Harper Lee's Mockingbird flies high at National Book Auctions sale

National Book Auctions, located in Ithaca, NY, held an auction earlier this month with over 400 lots of collectible books, ephemera and artwork including numerous signed first editions, Pulitzer prize-winning novels and an eclectic assortment of collectible pottery and dinnerware from Aurora, NY-based MacKenzie-Childs.

Of particular interest was a signed first edition of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (J. B. Lippincott Company, 1960). This rare book, in its original dust jacket, is arguably the most important American modern classic.

The authenticated Harper Lee signature appeared on the blank leaf between the front free endpaper and the half-title page.

Signed To Kill a Mocking Bird Harper Lee
An important American classic: To Kill a Mocking Bird signed by Harper Lee

The copy featured the first printing dust jacket identification points including the quote from Truman Capote in green at the top of the front flap, the lack of a printing statement on the lower left of the front flap, and the Truman Capote photograph on the rear.

This variant first printing dust jacket shows the Grau/McGinley quotes on the rear flap, features which contributed to its $6,500 hammer price (plus buyer's premium).

Also at the late March auction was a first edition copy of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy Of Dunces (1980) which fetched a $1,200 hammer price (plus buyer's premium).

The hammer price across all MacKenzie-Childs material exceeded $11,500 (plus buyer's premium) and ran the gamut from dinnerware to lamps and from miniature to tables.

MacKenzie-Childs dinnerware
Attractive MacKenzie-Childs dinnerware

These early offerings featured many discontinued patterns and products, attributes that contributed to their collectability.

National Book Auctions announced that they will feature more early MacKenzie-Childs pieces in their upcoming April 17th auction. Watch this space for more news on that.

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