Literature: Bukowski, Beats & the Underground

Bukowski’s first book inscribed twice to Lou and Jon Webb

PBA Galleries announced an auction of Fine Literature with Bukowski, Beats & the Counterculture to be held on October 21st, 2021. The sale features over 500 lots of fine literature and ephemera, featuring a large selection of scarce works from the counterculture and the Beat Generation, as well as a section dedicated to Charles Bukowski. The sale includes a number of rare works by Gertrude Stein, Jack London, John Steinbeck, and numerous other important figures of the 20th century, many of them signed or inscribed. The Beat/Counterculture section includes a number of important works by the likes of Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and the recently passed San Francisco Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman. The section dedicated to Charles Bukowski features scarce editions of most all of his major works, including a twice-inscribed copy of his first chapbook, as well as original correspondence and poems, and numerous pieces of original art.

Leading the sale is the first book published by Charles Bukowski, Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail. One of only 200 volumes of the rare First Edition, this copy is signed and inscribed twice to Jon and Louise Webb of the New Orleans LouJon Press. The earlier inscription, dated 9-18-63, includes a drawing of a flower (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). Also in the sale is Buk’s rare third book, Longshot Poems for Broke Players, containing 26 poems and 5 drawings by the author (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Featured in the Beats & Counterculture section of the sale is a First Printing of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Pictures of the Gone World signed by the author. One of the highlights of Beat literature, this was the first book published by Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books. Number One in The Pocket Poets Series, which made the Beats and other influential stylists available to the reading world, “whether it be `in the American grain’ or against it” (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). Also in this section is a unique group of ephemera including original paste-ups and author’s corrections for Mind Breaths: Poems 1972-1977 by Allen Ginsberg (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000). A carbon copy typescript of “An Open letter to Tim Leary” from Charles Manson which was printed on the front page of the Oct. 9, 1970 issue of the LA Free Press also includes a handwritten letter to Leary from Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme that talks about her devotion to Manson and the coming apocalypse (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Literature highlights include: a presentation copy of Gertrude Stein’s Portrait of Mabel Dodge, signed and inscribed to French historian Bernard Fay (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000); Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam signed by artist Susan Allix and bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); and a rare presentation copy of Fahrenheit 451 inscribed by Bradbury and 1/50 specially bound (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000).

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