Fine Books & Manuscripts – Food and Drink on May 30th

On May 30, 2019, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts – Food and Drink. Significantly, the auction is the first to be held in PBA Galleries’ new location at 605 Addison Street in Berkeley. On the auction block will be over 400 lots of rare, valuable, curious, and unusual material from all centuries and all lands, ranging from sober religious tomes to groundbreaking works on science and natural history, Winston Churchill to Oscar Wilde, with fine bindings and sets, fine cookery, illuminated manuscripts, captivating illustrated books, early printed books, photographs, and more.

Engraved plates of citrus fruits and plants

PBA Galleries is pleased to offer significant food and drink material, from artwork to artifacts and cookbooks. Of particular note is one of the first Creole cookbooks (1885) from the Christian Woman’s Exchange of New Orleans. The book is considered one of the founding scriptures for the Creole tradition ($3,000-$5,000). Another standout lot is the bound collection of 219 engraved plates of citrus fruits and plants, with backgrounds featuring Nuremberg and surrounding areas, from Johann Christoph Volkamer’s Nürbergisches Hesperides and its Continuation, 1708-1714 ($20,000-$30,000).

Rare signed and inscribed 20th-century materials are expected to garner spirited bidding. On the auction block will be Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis, his 6-volume history of the First World War, inscribed to former British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith in the second volume. This volume is the one describing Asquith’s sacking of Churchill as First Sea Lord following the debacle at Gallipoli ($10,000-$15,000). 20th-century history will also be represented by the rare copy of An American Genius: The Life of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, signed by over 40 scientists, veterans of the Manhattan Project, laboratory staff, and others. Ten of the signers are Nobel laureates, from when they gathered at the opening ceremonies at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, in 1968 ($5,000-$8,000). PBA anticipates particularly competitive bidding over the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” first edition, fifth printing, inscribed by author Bill Wilson in 1942, the year of publication, to Lawrence Kolb, Assistant Surgeon General who specialized in treatment of narcotics addicts ($5,000-$8,000).

Historically significant materials from dance to photography will be featured. PBA is proud to offer Anna Pavlova, one of 300 copies, the first edition in English of Valerian Svetloff’s exquisite tribute to the Russian prima ballerina, superbly illustrated in color and photogravure, this copy signed by Pavlova (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500). Original photographs from Egypt will be on the auction block as well. An exceptional album of 89 albumen photographs of Egypt, c.1870-90, primarily by J.P. Sebah, featuring many unusual views of peddlers, tradespeople, laborers, women, cafes, rug merchants, female students, and more is a standout lot ($2,000-$3,000).

Other featured lots include the Manuscript scroll of Book of Esther. The Illustrated Hebrew manuscript scroll of the Book of Esther, likely 19th century, measures about 18 feet in length, on soft sheepskin vellum, comprising around 29 panels each of which has a hand-painted scene at the bottom, decorations at the sides and tops ($4,000-$6,000). A more modern, yet exciting lot is the treatise on vampires, Dissertazione sopra i vampiri, by Giuseppe Davanzati (1774). This rare, posthumously published treatise was written by the Italian Catholic patriarch and only exists in 7 known copies held in institutions ($1,500-$2,500).

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29th and 30th from 9am-5pm, and Thursday, May 30th from 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected].