Fine Literature – Beats & The Counterculture on August 5th

(Berkeley, California, July 29th, 2021) – PBA Galleries announced an auction of Fine Literature – Beats & The Counterculture to be held on August 5th, 2021. The catalogue features over 400 lots of fine literature and ephemera, as well as a large section of scarce works from the counterculture and the Beat Generation. The sale includes a number or rare and signed works by John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury, Ross MacDonald and others, as well as numerous first editions by Aldous Huxley, Ian Fleming, and other greats of the 20th century. The Beat/Counterculture section includes a number of scarce and signed works by the likes of Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and Richard Brautigan among other icons of the scene, as well as a  large collection of ephemera, correspondence, and photographs from the legendary Loujon Press. Also present is a wonderful assortment of posters and ephemera from the San Francisco music and psychedelic scene of the 1960’s, including a collection of plates for a psychedelic light show.

Cortazar’s Hopscotch 1st

First editions and rare fine literature are present throughout the catalogue, including Samuel Johnson’s Works of the English Poets  – 68 volumes. This is a scarce complete set of the handsomely bound first edition of Johnson’s second great work (1779 – 81) (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000). Nabokov’s Lolita, a first edition, is expected to draw spirited bidding. The Olympia Press copy is the true first edition of one of the most important and controversial novels of the twentieth century ($3,000-$5,000). The Moon is Down is signed by John Steinbeck with the Steinbeck family bookplate ($3,000-$5,000).

The Beats and Counterculture are represented with works such as the City Lights Journal 1-4, signed by Ferlinghetti and others. All volumes are signed on the title page by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, with two additionally signed by Gary Snyder, Jack Hirschman and others ($1,000-$1,500). A collection of plates for a 1960s psychedelic light show includes 100 pieces in the case ($1,000-$1,500). A rare proof of the Quicksilver Messenger Service Fillmore poster features one large image along with three smaller versions ($1,000-$1,500). 

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings on April 15th

(Berkeley, California, March 26th, 2021) – PBA Galleries announced an auction of Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings to be held on April 15th, 2021. The catalogue includes over 225 lots comprising works from the private press, examples of fine binding, and significant works in the history of science, philosophy, and the liberal arts. Included are works from the Golden Age of illustration to Arts & Crafts, to contemporary masters such as Richard Wagener. Eric Gill’s The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ from Golden Cockerel Press is one outstanding example of a collection of Bibles and Biblical texts represented. Classics of the ancient world are well-represented, from Ogilby’s Homer, to several editions of Plutarch, to the magnificent 1753 edition of The Commentaries of Caesar translated by William Duncan and its superb array of copper-plate engravings and maps. 

Allen Press, Edith Wharton, Quartet, 1 of 140

Highlights include Eric Gill’s masterpiece, The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ published by Golden Cockerel Press (1931), one of 500 copies. “Gill’s Gospels” is a consummate blending of beautiful typography and superb illustration, which many consider the most beautiful printing of the New Testament in English (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000). Another fine press standout is Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp in Rhyme by Arthur Ransome with 12 tipped-in color plates by Thomas Mackenzine, one of 250 copies signed by the artist. This lavish production remains arguably the best illustrated version of Aladdin (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000). 

Fine works from the 18th and 19th centuries round out the catalogue. A translation of the Confucian [Yih king] or the “Classic of Change” translated by Rev. Canon [Thomas] McClatchie and published by the American Presbyterian Mission Press (1876) is rarely seen at auction (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). The Commentaries of Caesar, Translated into English. To which is prefixed a Discourse Concerning the Roman Art of War, published by J. & R. Tonson (1753), features 85 magnificent copper plate engravings (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). From the 17th century, a rare matching set of Ogilby’s Homer (His Iliads Translated, Adorn’d with Sculpture, and Illustrated with Annotations, by John Ogilby [bound with] His Odysseys Translated, Adorn’d with Sculpture, and Illustrated with Annotations….) is unusual in its completeness, despite not containing an absolute maximum of plates ($8,000-$12,000).

Other noteworthy lots include The Shorter Poems of John Milton (1889), a very scarce large paper copy of this wonderfully presented work with twelve full-page tissue-guarded photogravure plates after the originals by Samuel Palmer ($800-$1,200). A handsomely bound set of The Works of Rudyard Kipling is signed by Kipling on the half-title of Volume 1 ($1,500-$2,500). 8 charming handkerchiefs illustrating scenes from Alice in Wonderland are each made or Irish linen and done by Gladys Peto (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500). 

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Fine Literature with Beats, Bukowski, & Counterculture on March 18th

(Berkeley, California, February 25th, 2021) – PBA Galleries’ upcoming auction of Fine Literature with Beats, Bukowski and Counterculture on March 18th, 2021 pays homage to Ferlinghetti with several lots featuring his work alongside another 400 lots of fine literature and ephemera, including a large section of scarce works from the counterculture and the Beat Generation. 

1971 work on the application of psychedelics

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, publisher, and champion of free speech, passed away at 101 years of age on February 23, 2021. The following day, the sidewalk outside City Lights Bookstore was adorned with flowers, poems, messages, and colorful chalk art, spilling into adjacent Kerouac Alley; a reminder of his lasting impact on the cultural landscape. 

At the time of his death, Ferlinghetti was one of the few still-living figures associated with the group of varied individuals who were the core of what became known as The Beat Generation. Ferlinghetti (along with Peter Martin) opened City Lights, America’s first all-paperback bookstore at the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach Neighborhood in 1953. The space has been a mecca for artists and intellectuals ever since.

Ferlinghetti and City Lights Publishing brought a number of important poets to prominence with the publishing of the iconic Pocket Poets series. Though he didn’t consider himself a Beat, Ferlinghetti was a prolific poet himself, and his influential collection The Coney Island of the Mind remains one of the best-selling and most popular books of poetry ever published. Perhaps Ferlinghetti’s most important contribution to the literary world was his publication of Allen Ginsberg’s long poem “Howl,” which led to a 1957 obscenity case. 

Though initially arrested, Ferlinghetti’s defense of the poem’s “redeeming literary value” eventually prevailed, and broke new ground for freedom of expression in America. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s passing was truly the end of an era; it’s hard to imagine another individual having such a profound and lasting impact on literature in 20th century America.

In the upcoming PBA Galleries auction, lots on the block include a collection of Beat-related vinyl records that includes Ferlinghetti’s and Kenneth Rexroth’s Poetry Readings in the Cellar on red vinyl, released in 1957 (Lot 5; Estimate: $200-$300). A collection of photographs of Beat-related writers and artists by Soheyl Dahi, published by Sore Dove Press, features a signed photograph of Ferlinghetti (Lot 2; Estimate: $400-$600). A selection of literary journals also incorporates work by Ferlinghetti, Bukowski and many of the major voices of the Beat Generation, largely from the 1960s (Lot 6; Estimate: $300-$500).

Other lots expected to draw competitive bidding include a watercolor portrait of Allen Ginsberg by Gordon Stuart, executed in Swansea, Wales in 1995, signed and dated by the artist in the upper right corner (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000). A first edition of On the Road will be available in the original dust jacket ($3,000-$5,000). Bukowski’s file copy of The Other is signed and dated in holograph by Bukowski on the final page and is believed to be the only existing signed manuscript of this story ($3,000-$5,000).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Fine Art, Photography, & Prints on March 4th

(Berkeley, California, February 13th, 2021) – PBA Galleries announced an auction featuring Fine Art, Photography & Prints to be held on March 4th, 2021. The catalogue includes over 225 lots spanning the graphic and fine arts from high culture to psychedelic rock posters. Modern and old master prints, as well as work by contemporary art provocateurs such as Raymond Pettibon and Enrique Chagoya, will be on offer, as will a large offering of photography and original photographs that ranges from Pictorialism to Modernism, leading to several signed photobooks of the Postmodern period. Anchoring the sale is a spectacular and wide-ranging collection of artists’ books by Leonard Baskin, Gehenna Press and his other imprints. Finally, the art of the poster, the most democratic form, rounds out the catalogue with examples from advertising, travel, film and theatre, and the art of modern Rock.

Karel Appel Serigraph 1/100

Highlights include Capriccio: Poems by Ted Hughes; Engravings by Leonard Baskin, published by Gehenna Press (1990) with 19 etchings, 6 woodcuts, and 1 wood engraving on various hand-made papers. The copy up for auction is one of only 50 copies (Estimate: $12,000-$18,000). Other limited editions feature in the sale, such as The Gehenna Florilegium by Leonard BaskinOne of 10 deluxe copies including a leaf from Anthony Hecht’s manuscript, the edition showcases three original drawings by Leonard Baskin and a woodblock used in printing the edition (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). Microcosmos: A Suite of Six Original Serigraphs by Victor Vasarely, with each serigraph signed and numbered by the artist is rarely found complete and one of an edition limited to 250 sets (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000).

Prints and photographs abound in the catalogue: Those Specs of Dust by Enrique Chagoya is a one-of-a-kind print by the provocative Mexican-American artist (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000). A stunning edition of Brooklyn Gang by Bruce Davidson is of 50 deluxe copies from Twin Palms Publishers and presented with a signed photograph from Davidson (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

 PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Elite Americana & Rare Cartography on July 8th

(Berkeley, California, June 23rd, 2021) – PBA Galleries announced a sale of Elite Americana & Rare Cartography: A PBA Platinum Auction to be held on July 8th, 2021. This sale, the first of its kind in PBA history, includes only a select gathering of the most rare and prestigious Americana available on the market today. 

Figueroa’s Manifiesto, 1st book printed in California, 1835

The catalogue features seventy-five choice lots of rare and valuable Americana and cartography, including printed books, manuscript material, photographs, maps, prints, ephemera and more. Also included are early, rare, and unique items, most from the region west of the Mississippi, though extending to intrepid explorers of the Pacific and the earliest penetration into Brazil, with important photographs of Native Americans, unrecorded examples of ephemera, landmarks of cartography, manuscript accounts of warfare on the western frontier, and more, highlighted by the first book to be printed in California.

Jose Figueroa’s Manifiesto, the first book printed in California, by Agustin V. Zamorano in 1835, is a defense of Figueroa’s actions as governor of California in a time of political turmoil. On the auction block will be the Estelle Doheny copy, one of about five known to be in private hands ($40,000-$60,000). Also expected to draw intense bidding are the first five American Girl Dolls: PBA is offering the number one autographed copy of each of the five original dolls: Kirsten, Molly, Samantha, Felicity, and Addy. Each doll is signed and numbered number one by Pleasant Rowland and comes with a hardcover copy of her book, as well as a certificate of authenticity (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000 each).

Other noteworthy lots include a rare ink manuscript map of San Francisco by R.P. Bridgens, 1854, a prototype of his monumental wall map which was produced later the same year in Philadelphia ($30,000-$50,000). An original albumen photograph showcases twelve members of the 1874 Navajo delegation to Washington, plus the accompanying U.S. Agent and two interpreters, attempting to gain relief from the usurpation of rights that had been promised, then withdrawn ($10,000-$15,000).

Travel history is represented with the official account of the third and final voyage to the Pacific by Captain James Cook, three volumes, in rare state with the plates normally in a separate atlas now bound in. This 1785 second edition includes the Death of Cook view engraved by F. Bartolozzi ($10,000-$15,000). A Birds-Eye View of Sacramento, “The City of the Plain”, by George H. Baker, 1857, is considered the greatest of gold rush-era lithographs of the city, the central image surrounded by pictorial vignettes ($10,000-$15,000). A rare, possibly unique, broadside on cloth advertises subscriptions to the Klondike Nugget, c.1898, noted as being “torn off a tree… last winter.” (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000).

The fine arts are incorporated as well with an original watercolor by Margaret Van Houton, recording her and her family’s crossing of the Isthmus of Panama circa 1852, a significant work by an early female California artist ($6,000-$9,000). In print history, a rare advertising broadside printed in color, for Wm. T. Cutter Jr’s Pure Old Bourbon Whiskey, c.1860, remains one of the oldest extant multi-color pieces of printed advertising from San Francisco ($5,000-$8,000).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Americana – Travel & Exploration, Space – World History – Cartography

(Berkeley, California, October 20th, 2020) – PBA Galleries will present an auction of Americana – Travel & Exploration, Space – World History – Cartography on November 5th, 2020. The catalogue features over 400 lots comprising a broad array of material relating to the history, culture, progress, and peoples of the Americas and the world beyond, with particular reference to California and the western portion of the United States. Included are printed books, manuscripts, photographs, maps and atlases, propaganda posters, ephemera, and more.

Watkins’ mammoth plate photo of Cliff House, San Francisco

The auction will showcase some of the most desirable Californiana on the market today, including a mammoth plate albumen photograph by Carlton E. Watkins of the original Cliff House in San Francisco. The photograph looks out on the Pacific Ocean from the western shore of San Francisco, with Watkins’ “photo wagon” visible in the image (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000). In The Exposition City: San Francisco, the city appears in a rare bird’s-eye view from 1912, showing the city risen from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire, and with the planned grounds of the Panama Pacific International Exposition on view (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500).

Canadiana is represented in the first octavo edition, in six volumes, of the official account of George Vancouver’s A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World, 1801 (Estimate: $4,000-$7,000). Other travel literature is expected to garner spirited bidding, including Zee Caerte vande Noordt Custe van Engelandt, by Lucas Jansz Waghenaer, c. 1586. The ornately engraved chart of a portion of the northeast coast of England showcases pictorial elements on both land and sea (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Books, archives, and more from a variety of genres and time periods appear throughout the catalogue, offering something of note for a wide spectrum of collectors. An important archive on the Challenger disaster, from the personal papers of NASA flight director Don Puddy, provides an inside look at the causes and aftermath of the 1986 space shuttle catastrophe in which all seven crew members perished (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500). Richard F. Burton’s rare first book, Goa, and the Blue Mountains, 1851 will be on offer in the first issue binding, with the view of Old Goa as the frontispiece (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500). Nine vintage candid photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting Rock Island, Illinois in 1965 displays protesters marching after his assassination in 1968 (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Other highlights include Great-Britain’s Coasting Pilot, 1779, a scarce, important survey of the coasts of England and Scotland with 48 detailed engraved charts (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000). Frédérid Baraga’s rare account as a missionary among the Native Americans in Michigan and the upper Midwest, Abrégé de l’histoire des Indiens de l’Amérique septentrionale, 1837, is an exceptional, unopened copy in the original wrappers (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings

(Berkeley, California, October 1st, 2020) – PBA Galleries will present an auction of Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings on October 22nd, 2020. The catalogue features over 350 lots including works on Alchemy and the Occult, classics in Greek and Latin, works in quantum physics, a wealth of books from the fine press movement, a large collection of posters from David Lance Goines, and an array of fine bindings.

Rare fine press books in superior condition are expected to draw spirited bidding. From the father of the Private Press Movement, William Morris, PBA will offer the Kelmscott Press’s The Poems of William Shakespeare [1893]. One of the most sought after works of the Kelmscott Press, Cockerell in 1898 described this volume as ‘one of the rarest books issued from the Press’ because of its popularity” (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000). Also up for auction will be the finest Blake production by Arnold Fawcus and the Trianon Press, Illustrations to the Book of Job by William Blake (1987 [printed c. 1974]) (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000). Works from Arion Press are present throughout the catalogue, but one of the more sought-after works is Poems by Wallace Stevens, of which PBA will present one of 300 copies in the limited edition ($3,000-$5,000).

One of Two Hundred Copies

Fine examples of historic bindings are sale highlights, including a gorgeous Cosway-style binding privately printed in 1862. In The Story of Nell Gwyn: And the Sayings of Charles the Second by Peter Cunningham, a beautiful miniature portrait is inset into the inside of each front board within elaborate gilt-tooled borders (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). Other standouts include The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1777; 1781; 1788. Gibbon’s landmark work of historiography spans 13 centuries, from the reigns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius at the close of the Pax Romana, through the establishment of the Byzantine Empire and the Crusades, to the fall of Constantinople ($5,000-$8,000). Modern offerings include Rainbow Zenith posters – a complete set of progressive printings by David Lance Goines. The printings offer fascinating insight into the method used in printing Goines’ posters (Estimate: $800-$1,200).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Limited Editions Club Publications on August 13th

(Berkeley, California, August 11th, 2020) – PBA Galleries announces a timed auction of Publications of the Limited Editions Club that will begin closing at 11:00am PST on August 13th, 2020. The sale is comprised of 368 lots of publications from the Limited Editions Club, featuring classic literature from Grecian times to the mid-twentieth century. The books are finely printed, attractively bound, and adorned by the leading artists and illustrators the day, nearly all of whom have signed on the limitation page.

The Limited Editions Club was founded in 1929 by George Macy as a subscription-based book club intent on circulating limited edition copies of classic titles to its members. This meant that the print run of each book was limited to the number of members of the group, at first 1,500 and later, 2,000. Macy was a powerhouse New York City publisher who worked hard to ensure that each publication of the club was a once-in-a-lifetime production, often bringing aboard some of the most notable illustrators of the 20th-century (think Arthur Rackam, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Norman Rockwell) to collaborate on the reprints.

The PBA auction includes some of the best and brightest of the LEC publications, many of which are illustrated by the aforementioned artists. Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard: The Almanacks is illustrated and signed by Norman Rockwell (starting bid: $100). A copy of Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s book, The Wind in the Willows, is illustrated by Arthur Rackham and also signed by the artist (starting bid: $100). Walden or Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau, features 16 collotype plates from photographs by Edward Steichen. The book was limited to 1500 copies and is signed by the photographer in the colophon (starting bid: $150). The Compleat Angler by Isaac Walton is illustrated with wash-drawings and engravings by Douglas W. Gorsline, and also remains one of 1500 copies signed by the artist (starting bid: $10).

The auction will be timed and most lots are included without reserve. PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

Fine & Rare Books on July 23rd

PBA Galleries is pleased to announce that an auction of Fine & Rare Books – Fine Literature will be held on July 23rd, 2020. The catalogue contains over 250 lots of rare and unusual books, from 16th-century historical tomes to landmarks of literary giants such as Dickens and Dostoevsky. Assembled throughout are finely bound and printed books, striking examples of illustration, illumination, and more, topped off by alchemy, hermetics, and other dark arts.

The most notable names in the history of science, medicine, and technology appear in the sale, including a first collected edition of Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity. Published in London in 1769, the book is considered the most important scientific book of eighteenth-century America, an exceptional copy in contemporary half calf and boards ($30,000-$50,000). 

Literary legends up for auction include those who have remained extremely desirable to modern collectors and held their value well, such as Charles Dickens. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby will be presented in a first edition in the original wrapper-bound parts (1838-1839). The Doheny copy comes with a receipt signed by Hablot K. Brown (Phiz) for money received in payment for illustrations he did for the book ($4,000-$6,000). Other significant copies of canonical standouts include T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land: The first edition (1922) is an Eliot family copy with the ownership signature of his niece, Theodora Eliot Smith, his sister’s daughter ($8,000-$12,000). Historic translations include the first book by Fyodor Dostoevsky to be published in the English language, Buried Alive, or Ten Years of Penal Servitude in Siberia (1881) based on the author’s own imprisonment and exile in Siberia ($4,000-$6,000).

Travel narratives and adventures are alive in the pages of Kipling, Cervantes, and Hemingway, all authors expected to inspire spirited bidding. The first illustrated edition in English of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1687) is a tall, handsome copy with a frontispiece and eight copperplate engravings ($8,000-$12,000). Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is signed by him on the title page and inscribed with verse from “Kaa’s Hunting” ($6,000-$9,000). Across the River and Into the Trees is inscribed by Ernest Hemingway to the two young children of wealthy American expatriates in Spain whom he visited in 1959, while researching articles on bullfighting for Life Magazine ($3,000-$5,000).

Other noteworthy lots include a presentation copy of Warhol model, artist, and “porno chic” sensation Viva’s autobiographical novel Superstar, inscribed to her publisher William Targ and his wife, with additional inscriptions, candid Polaroids, and more ($1,000-$1,500). The Works of the Famous Nicholas Machiavel, Citizen and Secretary of Florence (1675) will also be on the auction block: PBA is proud to offer the first collected edition in English, containing The PrinceThe Art of War, and others ($8,000-$12,000).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will conduct previews via Zoom and limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected]

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