Heritage’s Rare Books Auction on March 7, 2018 certainly was a page-turner. The sale, held in New York, featured a private collection of rare first editions that pushed the sale to over $2.1 million, doubling the sale’s estimate.
The James C. Seacrest Collection was put together over decades by the Nebraska publisher and philanthropist. Collectively, it sold for a total of $918,196, clinching nine of the top ten prices in the sale. All proceeds from the Seacrest Collection will be donated to charity, according to a family representative.
A 1925 first edition, signed and inscribed copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby reached $162,500 – a house record for Heritage. The signed and dated first edition, second issue of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and a 1685 compilation of Mr. William Shakespear’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies each hammered for $45,000.
A scarce presentation copy of The Catcher in the Rye with a rare inscription by author J.D. Salinger closed at $27,500. A surprise from the Seacrest collection was the first edition of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov which rose to $32,500, more than eight times the preauction estimate.
“We attracted many new clients in the market for top quality first editions – particularly those signed or inscribed by literature’s most respected authors,” James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage, said. “The auction price for the inscribed copy of The Great Gatsby now ranks among the highest ever paid for an inscribed first edition.”
Sales included Gone with the Wind signed by author Margaret Mitchell for $21,250; an 1874 first edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s [Untimely Meditations, Part II] for $22,500; and a two-volume first edition of Count Lyof N. Tolstoi’s War and Peace that was inscribed by the author and auctioned along with two autographed letters signed by Tolstoy’s secretary for $22,500.
Other highlights were an inscribed 1939 first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson for $30,000; a first edition of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming for $23,750; an 1845 first edition, first printing copy of Tales by Edgar Allan Poe for $21,250; and an 1891 first edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray signed by the author for $20,000.