Sunday, March 13, 2016

On the block March 22: actor Charlton Heston's personal library

Collectibles and memorabilia from the career of Charlton Heston will be auctioned next week:
His portrayals of Macbeth both on stage and on live television may have piqued his interest in collecting, as one of the rarest items for sale is a first separate and first quarto edition of the famous play. Macbeth was first printed in the first folio of 1623, and not separately until this edition listed, printed in 1673. No complete copies, and merely two incomplete copies were found in auction records. The last incomplete copy sold at Sotheby's in 1961. This is indeed a rare item, and it carries an appropriate estimate as lot 98 for $25,000-35,000. 
Another item of personal interest to Heston is a copy of Hemingway's In Our Time. His son Fraser Heston has stated his father believed Hemingway to be the greatest American writer of the 20th century, so it's not surprising Heston would seek out a remarkable work. This limited first edition (no. 132 of 170) is also a Hemingway family copy, with the ownership signature of Jack Hemingway, the only child of Hemingway's first marriage. Being a one of a kind variant has boosted the accorded value of the book, resulting in an estimate of $25,000-35,000 for lot 145. 
Continuing the trend of collectible material appealing specifically to him, Heston also obtained a first English (British) edition of the account of Lewis and Clark's epic expedition, printed the same year as the first American edition (1814). Heston played William Clark in the film Far Horizons in 1955, and while the London edition does not carry the same weight as its American counterpart, this remains an impressive item in any Americana collection, containing a close copy of the American edition's folding map. It may be bid on under lot 140 and carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
The online catalogue is here. Heston's home library is shown above.

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