Important historical books and documents perform well at Ahlers & Ogletree's February 7-9 auction

A copy of Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer sold for $22,990; a letter signed by Washington and Jefferson brought $21,780; and a three-volume set of Dickens's Great Expectations hit $16,940. Online bidding was on multiple platforms.
By: Ahlers & Ogletree, Inc.
1793 letter signed by Washington and Jefferson.
1793 letter signed by Washington and Jefferson.
ATLANTA - Feb. 20, 2024 - PRLog -- A first edition, first state copy of Mark Twain's classic book Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) sold for $22,990; a letter from 1793 signed by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson brought $21,780; and a first edition, first state three-volume set of Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations realized $16,940 in three days of sales held February 7th-9th by Ahlers & Ogletree.

The event, held online and in Ahlers & Ogletree's Atlanta gallery, comprised the lifetime collection of important historical books and documents from the estate of Fred Bentley, Sr. – over 900 lots in all. Mr. Bentley gave generously to his community in support of his passion for books and reading by founding the rare book rooms at a college and a university, both in Georgia.

Session 1, on Wednesday, February 7th, featured Dickens, Shakespeare, Incunabula and early documents. The star lot of the day was Dickens's three-volume set of Great Expectations, published in 1861 by Chapman and Hall. The books were finely bound in tan calf with raised bands on the spine and there was gilt tilting and decoration on the spine. The pages were clean.

Session 2, on Thursday February 8th, contained historical books and documents from the Revolutionary War through the 19th century. The star lot that day was the exceedingly rare sea letter signed by Washington (as President) and Jefferson (as Secretary of State). The four-language cut ship document, dated July 9, 1793, was signed three times by Hodijah Baylies, the collector of customs, for the schooner Rebecca, to the ship's commander, Samuel Swasey.

Session 3, on February 9th, showcased important works of fiction and poetry from a host of literary superstars, but especially Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain, American, 1835-1910). The top achiever was the first edition copy of Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published by American Publishing Co., bound in the publisher's three-quarter Morocco binding, one of 200 copies offered in leather. The book came with a custom leather clamshell case with gilt tilting.

Next up for Ahlers & Ogletree is a Friday, February 23rd auction dedicated to Art Deco to Post Modern Art & Design, followed by a Wednesday-Thursday Spring Estates Auction March 27th-28th and a Fine Jewelry & Timepieces Auction on Friday, April 26th. Watch the website for details as dates draw near.

To learn more about Ahlers & Ogletree, visit

Natalie Ahlers
Source:Ahlers & Ogletree, Inc.
Location:Atlanta - Georgia - United States
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