale prices for Revolutionary War material were even stronger than usual, with several lots going many times above their high estimates. Notably, a newspaper printing of Thomas Paine’s 1777 American Crisis brought $37,500, while notes taken during the 1782 Continental Congress by member Arthur Middleton, which include the first reference to Vermont’s statehood, sold for $55,000.
Works from the Timothy Treacy collection of historic Californiana performed well in the sale, selling over 90% of the 35 lots offered and setting numerous auction records. An inscribed first edition of Clarence King’s Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, brought $8,750, a record for the author. Another record was $2,750 for a first edition of Charles F. McGlashan’s History of the Donner Party, 1879. A portfolio of photographs of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range from the 1930s by Clinton C. Clarke sold for $9,375, over six times the high estimate, while a first edition of Thomas J. Farnham’s Travels in the Californias, and Scenes of the Pacific Ocean, 1844, doubled its estimate to sell for $8,125.
Another record was set by a rare 1796 illustrated Bible, published in Philadelphia by Berriman & Co., which sold for $1,500.
Institutions did very well at the sale. Most notably, the Society of the Cincinnati won a 1776 orderly book detailing the defenses of New York; the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina bid successfully on an important 1782 Henry Laurens letter; the Massachusetts Historical Society won an anti-abolition broadside by George Francis Train, 1862; the New-York Historical Society won three lots including a group of Holland Tunnel blueprints; and the Connecticut River Museum acquired a diary by river pilot John Ingraham.
Book Department Director and Americana Specialist Rick Stattler said, “Prices remained strong, particularly for Revolutionary War material, reflecting a busy week—we had a large crowd waiting at our door when the preview opened. Private collectors were very active in the sale, picking up four of the top ten lots.”