“Literary Property Changing Hands” ~ after the auction…

Ever wonder what happens to all those books and manuscripts that show up at auction and then disappear somewhere into the ether, briefly looked at wistfully in the catalogue and then only something you file away in your bibliographic memory chip??  I know I do this with all the Jane Austen materials  [see the post my Bygone Books blog for the latest Austen titles on the block ]

The recent Bloomsbury Auction, The Paula Peyraud Collections:  Samuel Johnson and Women Writers in Georgian Society [New York City, 6 May 2009] [click here for the catalogue and auction results] was of great interest to collectors and readers of 18th and early 19th century women writers.  A recent article by Dr. Maureen E. Mulvihill (Princeton Research Forum, Princeton, NJ), titled “Literary Property Changing Hands: The Peyraud Auction (New York City, 6 May 2009)”  [Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol 43, no. 1 (2009) pp. 151-63…..] sheds light on this world of auctions and book collecting, and tells us who bought many of the lots and where they are now to be found.   As Dr. Mulvihill writes, “the sale was a dramatic validation of continuing interest and commercial investment in cultural property of the Georgian period, especially its women writers.”  [p.152] 

The sale consisted of 483 lots, mostly books, manuscripts and letters, but also many visual works of art somehow relating to the authors Ms. Peyraud collected.  [The dominant figures in the collection were the women writers of the era:  Frances Burney, Hester Thrale Piozzi, the Bluestockings, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen and the Brontes; but also several male writers:  Samuel Johnson, Alexander Pope, Edmund Burke, David Garrick, Horace Walpole, and Lord Byron.]

The article also gives some history of Paula Peyraud [1947-2008] and the depth of her collection [the auction barely scratched the surface it seems…], and this alone is a compelling  story of the habits of a woman collector.

My interest here is largely with the Jane Austen lots in the auction [see my post on this auction here], and unfortunately, although the results of the auction are available online [see below as well as my previous post], the five lots of Austen works seem to have been purchased by private collectors and are undisclosed.  And the one Austen-related piece of art, a miniature of Elizabeth Bridges, Austen’s sister-in-law, remained unsold.   

[title, estimate, price realized]

  • Emma-1816- 3 volumes: [$8,000-12,000] – $9500.
  • Mansfield Park-1814- 3 volumes: [$7,000-10,000] – $7500.
  • Northanger Abbey-1818- 4 volumes: [$5,0008,000 ]-   $5500.
  • Pride and Prejudice-1813- 3 volumes Carysfort copy: [$20,000-30,000] – $26,000.
  • Sense and Sensibility-1811- 3 volumes: [$25,000-35,000] – $38,000. [or $46,360. with premium]

Austen aside, it is fascinating to see how many of the other lots are now in Library collections, and thus available for research purposes:  The British Library, Dr. Johnson’s House, the University of Manchester, McGill University [10 lots of Frances Burney materials], the Houghton Library at Harvard [Johnson and Hester Thrale], the Morgan Library, New York Public Library, the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book Library, Princeton University [Maria Edgeworth], Vassar Library [Burney], and Yale University Beinecke Library [Yale acquired the “star of the show” for $140,300. – 8 volumes of Hester Thrale Piozzi’s heavily annotated copy of The Spectator.]  Harvard purchased the most lots, and a Zoffany full-length portrait of Hester Thrale [lot 379] was the second highest sale at $58,560.

[from the Bloomsbury Auction Catalogue]


 See the full article at this link at Bloomsbury Auctions: [prices in the article reflect hammer prices and premium]


Just added:  Dr. Mulvihill’s February 2010 article “Captured by Jane” on the Morgan Library’s Jane Austen exhibition is in the online magazine of the Jane Austen Centre.  If you did not get to see this wonderful exhibition last year, this is the next best thing to being there… you can view the article here.

[Posted by Deb]

Auction Results ~ Austen on the Block

The Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice  for sale at the New York Bloomsbury Auction of June 23, 2009 with an estimate of $50,000. – $70, 000.  remains unsold [for more details on this see my original post here]

A quick summary of a few other items of interest:

Bronte [Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell]. Poems. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1848. first american edition. est. $800 – $1000. Sold for $700

Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Poems on Various Subjects.London: for G.G. and J. Robinsons, and J. Cottle, Bristol, 1796. first edition of Coleridge’s first book of poems, issued together with the first published verses of Charles Lamb, signed C.L. Hayward est. $1000 – $1500.  Sold for $2600 [a few other Coleridge items either did not sell or sold for less than the estimate]

John Keats – a first edition of his last collection of poems estimated at $12,000 – 15,000 was unsold

Percy Bysshe Shelley. Queen Mab; A Philosophical Poem: With Notes. London: privately printed by P.B. Shelley, 1813. very rare. est. $12000 – $18000; Sold for $11000 [ most other Shelley items did not sell]

William Wordsworth. Lyrical Ballads, with Pastoral and Other Poems, in Two Volumes. London: R. Taylor and Co., 1805. 2 volumes [the last edition in which Coleridge’s poems appear]. est. $1500 – $2000; Sold for $1700 [other Wordsworth items sold for lower than estimates or not at all]

Thomas Hardy. There were 22 Hardy items for sale, many of the books remain unsold, but most of the autograph letters sold mid-range or less than the estimates- here is one example:   Three autograph letters signed to Florence Yolland on the Death of Emma, Hardy’s first wife.Max Gate, Dorchester: 24 December 1912 to 22 October 1913. 6 manuscript pages, 8vo (varying sizes). Mourning stationery, three autograph envelopes (all labeled “opened by censor” when sent to F. Adams in 1939) est. $2000 – $3000; Sold for $1000.

Full auction results can be found at the Bloomsbury Auction website.

Christies auction room image

[image from the NYPL.org]

Posted by Deb

Austen on the Block

Auction picture - P&P 62309

314. [AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Pride and Prejudice: a Novel in Three Volumes. London: T. Egerton, 1813. 3 volumes, 12mo. Half-titles. Contemporary dark brown sprinkled calf, brown endpapers, gilt volume numbers to spine, green morocco gilt lettering pieces to style, with “Charleton” gilt-stamped to upper cover; half morocco folding case. Condition: intermittent foxing; rebacked preserving original spines, a little wear to extremities, exposure to several corners, renewed lettering labels. Provenance: Frida Best (bookplate); Susan Carnegie? with intriguing provenance of an early feminist author.

It is tempting to identify the ownership stamp with Charleton House, Montrose, the home, from her marriage in 1769 until her death in 1821 of the feminist writer and philanthropist Susan Carnegie: “…she learned to challenge the idea that women were intellectually less able than men, choosing instead to explain discrepancies in terms of women’s educational opportunities and their general treatment in a patriarchal society. Certainly in her correspondence Susan was fearless in drawing attention to a lack of respect or of rudeness on the part of male writers. Prior to her marriage to George Carnegie of Pitarrow (1726-1799), she acknowledged her future husband’s right to command her, but hoped ‘that he never will have [the] occasion or inclination to exercise it’. (Oxford DNB). On her death the estate passed to her grandson George Carnegie Fullerton, poet and sportsman. His extravagances resulted his sale of the three Ayrshire properties, and another other volume with this ownership stamp, a copy of Charles Emmanuel de Warnery’s Remarks on Cavalry, 1798, sold at Bonham’s in 2003.
First edition. Gilson 3; Grolier Hundred 69; Keynes 3; Sadleir 62b.

est. $50,000 – $70,000

[from the Bloomsbury Auctions Catalogue.  “Fine Books & Manuscripts, Literature and Americana” –  New York,  Sale June 23, 2009.  See the Bloomsbury website for more information on the sale.]

Austen on the Block ~ the Results, May 6, 2009

The results of the Bloomsbury Auction that took place on May 6, 2009 in New York have been posted online.  [click here to see my previous post on this auction]

bloomsbury auction austen

The Austen titles sold as follows [sale price in brackets]:

127. [AUSTEN, Jane] Thomas Hazlehurst… Portrait miniature of Elizabeth Bridges …
estimate: $2000 – $3000 – [unsold]

128. AUSTEN, Jane. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. London …
estimate: $25000 – $35000 – [$38000]

129.  AUSTEN, Jane.  Pride and Prejudice…. estimate: $20000 – $30000 – [$26000]

130. AUSTEN, Jane. Mansfield Parkestimate: $7000 – $10000 –[$7500]

131. AUSTEN, Jane. Emma: London … estimate: $8000 – $12000 – [$9500]

132. AUSTEN, Jane. Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. …estimate: $5000 – $8000 – [$5500]


Works by the Brontes, Burney [many autograph letters] and Edgeworth also sold for hefty prices, as well as  works by Samuel Johnson, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Lord Byron, Charlotte Lennox, and others  ~  see all the results at the Bloomsbury Auctions website.

Austen on the Block ~ Bloomsbury Auctions

Bloomsbury Auctions-New York  announces the exhibition and auction of


The Paula Peyraud Collection, Samuel Johnson


 Women Writers in Georgian Society



Wednesday, 6 May, 2009 • 10:00 am


Bloomsbury Auctions, the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper, announces The Paula Peyraud Collection, Samuel Johnson and Women Writers in Georgian Society with over 480 lots of books, manuscripts and paintings tells the fascinating story of English society in the middle and late Georgian periods. This extraordinary sale focuses on the artistic and literary women who came to the fore in the period 1750-1840.




 A highlight in the sale are the following five titles from Jane Austen: 


  • Emma-1816- 3 volumes: $8,000-12,000
  • Mansfield Park-1814- 3 volumes: $7,000-10,000
  • Northanger Abbey-1818- 4 volumes: $5,000-8,000
  • Pride and Prejudice-1813- 3 volumes Carysfort copy: $20,000-30,000
  • Sense and Sensibility-1811- 3 volumes: $25,000-35,000 


There are a total of 483 lots for sale, to comprise books, autograph letters, engravings and watercolors of the era:  Johnson and Boswell, and Walpole, etc., and many women writers are represented:  Frances Burney, Maria Edgewoth, Hannah More, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Charlotte Lennox, Charlotte Smith, Charlotte Bronte, Ann Radcliffe, Marguerite Blessington, to name a few.



And see this watercolor of Elizabeth Bridges, Austen’s sister-in-law:


Bloomsbury Auction - May 6, 2009 Lot No.127


127. [AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817)] – Thomas Hazlehurst (1740 – 1821). Portrait miniature of Elizabeth Bridges Knight wearing a white dress with a blue ribbon tied under corsage. Watercolor on ivory, oval.
2 1/2 x 2 inches (6.5 x 5 cm).
Initialed “T.H.” (lower right).
A fine portrait miniature of Jane Austen’s sister in law, Elizabeth Bridges (1773-1808) who married Edward Austen, the brother of Jane Austen. Edward took the name of his second cousin Mr. Knight on inheriting in 1812 his estates in Kent at Godmersham Park. They had 11 children.
This lot sold with an uncolored print of Godmersham Park by Watts.
Literature: Country Life. 27 July 1987, ill. p.111.  Est. $2000 – 3000.


Location:  Bloomsbury Auction Gallery, 6 West 48th Street New York 10019

Viewing hours:  

  • Friday May 1- By appointment
  • Saturday May 2- 10-5 p.m.
  • Monday May 4- 10-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday May 5- 10-5 p.m.

Bloomsbury Auctions is the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper and is headquartered in London with salerooms in New York and Rome.


 For further information call Bloomsbury:  212-719-1000 or email at newyork@bloomsburyauctions.com


You can view the full catalogue at the Bloomsbury website.