NEW YORK — A Bible inscribed by Albert Einstein, in which he refers to the book as an "inexhaustible" source of wisdom and solace that deserves frequent reading, sold at Bonhams for $68,500 in the June 25 Fine Books & Manuscripts auction. Inscribed in German and signed by both Einstein and his wife Elsa in 1932, the Bible was a gift to their American friend, Harriett Hamilton. Tremendous international interest in this unique find allowed it to soar above its pre-auction estimate, achieving $68,500 after lengthy bidding.
"We are very pleased with the price realised for the Einstein Bible in the auction. Einstein didn't identify with organised religion as an adult, so the inscription is an extraordinary insight into his sentiments in the early 1930s," said Christina Geiger, the Director of the Fine Books & Manuscripts Department at Bonhams New York.
The June 25 Fine Books & Manuscripts auction attracted global bidders, with the US, Canada, South America, the UK, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, East Asia and Australia all well represented. Attendees competed fiercely with the telephones and those participating live online. Phone bidders took home the majority of the top lots, although notable exceptions went to those in the room.
The Madison Avenue salesroom held two book auctions on June 25, beginning the day with Northwest America and the Arctic, including the Library of Dr. William Priester. Sold at an outstanding 94% by value, the Arctic auction included many exceptional accounts related to Franklin's Lost Expedition, one of the largest rescue operations in history and almost certainly the one with the most far-reaching results in terms of cartographic discovery.
An extensive collection of 19th Century British Parliamentary papers relating to Arctic Exploration was the morning's top lot, realising $68,500. Considered the single-most important primary source for Arctic studies, the exceptional assemblage was the most comprehensive grouping ever made available at auction. Another lot of interest was William Goldson's very rare 1793 work on the Northwest Passage, including a large folding map with significant inaccuracies around Hudson's Bay and western Canada, that sold for $40,000. A rare album of eight chromolithographs after sketches made by Lieutenant Cresswell during the McClure Arctic expedition of 1850, during which Robert McClure became the first person to confirm and transit the Northwest Passage by a combination of sea travel and brutal sledging, achieved $35,000.
Bonhams next auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts will take place on October 16 in New York and Los Angeles. For more information, please visit www.bonhams.com.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com