A New York auction of Fine Photographs and Photobooks was highlighted yesterday (October 4) by the sale of a complete set of Edward S Curtis' The North American Indian.
Curtis' monumental work comprises 20 text volumes and 20 folios. Produced between 1907-1930 it documents the Native American tribes that lived west of the Mississippi river. Endorsed by President Theodore Roosevelt as well as Curtis' patron, legendary financier JP Morgan, the collection took more than 15 years to complete.
The extraordinary book was consigned to auction by the renowned dealer John King, who commented: "This set, which contains splendid rare photographic folio plates, many with Curtis' signature and accompanying handsome text volumes, parallels the importance of the original Audobon, and deserves to be shared with collectors who can appreciate its scarcity, artistry and the recording of a great peoples."
Number 113 in an edition of 500, the example at auction was believed to be the only copy that contains photogravures with Curtis' signature. Included are 722 large format photogravures on Japan tissue, with 111 signed plates. The accompanying text volumes, which detail Curtis' study of the Native American people, hold 1,505 smaller photogravures, with four maps and two diagrams.
The magnificent photobook realised $1.44m, selling comfortably within its $1.25m-1.75m estimate. The price is the highest ever achieved in the auction house's 70 year history.
Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering an authentic strand of hair from the legendary Apache leader Geronimo. We also have the extremely rare autograph of George Armstrong Custer, who was famously defeated at Little Bighorn.
Also selling in the auction was Richard Avedon's brilliant portrayal of Bob Dylan, which brought $24,000 against a $20,000-30,000 estimate.