Books & Manuscripts, Part 2, Goes Up For Bid On March 5 At Turner Auctions + Appraisals

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Over 205 Lots on Offer Dating from 14th-20th Centuries, Most from the Holbrook T. Mitchell Collection

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 16, 2022 – Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present Books & Manuscripts, Part 2, on March 5, 2022. The sale features over 205 lots of antique or vintage books, including some first editions; documents; maps; engravings, lithographs, postcard albums, signed lots, and more. Most are from the collection and estate of Holbrook T. Mitchell of Northern California.

Book from the Library of Mark Twain, Signed 1906
Book from the Library of Mark Twain, Signed 1906

Printed in English, Latin and various European languages, the books date from the 14th-20th centuries. They cover a wide range of themes, including history, travel, the classics, poems and poetry, books and literature, California and Americana, aviation, churches and castles, England and Europe, wars, legends and folklore, cowboy life, Native Americans, Champagne, music, and stories for children and youths. Among the first or very early editions are works of Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Ayn Rand, Isak Dinesen, William Faulkner, Ellery Queen, and Tom Swift novels. There are also books from the libraries of Mark Twain and Marie Louise, the second wife of Napoleon. Other noted authors include Horace; Seneca; Giovanni Boccaccio; Robert Louis Stevenson; Edith Van Dyne, the pseudonym for L. Frank Baum and Emma Speed Samson; and Herb Caen.

The documents include a French patent of nobility with a gilt-painted armorial miniature, English indentures, a 1704 French letter, an early printed book leaf, a Civil War pay voucher, and four illuminated Tafsir al-Qur’an manuscript leaves in Arabic and Persian. There are also a number of lots – books, letters, photographs, or legal documents – with signatures of the famous, including Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Herbert Hoover, Luther Burbank, Alexandre Hamilton Jr., Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Coleman, and Marie Joseph Louise de Savoie. A selection of postcard albums, mostly French, date from the early 1900s. Completing the sale are engravings by Giorgio Mantovano Ghisi and Antoine-Ignace Melling, three lots from the Planisphaerium Ptolemaicum series, Bernard Buffet lithographs, Indian miniatures, and a Walt Disney print secretarial signed.

Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at 10:30 am PST; sale items are available for preview and bidding now. The auction will be featured live on multiple platforms: LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, Bidsquare, iCollector, and Turner Auctions + Appraisals’ free mobile app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Apps (“Turner Auctions”). All are easily accessed through ‘Upcoming Auctions’ at the company’s website:

Here are some highlights of the upcoming sale (see details in online catalog):  

Lot 2:  Book from the Library of Mark Twain, Signed 1906. A signed volume from the personal library of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain): Liveing, Henry G. D. The Records of Romsey Abbey: An Account of the Benedictine House of Nuns, with Notes on The Parish Church and Town (A.D. 907-1558). Winchester: Warren and Son, 1906. 8vo (9 1/8″ x 6 1/4″). Blue and white cloth with gilt decoration. With fold-out map of the district, and full-page photographic and illustrated plates. The printed paper certificate label signed by Clemens’ literary executor, Albert Bigelow Paine, is affixed to the front pastedown, with Clemens’ signature in ink above: “SL Clemens 1906.” No notes. Good-Very Good. Estimate $1,000-$2,000. 

Lot 6:  Boccaccio’s Genealogiae Deorum Gentilium, 1494. Boccaccio, Giovanni. Geneaologia Ioannis Boccatii: Venice: Bonetum Locatellum for Octavium Scotus, 7th March, 1494. 4to (12″ x 8 1/4″). Leather spine, label, raised bands and gilt label, with faux wood-grained paper over boards. There are 12 full-page woodcuts of genealogical trees, and ornamental woodcut initial letters throughout. Printer’s woodcut device on last page. The binding is in Poor condition; the covers are partially detached and very little of the leather remains on the spine (signatures are visible). The extremities of the boards are worn, the laid on paper scratched and worn. Wormholes in the cover and first several pages. The leaves are overall Very Good; with light spotting, toning, soiling throughout. There is dampstaining at the bottom inner corners that extends through the entire work. One page with old marginalia. Free endpaper with early 20th-century owner’s name. Estimate $800-$1,200. 

Lot 158: Albert Einstein (1879-1955), TLS, 1950. Typed letter signed on Einstein’s personal blind-embossed Princeton, New Jersey letterhead, dated April 19, 1950. Einstein is writing as the president of the American Committee for the Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, to invite Professor Freudenthal to their first dinner and conference to be held in Princeton on May 10th. 8 1/2″ x 11″. The letter is toned; light creasing and two folds, and what appears to be old coffee splatters. Estimate $800-$1,200. 

Lot 17: Four Illuminated Tafsir Leaves in Arabic and Persian. Four large illuminated Tafsir al-Qur’an manuscript paper leaves, c. 18th-19th century. Each white/cream thin paper leaf has text on both sides and measures 18 6/16″ x 12 6/16″. The primary text is written on a buff-colored background within a rectangular gilt, green, blue, and red border, and consists of eight gilt-bordered lines of Arabic script in black, with interlinear Persian translations in red beneath. The margins contain diagonal commentary script in black, and a single red letter in a blue, red, and gilt decorative round device. Overall the leaves are in very good condition, with some light soiling. Three leaves are uniformly framed, the fourth unframed but frame present. Estimate $400-$800. 

Lot 22: Planisphaerium Ptolemaicum Series. Four of the series; (Briefly) Situs Circulis; Haemisphaer Latum; Coeli Christi Sphaerium. Each map plate 18in. X 15in. Framed: 25in. X 41in. (two frames, 2 maps per frame). Condition very good; colors bright; possibly trimmed. NOTE: The maps are custom-framed by Atherton Gallery; they have not been opened/examined, date unknown. Estimate $400-$600. 

Lot 19:  Brevarium Romanum, Venice, 1782, Howard Pease Copy. Venetiss: Franciscum ex Nicolao Pessana, 1782. 12mo (7 5/8” x 4 ½”). Red Morocco leather with elaborate gilt-stamped decoration, raised bands and black leather label on spine, all edges gilt. Marbled papers on pastedowns. Text in two columns in black and red. Armorial bookplate for Howard Pease (English author/editor, 1863-1928). Very Good; slight wear to gilt in areas, but overall bright. Estimate $200-$300.

Lot 78: Three Official U.S./China Documents, One Theodore Roosevelt Signed. Three government documents issued to diplomatic interpreter Albert P. Peck:  1. ROOSEVELT, THEODORE. 1858-1919. Document appointing Albert P. Peck as Interpreter to the Consulate General of the United States at Tientsin, China, November 20, 1903; Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, and Secretary of State John Hay. 19″ x 22 1/2″. 2. DENBY, CHARLES. 1861-1938. Visa document of the Legation of the United States of America at Peking, the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, permitting A. P. Peck and Family the ability to “safely and freely” pass, and granting protection in case of need. Dated October 7, 1893; signed by Charles Denby. A Chinese translation is written on the back with an official Chinese/U.S. Legation red stamp. 17″ x 11 3/4″. 3. SMITHERS, E. J. Visa document of the Legation of the United States of America at Peking, by the Chargé d’Affaires, permitting A. P. Peck the ability to “safely and freely” pass, and granting protection in case of need. Dated September 16, 1885; signed by E. J. Smithers. A Chinese translation is written on the back with an official Chinese/U.S. Legation red and purple stamp. 18″ x 22 1/2″. All three documents: Very good, clean condition. Estimate $200-$400.

Lot 152:  1900s Large French Postcard Album with Cards. A large, mostly full, French postcard album. Gray cloth with embossed pink and purple art Nouveau floral design and “Cartes Postales.” There are about 115 leaves of postcards, plus some loose, totaling approximately 900+ cards. There are about 70 postcards of French Navy ships/boats/subs, some deck scenes, including published by A. Bougault and A. Couturier. Other subjects include French chateaux, village and town scenes, monuments, seaside, and lakeside. Locations include Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Greece, Algiers, Tunis, and Egypt. The album is in fair condition; the cards are mostly in good condition, some with foxing. Cards are mostly unsent, but several are stamped/franked. 11″ x 15″ x 4 1/2″. Estimate $200-$400. 

Lot 200:  Three Tom Swift Novels, First Editions, by Victor Appleton. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. 1. Tom Swift and His Air Glider, 1912. 2. Tom Swift and His Air Scout, 1910. 3. Tom Swift and His Electric Locomotive, or, Two Miles a Minute on the Rails, 1922. All First Editions, Very Good; all with pictorial cloth covers; dust jackets are Fair-Good. Estimate $80-$120.

Lot 51:  Walt Disney Print, Secretarial Signed. A c. 1940 black and yellow print of Donald Duck and Jose Carioca characters captioned “Saludos.” Walt Disney Productions copyright mark. With a secretarial signature that reads: “Best Wishes to Barbara, Walt Disney.” Sight: 9″ x 7″; Frame: 12 3/4″ x 10 3/4″. Estimate $100-$200.

Lot 15:  French Patent of Nobility, 18th Century. A velvet folio folder with a French Patent of Nobility for Cajetau-Louis-Antoine de Carrara. The document is comprised of five vellum leaves, the first with calligraphy within an elaborate engraved border; the third leaf with a gilt-painted armorial miniature (6 1/4″ x 6 3/8″), showing the coat of arms with a wooden cart in the shield, against a theater stage background; the last two with signatures, including of Marie Therese, J. G. Van de Veld, F. L. (?) Gilbert, and J. DeWitte. The folio is numbered 107, and dated November 13, 1710 (and above 1770). There is light soiling and light spotting, but otherwise, the leaves are very clean. The seal is missing. Folio with string binding and remnant ribbon ties; 14″ x 10 1/4″. Estimate $300-$400.

Lot 32: Antoine-Ignace Melling (1763-1831). Medium: print multiple, engraving. Date: 1809 – 1819. Subject: The aqueduct of Sultan Mahmut I at Bahcekoy. Size: 20 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (paper size). Condition: some staining and toning to paper; folded at center. Estimate $80-$120.


About Holbrook Mitchell and His Collection

Born in Philadelphia, Holbrook Mitchell (1929-2021) lived in the Pennsylvania suburbs as a child where he fell in love with farming, portending his future career. After his parents divorced, he moved with his mother to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was still a boy. Holbrook was an adventurous and resourceful young man: spending a summer studying in Oxford, England, he turned a 3-speed bicycle into a 9-speed, then rode across Europe when such escapades were uncommon. He also biked across the United States. His studies were diverse and included law school, time in a seminary, and acquiring a teaching credential. After serving in the military in Army intelligence during the Korean War, he purchased a farm in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, where he grew grapes, apples, and prunes. The family later moved to a ranch in Napa Valley where they planted vineyards with various wine grape varietals. (Photo, left, Holbrook Mitchell)

Mr. Mitchell had a wide range of interests: he loved England, history, the opera and symphony, and Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles. He also judged classic cars; restored a Victorian house; and built a grain mill. Likewise, he was an avid collector with eclectic tastes, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, French paintings, Victorian furniture, and more. However, his favorite collectibles were books, following in the collecting footsteps of his mother. Young Holbrook began acquiring books as a boy, beginning with Christmas and birthday presents from his mother. When he was an adult, his collection grew: in addition to books from his mother, he sourced volumes and manuscripts from auctions and San Francisco booksellers, including John Howell Books. Now, with his passing, the family invites others to acquire some of the rare and historical books that Mr. Mitchell so enjoyed through the years.



Based in South San Francisco, Turner Auctions + Appraisals was founded by Stephen Turner to expand and complement the capabilities of Stephen G. Turner Associates, an auction and appraisal consulting firm founded in 2004. Turner Auctions + Appraisals presents online auctions in diverse categories of personal property ( Among them are Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Asian Arts, Toys, Jewelry, Militaria, Ethnic Arts, and others. The company offers a range of auction and appraisal services for buyers, sellers, and collectors. Online auctions are held several times a month. Working with leading live and online auction houses on the West Coast since 1991, Turner is a professional appraiser of personal property and seasoned auctioneer. His areas of expertise include fine art, decorative arts, antiques & residential contents. The company welcomes consignments and appraisals.

For more information about the company, please contact:

Stephen Turner, President 

Turner Auctions + Appraisals, 461 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080

415-964-5250 / [email protected] /

For media inquiries or photos, please contact:

Jill Turner, Rodin & Shelley Associates / [email protected] / 707-944-2433

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