Travel and car memorabilia races ahead in New York books auction

In just under two weeks' time, the National Book Auctions company will be offering an impressive selection of rare books and investment-grade autographs to Ithaca, New York.

The wide selection of collectible works include travel and exploration writings, antique automobile- related material and a variety of items from the estate of celebrated photographer Fernand Fonssagrives.

Important antique books include a two-volume 1660 Latin dictionary of the Bible and a 1785 volume on coats of arms with 86 pages of original engravings. Latin works from the 17th century have previously performed well at auction, for example at Ketterer Kunst, as have antique bibles.

Other highlight titles include the 1896 landmark writing "Signaletic Instructions" which became the first scientific system used by police to identify criminals, the complete 15-volume set of "Annals of the New York Stage," and a gorgeous volume of the 1945 violin history chronicle, "How Many Strads? Our Heritage From the Master."

Also on offer are a number of travel and exploration pieces, including Baedeker's antique travel books from the late 19th and early 20th century. Additional titles include an 1868 book on Southern Germany & the Austrian Empire and the 1868 "Bords du Rhin," both retaining all of their original colour maps.

A number of collectors will jump at the chance to bid on a scarce 1864 printing of John Speke's "What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile River," the more rare of his two works on his expeditions to find the source of the Nile River.

Other sections include several signed books including: "To Kill A Mockingbird," signed by Harper Lee and "Winnie the Pooh," signed by illustrator Ernest Shepard. Shepard's works have often performed well under the hammer in recent years.

The list of author-signed books available also features titles by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, John Irving, H G Wells, Henry Miller, James D Watson and others.

Also included are a number of signatures from important political figures, including former presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Gerald Ford, current President Barack Obama, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A special feature collection includes many antique automobile books and magazines divested from the Henry Ford Museum, including nearly 200 antique issues of the weekly British automobile magazine "Autocar" with striking advertisements.

Space collectors will also be interested to see a copy of the science-fiction work Encounter with Tiber, co-written by Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin and signed by its astronaut author.

The auction also includes artwork and ephemera from the estate of Fernand Fonssagrives, a prominent fashion photographer during the 1940s and 1950s, known for his "beauty photography."

Email, phone and fax bidding is on offer for the auction for those who can't be in New York on the day of the auction, August 8.


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