'America's Second Declaration of Independence' auctions in New York

19th century poet Walt Whitman is an iconic figure to many Americans, and first editions of his works are usually valuable.

Another example of the was shown at Bloomsbury's sale of rare books and manuscripts in New York last week, where an example of his most famous work was put up for sale.

Whitman's works did not shy away from difficult subjects and were often criticised as obscene for containing sexual references at the time. This was as true of his most famous work, the collection Leaves of Grass, as any.

The 1855 work has been described as 'America's Second Declaration of Independence', and the copy available, despite a blemish to the spine is a classic example of the work with the original green half morocco binding in place.

Frontispiece showing Walt Whitman
Frontispiece showing Walt Whitman

The book, which Whitman self-published, has a frontispiece portrait of him by Samuel Hollyer (after a daguerreotype) printed on heavy China paper. It proved to be the lot which a good few bidders were waiting for, and fetched $30,000.

Collectors interested in collectibles from great writers of the 19th century might like to know that signatures from William Wordsworth and Oscar Wilde are currently available.


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