The economy might me in the tank, but Jane Austen is as valuable as ever. Six first editions of her classic novels hit the auction block at Christies in New York yesterday realizing some handsome prices.
Austen may have proclaimed to her family that Emma Woodhouse was the heroine that everyone may not much like, but the bidders certainly did. Miss Woodhouse maintained her position in Highbury society and the world by realizing a whopping $104,500, the highest bid for the Austen items offered. The lucky bidder, after coughing up the pecuniary emolument worth a King’s randsome, will take home a first edition of Emma by the author of Pride and Prejudice &c &c, London: John Murray 1816. Provenance: The William E. Self Library who acquired it from the National Library Center of Budapest. Here are value estimates and actualizied prices for the day.
- Emma: ($60,000 – $80,000) sold for $104,500
- Pride and Prejudice: ($40,000 – $60,000) sold for $52,500
- Sense and Sensibility: ($15,000 – $20,000) sold for $32,500
- Mansfield Park: ($15,000 – $20,000) sold for $15,000
- Northanger Abbey & Persuasion: ($8,000 – $12,000) sold for $8,750
These six first editions of Jane Austen novels and many other American and English authors including Poe, Brontë, Dickens, Melville, and Whitman were sold on December 4, 2009 at Christies New York auction house at Rockefeller Plaza. They were from the esteemed collection of The William E. Self Library, one of the most important collections assembled in private hands before it was deaccessioned. Self was a Hollywood actor turned producer of such popular televisions shows of the 1960s–70s such as M*A*S*H, Batman, and Lost in Space. Holy pocketbook Batman, TV rerun revenues really do pay off!
I hope the new owners cherish there prize editions.