Our Favorite Things: 2018 – Fine Books & Decorative Arts

Our Favorite Things: 2018 – Fine Books & Decorative Arts

Our Fine Books & Manuscripts and Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts departments explored new territory in 2018 with impressive single-owner auctions and record setting sales. Corbin Horn of our Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver department and Gretchen Hause of our Fine Books and Manuscripts discuss their favorite fine books & decorative arts from the hallmark year.

Corbin Horn is a specialist for the Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Fine Silver department at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. Mr. Horn joined the firm in 2009 and has directed important auctions of notable collections such as those of Lilly Pulitzer, Lord Anthony and Lady Jacobs, Lars Bolander and Villa Massei in Lucca, Italy. He has also handled consignments from institutions such as the Toledo Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Minnesota Historical Society.  Mr. Horn is a member of the Antiquarian Society of the Art Institute of Chicago and on the Governing Board of the Chicago International Film Festival.

Corbin Horn’s Favorites from 2018

 A Flemish Late Gothic Wool and Silk Tapestry

This was a remarkable tapestry; extraordinarily well preserved, the subject depicted in vivid, bright colors. It sold to a European buyer for a strong price despite its small size.

Sold For: $35,000

July 17, 2018

 A Meissen Porcelain Pate-sur-Pate Four-Piece Clock Garniture 

A beautiful clock set combining all the best of 19th century modeling and embellishment. Several years ago we handled a pair of the same urns with painted scenes. It was fun to come across the model again, this time as a complete set with more extravagant decoration.

Sold For: $87,500

April 18, 2018

A Roman Marble Venus

A superb example, from its origin in antiquity, of the iconic image of Venus preparing to bathe. The Venus subject was favored by the Romans as a decoration in the private homes of the wealthy, and it is just as popular today.

Sold For: $231,250

October 30, 2018

Gretchen Hause joined the Fine Books and Manuscripts Department at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in 2017, after working for over 7 years as a specialist in the Books and Manuscripts Department at Christie’s in New York. Thus far, Ms. Hause has handled a rare copy of Palmatary’s 1857 pre-fire view of Chicago (the only copy in private hands) for nearly $200,000, the Robert L. McKay Collection of manuscripts, the Fine Cartographic and Printed Americana Collection or Evelyn and Eric Newman and the Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett.

Gretchen Hause’s Favorites from 2018

 Conradus de Halberstadt’s first printed Bible concordance

Copies of Conradus de Halberstadt’s first printed Bible concordance are uncommon at auction, with only two copies appearing in the last 40 years; this copy was completely fresh to market. It was a wide-margined copy in a contemporary binding, which was attractive to our bidders, and the price realized is a new auction record for the work.

Sold For: $27,500

May 1, 2018

 Shackleton’s Aurora Australis

Shackleton’s Aurora Australis, the first book published in Antarctica, is rare on the market; it is even rarer to have the opportunity to handle a copy from a famed adventurer’s collection. This copy, from the Adventure and Exploration Library of Steve Fossett, was a rare variant of this most renowned title in the Antarctic canon, and retained the original binding of packing crates and horse-harness leather.

Sold For: $87,500

John Melish’s Map of the United States

John Melish published numerous states of his Map of the United States – this third state is among the scarcest on the market. This copy came from the renowned Thomas W. Streeter Americana collection, and is one of only three copies to have sold at auction in the last 40 years. It is the first state of Melish’s map to depict Illinois as a state (rather than a territory), a point which was particularly pertinent in 2018, as we celebrated the Illinois Bicentennial.

Sold For: $68,750

November 12, 2018


In the months leading up to the 1864 Presidential Election, Abraham Lincoln, seeking reelection, faced a challenge from a third-party candidate, which he was able to stave off by accepting Montgomery Blair’s resignation. Lincoln’s letter to Blair was written at a pivotal point during the election; it was completely fresh to market, coming directly from a descendant of Blair, and the result confirms the strength of the market for iconic Americana.

Sold For:  $37,500

November 13, 2018