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1886 Deluxe Morgan Collection Catalog -the First American Blockbuster Auction

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Seller: joslinhall (7,976) 100%, Location: Northampton, Massachusetts, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 362134927804 America's First Blockbuster Auction - “Catalogue of the Art Collection formed by the late Mrs. Mary J. Morgan...” The catalog to an auction held in New York by the American Art Galleries on March 3rd-15th, 1886. Subscriber's Edition, limited to 500 numbered copies. description continues below the picture- - - - DISCUSSION: The very scarce Deluxe illustrated edition of the catalog to one of America's earliest blockbuster auctions and what was, for a time, the most famous art auction in America. Mary Morgan was the widow of a shipping tycoon, and collected a vast array of paintings and other art in her New York mansion. Upon her death Thomas Kirby of the American Art Association, the forerunner of Parke-Bernet, decided to make the Morgan sale a "can't-miss" event. The collection was controversial -Mrs. Morgan had simply walked in and bought her pictures from leading dealers instead of ingratiating herself personally with the artists as was the tradition of the day. Further, Lot 341 was an 8-inch Peachblow vase which Mrs. Morgan had bought from the American Art Association's own retail galleries for $12,000 a few years previously. A print war broke out between the New York Times, which claimed Mrs. Morgan had paid a zero or two too much for the vase, and that in any case, there was no such thing as "Peachblow", and Charles Henry Dana and the New York Sun, who stoughtly defended the AAA and the vase. During the 3 week exhibition at the galleries prior to the auction 100,000 people viewed the paintings and Oriental art. The sale itself was standing-room only, and when they got to the vase, Baltimore connoisseur William T. Walters won it for $18,000 (which in no way stopped the controversy over its actual worth). The sale finally totaled $1,205,000 -with the exception of the 1882 Hamilton Palace sale in England, this was the highest total for any art collection at auction anywhere in the world. The catalog itself was a groundbreaking achievement- "[Kirby's] most striking innovation was the Mary Jane Morgan catalogue, a 305-page quarto volume that so far surpassed any cynosure of art collecting previously published in the United States that it not only launched the business at hand but synthesized Kirby's whole new concept of the elite auction. Printed on heavy rag paper, with twenty-nine etchings, bound in pristine white boards with rich gold lettering, this weighty tome cost $40,000 to produce. It was a book to rest in splendor on the tables of the proudest salons. There was, of course, an ordinary catalog, without illustrations, for ordinary customers, the deluxe edition being limited to 500 numbered copies. The price was $10, but if mere money could have bought such a book, its propaganda value would have been lost. Except for a few copies sent to other cities, the entire edition was delivered by hand, with the compliments of the American Art Association, to the front doors of the most exclusive mansions in New York". For those wanting a more in-depth account, Wesley Towner devotes an entire chapter to Mrs. Morgan, her collection, this auction, the catalog, and the Peachblow vase in his book, "The Elegant Auctioneers", from which we quoted above. DESCRIPTION: Limp covers. 9"x12", 305 pages, plus 29 etchings and 24 photogravure plates. 2,628 lots. Original limp boards with a parchment-covered cover with gilt lettering (see below for 2 pictures of the covers). Housed in a new custom, quarter-leather clamshell case, with raised bands and fancy giltwork on the spine and a black leather title label. The front of the case features an inset collage made with black, crimson and peach leathers showing the famous peachblow vase on its stand. A lovely and elegant case. CONDITION NOTES: Front cover somewhat soiled, spine and rear cover perished and replaced with sympathetic limp boards and parchment. Some soil and offsetting on the endpapers, but else clean internally. - - - - - - OVERSEAS BUYERS PLEASE NOTE: Our International shipping charges are based on the weight, when boxed for shipping, of each book -please check the postage chart for the cost of shipping to your country. We offer “combined shipping charges” for orders for more than one book –this often means the shipping cost for the books is less than it would have been if they had been purchased and shipped one at a time, so please ask us for a shipping quote if you are thinking about buying more than one book. Thanks! - QUESTIONS about this item? If you have any questions regarding this item, please let us know and we will respond promptly. We have more books like this listed in our Ebay store! Joslin Hall Books Selling books since 1983 INSURANCE??? As a seller we take responsibility for properly packing and delivering your purchase safely to you. You do not have to spend extra for insurance to guarantee that. RETURNS: We want you to be completely satisfied- anything is returnable for any reason at all within 14 days of receipt; we do ask that you notify us that you are returning it. OVERSEAS CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE: -We always welcome orders from customers outside the United States. The “Free Shipping” marker found on many of our books only applies to shipping within the United States –we wish we could afford to offer free overseas shipping, but we cannot. Please use the “Shipping & Payments” tab (above) to check the cost of shipping. We charge actual shipping based on weight, so sometimes large, heavy, inexpensive books can actually cost more to ship than the book itself costs –I know that seems odd, but the shipping cost is based on the actual weight of the book, not its selling price. If you have any questions, please use the "Ask Us a Question" button before you buy the book. -Import duties, taxes and related import charges added by your country are not included in the item price or shipping charges. These charges are the buyer’s responsibility. Please check with your country’s customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding/buying. These charges are normally collected by the delivering freight (shipping) company or when you pick the item up – please do not confuse them for additional shipping charges, which we never impose. We do not mark merchandise values below value or mark items as ‘gifts’ to avoid import duties, as this is illegal in most countries. - Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Your satisfaction is guaranteed with every book you purchase. Condition: Very Good, Condition: Front cover somewhat soiled, spine and rear cover perished and replaced with sympathetic limp boards and parchment. Some soil and offsetting on the endpapers, but else clean internally.

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