Freeman’s to offer single-owner collection of works by P.G. Wodehouse
PHILADELPHIA, PA.- On May 7, Freeman’s will present an online auction of The P.G. Wodehouse Collection of William Toplis (1924-2019). The present collection encompasses an array of material that spans Wodehouse’s entire career, from his earliest forays into publishing in the 1890s, to the 1970s when he published his last works. William Toplis was a Philadelphia native, veteran of the US Navy, dedicated teacher, and—in true Bertie Wooster fashion—a fervent collector of bespoke suits. His high standards and love for the author’s work allowed him to build a collection without peer. Diligently researched and covering both his literary work as well as his work for the stage, the collection encompasses first editions, manuscripts, original art, sheet music, libretti, scripts, and much more. In its breadth, it charts the author’s trajectory from aspiring writer to world-renowned author.
NOTABLE AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
Featured in this sale are many rare and unusual items, including a unique set of P.G. Wodehouse’s personal scrapbooks (Lot 176, Est. $3,000-5,000). Wodehouse compiled these four scrapbooks over an almost 50-year period from 1911 to 1960. They contain hundreds of newspaper clippings, programs, telegrams and other ephemera related to Wodehouse’s career, both on the page and on the stage, and offer a rare glimpse into Wodehouse’s own chronicles of his professional life. Also on offer is a first issue of Wodehouse’s 1910 novel “The Intrusion of Jimmy,” charmingly inscribed to Wodehouse’s mother and signed by the author with his nickname, “Plum” (Lot 60, Est. $1,000-$1,500). Published six months later in England with a new title, “A Gentleman of Leisure,” this work represents an important period of Wodehouse’s writing career, when it began to take off in both the United States and England. This, along with numerous other important books – like a first English issue of “Big Money” in its exceedingly scarce first issue dust jacket (Lot 7, Est. $3,000-5,000) – brings together a robust and expansive collection spanning the illustrious career of P.G. Wodehouse
An English humorist, Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) is perhaps best known as the creator of comedic duo Bertie Wooster and his sharp-witted valet, Jeeves, who appeared together in 11 novels and 35 short stories. His humor prodded at the eccentricities of the gentlemanly upper-class, and his poetic writing style captured the attention of audiences around the world. Wodehouse, a prolific writer if there ever was one, published more than 90 novels and 200 short stories in his lifetime, solidifying his place in the English literary canon and in the hearts of his readers.