Sylvia Plath at Bonhams Knightsbridge: Sales Results

Today, Bonhams Knightsbridge offered for auction nearly twenty lots of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes materials as part of their Fine Books, Manuscripts, and Photographs sale. This is more property of Frieda Hughes. Below are the results (prices include buyers premium).  

Lot 130The Hawk in the Rain, first American edition, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO HIS PARENTS, inscribed "To Mom & Dad/Number one on a long shelf." on the title-page, New York, Harper & Brothers, [1957]: SOLD: £2,167 | $3,031

Lot 131A Winter Ship, FIRST EDITION, ONE OF APPROXIMATELY 60 COPIES, Edinburgh, Tragara Press, 1960: SOLD: £1,402 | $1,961

Lot 132The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas, FIRST EDITION, SIGNED BY TED HUGHES on the front free endpaper, Heinemann, [1963]: SOLD: £11,475 | $16,051

Lot 133The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas, FIRST EDITION, SIGNED BY TED HUGHES on the front free endpaper, Heinemann, [1963]: SOLD: £12,112 | $16,943

Lot 134: PLATH (SYLVIA) THE BELL JAR BY VICTORIA LUCAS, FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED WITH A POEM BY FRIEDA HUGHES, [1963]: SOLD: £7,650 | $10,701

Lot 135Ariel, FIRST EDITION, New York, Harper & Row, [1966]; and 3 others, including fine copies of the first editions of Winter Trees and Crossing the Water (5): SOLD: £1,083 | $1,515

Lot 136Pursuit. With an Etching & Drawings by Leonard Baskin, NUMBER 18 OF 100 COPIES, 4to and 8vo, The Rainbow Press (4): SOLD: £1,912 | $2,675

Lot 137Smith Review. Spring 53, including 3 poems ("Mad Girl's Love Song" etc.) by Plath, 4to; and 10 copies of American Poetry Now, edited by Sylvia Plath, 1961 (13): SOLD: £1,211 | $1,694

Lot 138Uncollected Poems, 9 copies, THESE COPIES SPECIALLY INSCRIBED AND LETTERED BY TED HUGHES; and others (14): SOLD: £2,167 | $3,031

Lot 139The Bell Jar, ANNOTATED BY OLWYN HUGHES, ink notes inside lower cover [Tabor A4.a3], Faber, [1966]; and others by, or about or relating to Plath, a few with annotations by Olwyn Hughes (c.76): SOLD: £2,040 | $2,853

Lot 140A Winter Ship, FIRST EDITION OF THE AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK, ONE OF APPROXIMATELY 60 COPIES, 1960; ; and 21 others by Plath, first editions, most limited editions, fine copies (22): SOLD: £4,462 | $6,242

Lot 141A Winter Ship, 22 COPIES, FIRST EDITION, APPROXIMATELY 60 COPIES PRINTED, Edinburgh, Tragara Press, 1960 (20): SOLD: £27,750 | $38,817

Lot 142Ariel, 20 copies, FIRST EDITIONS, Faber and Faber, 1965; and others by Plath (68): SOLD: £12,750 | $17,835

Lot 143Dialogue Over a Ouija Board. A Verse Dialogue, 13 COPIES, LIMITED TO 140 COPIES, each numbered on the colophon, The Rainbow Press, 1981 (13): SOLD: £3,825 | $5,350

Lot 144: The remaining stock of several Rainbow Press publications, from the collection of Ted and Olwyn Hughes (collection): SOLD: £5,737 | $8,025

Lot 145: The remaining stock of twelve works by Sylvia Plath (211): SOLD: £7,650 | $10,701

Lot 146Moortown Elegies, NUMBER 8 OF 175 COPIES, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, 1971; and approximately 150 others mostly written by or about Ted Hughes, 7 signed, Rainbow Press, etc (c.150): SOLD: £1,657 | $2,318

Lot 147: Moortown Elegies, LIMITED TO 175 COPIES, SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY THE AUTHOR, Printed by Will Carter at the Rampant Lion Press, for The Rainbow Press, 1978; and 44 further copies of the same, ALL SIGNED BY HUGHES (45): SOLD: £3,570 | $4,993

Most lots annihilated the low and high estimates. The raw total of the lots, without the Bonhams buyer's premium, was £87,000. 

The BIG WINNER was the lot of copies of A Winter Ship. There were only about 60 copies made. They were sent to Plath by Alan Anderson of the Tragara Press, and so were items Plath physically owned. Amazing. Read about them in The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2, pages 480-1 and 497. 

A tremendous auction! Watching it sent my heart palpitating. Switching now to decaf coffee for the rest of the day. 

If anyone bought me one---or all---of these lots, then you are very generous. Thank you! 

All links accessed 28 May and 24 June 2021.

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