Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Pynchon’

Two Highlights of the Forthcoming Bonhams Book Auction

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Bonhams has a book auction coming up on June 8. There are a lot of interesting things outside of fiction (like Mohammed Ali’s passport), but very few items of interest to science fiction collectors.

However, there are two quite notable exceptions:

  • A first edition of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged inscribed to Barbara Branden. For those unfamiliar with Rand, Barbara Branden was one of Rand’s closest friends before the break between Rand and her protege/lover Nathaniel Branden, Barbara’s husband. Rand and Barbara Branden would later reconcile toward the end of Rand’s life, after which Barbara Branden would write The Passion of Ayn Rand, so even though this is quite a worn copy, it’s among the best possible association copies of Rand’s most influential book.
  • An autographed letter from Thomas Pynchon. I don’t need to tell you how rare a Pynchon signature is, do I?
  • Pynchon Simpsons

    Brief After Action Report on the April 11, 2012 Heritage Book Auction

    Friday, April 13th, 2012

    I wanted to do a brief follow-up on Wednesday’s Heritage Books Auction. Results were all over the map.

    First, books I have trending data for:

  • The Asbestos-bound copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 went for a hefty $13,750.00, up considerably from a lesser copy in the Jerry Weist auction last year.
  • By contrast, the signed copy of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist went for $1,000, down over 80% from a slightly better copy in the Weist auction.
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others went for $2,250.00, down from the $3,883.75 paid for a slightly worse copy.
  • Books I don’t have trending data for:

  • The signed, limited first edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World went for $3,750.
  • The first Stephen King book he ever signed, an incribed ARC of Carrie, went for $11,250. (The Stephen King collector’s market, after some declines among “regular” signed/limited editions over the past few years, seems to be alive and well.)
  • A first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a signed letter from Stoker laid in went for $5,625.
  • But the most schizophrenic result from the auction was two early signed Thomas Pynchons going for hefty sums, but two later signed copies failed to sell at all:

  • The Crying of Lot 49 went for $8,750.
  • Gravity’s Rainbow went for $16,250.
  • Slow Learner failed to sell. It can be yours as an after-auction buy for a mere $3,125.
  • An ARC of a later edition of V failed to sell and can be yours as an after-auction buy for $2,500.
  • You would think there would be enough hardcore Pynchon collectors for those two to sell, especially the Slow Learner.

    And a beat-up Shakespeare and Company true first edition (in wrappers) of James Joyce’s Ulysses went for $35,000.

    As for the non-fiction first editions:

  • Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations went for $80,500.
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection went for $83,500.
  • A beautifully bound subscriber’s edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom went for $62,500.
  • Authors On “Great” Books They Hate

    Friday, August 12th, 2011

    Interesting piece, if only for the gratification of confirming that many other people loath Holden Caulfield every bit as much as I do.

    Biggest surprise: Several people (including John Crowley) naming Gravity’s Rainbow as their least-liked great book. I didn’t get far into it myself, but I’m not sure I gave it a fair shot. The problem is finding a big block of time (something I’m preciously short on) to give it another go, as I have the impression that it’s not amenable to the “one chapter a night” method I used to read Moby Dick

    (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)