A Real Spine Tingler: Chad Reingold on Potter & Potter Auctions’ Early Summer Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale
Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago, IL is holding its signature early summer Fine Books & Manuscripts sale on Thursday, June 1, 2023. This important event includes over 500 lots of antiquarian to contemporary publications, including first editions, signed works, documents, and literature-related antiques and materials. Auction Daily spoke with Chad Reingold, Potter & Potter Auctions’ Fine Books & Manuscripts Cataloger, to learn more about this event and a few of its most eye-catching offerings.
Auction Daily: Tell us about this exciting sale and about your rare books department. How long did it take the team to assemble such an outstanding group of consignments?
Chad Reingold: This auction represents the first time the drug/pharmacology collection owned by Dr. Ronald K. Siegel has been to market in decades. Both books and rare drug paraphernalia are included. In addition to this excellent collection, we are pleased to present literature from the personal library of award-winning author Larry McMurtry, including rarities such as Nathanael West’s Day of the Locust and Miss Lonelyhearts, both in their early, original, and rare dust jackets. We are also offering our usual selection of fine books in all fields. It took many months and much travel to assemble this material and prepare it for auction. Currently, we have three dedicated rare book specialists, with a combined 75 years of experience in the book trade
Auction Daily: A top lot in this sale is #462, Michael Nostradamus’ The True Prophecies or Prognostications of…, Physician to Henry II. Francis II. and Charles IX. Kings of France, and one of the best Astronomers that ever were. A work full of curiosity and learning. Translated into English with comments by Theophilus de Garencieres. This is quite the title! What was it like to handle a publication that is over 350 years old? And what type of collector or institution do you think will be buying this item?
Chad Reingold: We are excited to offer the first English edition of Nostradamus’ True Prophecies… Although it was a true pleasure to handle and catalogue this rare and venerable book, our staff regularly handles centuries-old material. We believe that any collector or institution with an interest in history and philosophy would be eager to acquire this rare book for their collection.
Auction Daily: This sale features a number of items from The Ronald K. Siegel Collection. Tell us about this collection, Dr. Siegel and his interests, and why you think these items called to him.
Chad Reingold: Dr. Ronald K. Siegel was a research professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles. Not only did he contribute to medical science’s understanding on the effects of drugs on the human body, he consulted with several government institutions to influence and create some of their policies. He was one of the main witnesses in the trial of actor Robert Blake and was considered to be one of the most compelling witnesses. Naturally, his education and avocation influenced his collecting interests, and he amassed a large and varied collection of material. His collection teaches us about the history of drug use and rehabilitation and provides insights into the early misconceptions about drugs.
Auction Daily: Also on offer are a number of books from Academy Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry. How do provenance and/or signatures impact value and interest in books in general? And, if you can share this, how did Potter & Potter get this high profile consignment?
Chad Reingold: Provenance is vitally important to many collectors. It lends an air of authority and enhances interest in collectibles that come from recognizable sources. Books from Larry McMurtry’s personal library are of the highest interest to collectors. McMurtry– in addition to being a successful, award-winning author– was also a legendary bookseller. Archer City, TX, the home of his enormous store named Booked Up, is one of the Meccas of book collecting in the United States. We were able to acquire the McMurtry collection due to the tireless efforts of our main book scout.
Auction Daily: And finally, of all the intriguing lots on offer, which really catch your eye, and why?
Chad Reingold: Besides the titles already mentioned, I really like lot #379, the first edition, first issue of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Besides it being a true rarity as a first issue, it also represents a cataloguing marathon– it took an entire day to catalogue all of the issue points! I also really like lot #397, American Film Directors, from the collection of Herb Yellin, publisher of Lord John Press. It has over 500 autographs by film directors and actors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Jamie Lee and Tony Curtis, Stanley Kramer, Francis Ford Coppola, and hundreds more! This may be the most comprehensive collection of legendary Hollywood signatures in a single book. Another lot of note, lot #461, is a gigantic collection of mystery literature and includes nearly 1,300 titles. It is an instant library or a book store inventory in just one lot.
For more information on this sale, visit Potter & Potter Auctions’ website.
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