Auctioneer Press Release Bonhams Skinner

Rare Copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales Auctioned for $315,000 at Skinner

Nov 28,2018 | 11:00 EST By Skinner

BOSTON, MA – November 18, 2018  – An attic discovery of the rare 1845 first edition of Poe’s Tales (Lot 224, Estimate: $60,000-80,000) in paper wrappers surpassed all expectations to sell for $315,000 after fierce competition from internet and telephone bidders. Based on the context of the discovery of this copy of Poe’s Tales, the original owner presumably bought this and other similar contemporaneous books to be read for amusement in the 1840s. Once read, the Poe and its companions were bundled and stored away in a trunk in the attic until they were found during an in-home auction evaluation by Skinner specialists. In the rare book trade, it was thought that all copies of Poe’s Tales in wrappers were known. 

Lot 224, Poe, Edgar Allan, Tales , First Edition, in Paper Wrappers, 1845; Sold for $319,800

Department director, Devon Eastland notes that the annual November Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction is timed to coincide with the long-running Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, a venue that guarantees that serious American and international collectors and dealers are in Boston and able to view sale material in person. She notes “Bidders appreciated that the copy of Poe’s Tales was a previously unknown copy fresh to the market, having been in a private collection for some time which garnered excitement in the market.”

The 350 lot auction included works from New England estates;  printed books, documents, literary first editions, natural history prints, and maps. Books & Manuscripts are offered twice-yearly at Skinner and consignments are being accepted for spring 2019 auction.

Highlights include:

The Book of Mormon, 1830, First Edition (Lot 264, Sold for $55,350)

Benjamin Lincoln’s Oath of Allegiance witnessed and signed by George Washington (Lot 53, Sold for $33,210).

Satan’s Malice Asserted in a Sermon Delivered at Salem-Village. Boston: Printed by B. Harris, & Sold by Nicholas Buttolph, next to Guttridg’s Coffee-House, 1693. First edition, no copies offered at auction since 1918, Lawson was minister of Salem Village from 1684 to 1688. When the witchcraft scare broke out in Salem in 1692, he returned to observe and report. Fearful of demonic possession, Lawson believed that he had lost family members to the devil. In his sermon, he tries to offer Christian support (Lot 181, Sold for $33,210)

Blanchard, Joseph (1704-1758) and Samuel Langdon (1723-1797) An Accurate Map of His Majesty’s Province of New-Hampshire in New England. London: Thomas Jefferys, 1761 (Lot 335, Auctioned for $31,980)

Audubon, John James (1785-1851) Virginian Partridge, Plate 76. [from] Birds of America. London: R. Havell, 1826-1838 (Lot 309,  Auctioned for $20,910)

By Bonhams Skinner