A complete set of Edward S Curtis' The North American Indian books is set to draw huge interest in New York on October 4.
Edward S Curtis was a 20th century American photographer who achieved fame for his captivating images of the Native American tribes. Endorsed by President Theodore Roosevelt and commissioned by financier JP Morgan, Curtis' comprehensive documentation of the vanishing race would take 15 years to complete, with Morgan and his son investing approximately $375,000 in the project.
Eventually issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the work, which spans 20 text volumes and 20 folios, stands as some of the only recorded history of a number of extinct tribes. The example at auction, which was consigned by renowned bookseller John King, is one of just 500 copies produced and is believed to be unique in its array of photogravures which bear Curtis' signature.
King told ArtDaily: "
King was of course referring to John James Audobon's Bird of America, which is the most valuable book in the world - a copy sold for $11.5m in December 2010. The North American Indian is valued at $1.25m-1.75m, though due to its unique signatures it is likely to exceed the record price of $2.88m achieved by another complete set at Christie's in April this year.
The current world record for an American book at auction stands with George Washington's annotated copy of the Acts of Congress, which brought $9.8m at Christie's last month.
For Native American collectors, we currently have a rare authentic strand of hair from famed leader Geronimo on offer at a great price. Bibliophiles will want to check out our Books & Manuscripts section, which features the most important American manuscript ever created.