PBA Galleries

605 Addison St, Berkeley, California 94710

About Auction House

PBA Galleries is based on a nearly 60 year tradition of proud service to collectors of rare and fine books. In 1955, Maurice Powers founded California Book Auction Galleries in San Francisco. After 35 years of successful book auctions, Mr. Powers passed away and his heirs placed the company into voluntary bankruptcy. Butterfield’s acquired the name and mailing list but not the people or spirit of the company.

Auction Previews & News

2 Results
  • Auction Result
    2022 Christmas Sale Highlights

    Auctions held throughout 2022 generated some breathtaking results for Christmas-related antiques, novelties, artwork, and other finds that bridged (or defied) conventional categories. In keeping with Auction Daily's annual December tradition of spotlighting holiday-themed superstar results, here are five extraordinary lots that prove Christmas rarities continue to top many collectors' wish lists– all year 'round! All sale prices noted include the auction house's buyer's premium. Tippco Santa Claus Driving Auto sold for $62,500. Image courtesy of Bertoia Auctions. Our first 2022 Christmas sale highlight is the wheel-deal. Santa Claus is best known for traveling by sleigh, but apparently he has a driver's license as well. Bertoia Auctions of Vineland, NJ sold lot #69, a Tippco Santa Claus Driving Auto, for USD 62,500 during its November 17, 2022 event. This extremely rare German-made wind-up toy carried a presale estimate of $12,000 to $18,000 and generated 28 bids. It measured 12 inches long, was in pristine to near mint condition, and was decorated with playful images of early-20th-century toys, including dolls, Teddy bears, elephants, a train, and even a zephyr. Tippco featured this Santa Claus vehicle in its catalog from 1925 to 1935 in a number of different versions, including one that had a full-fledged, rotating Christmas tree on its rear. Tippco, or Tipp & Co., was a prolific toy manufacturer (c. 1912 - 1971) located in the prewar "toy mecca" of Europe– Nuremberg, Germany. Fine Tippco items hold enormous interest with collectors today; on March 11, 2022, Bertoia sold a Tippco Mickey and Minnie Mouse Motorcycle from 1932 for a whopping $231,250! This appealing cross collectible had a presale estimate of $25,000 to $45,000 and generated 52 bids. Sand art in a bottle by Andrew Clemens (American, 1857-1894) sold for $277,200. Image courtesy of Bonhams Skinner. Our second Christmas sale highlight is literally sand-tastic. During its November 18, 2022 sale, Bonhams Skinner of Boston, MA sold lot #172, an impressive sand picture in a bottle by Andrew Clemens (American, 1857 - 1894) for $277,200. It was estimated at $150,000 to $250,000 and generated 12 bids. The work from 1887 was housed in…

  • Auction Industry
    Dickens’ works to be a best seller Sept. 5 at PBA Galleries

    ‘Edition Definitive’ of Charles Dickens’ works in 60 volumes. PBA Galleries image BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, Sept. 5, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of rare books and manuscripts. The auction presents over 300 lots of rare, significant, valuable and unusual materials, ranging from early printed books and religious tomes to landmarks of American literature, beautiful color plate botanicals to narratives of Pacific exploration and rarities of Americana, finely bound books and sets to manuscript Cuban slavery documents and everything between. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Literary rarities from Locke to Vonnegut will be available in a variety of scarce states. From the 17th century, PBA has the substantially revised 1694 second edition of An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding by John Locke (below), in which he lays out the foundations of British empiricism ($3,000-$5,000). John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding. PBA Galleries image Other canonical authors represented in the auction include Charles Dickens, whose “Definitive” edition of his Works will be on offer. The edition is composed of 60 volumes, one of 15 sets only, with plates from the original illustrations, and original watercolors by Kid and others, bound in full red levant morocco ($8,000-$12,000). Two Robert Louis Stevenson rarities, An Object of Pity and Objects of Pity will be on the auction block as well. The volumes are joint creations of RLS and compatriots on Samoa, printed in Sydney, one a presentation copy from Stevenson to Charles Warren Stoddard ($4,000-$6,000). Robert Louis Stevenson rarities. PBA Galleries image Illustrated book highlights include the important viticulture work Ampelographie Francaise, 1857, a folio plate volume with 70 stunning chromolithograph plates of grapes and grapevines (below), aimed at their identification and classification ($7,000-$10,000). Folio color lithos of grapevines. PBA Galleries image In photography, Traveling Around the World with General Nelson A. Miles, by Henry Clark Rouse, 1904 is a marvelous travelogue illustrated with 174 mounted original photographs ($5,000-$8,000). The auction specializes in first editions and signed/inscribed books and manuscripts. Charles Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast is a first edition, first printing, inscribed presentation copy of one of the most important narratives of life at sea in the 19th century ($6,000-$9,000).…