10.12.2013

At Dom Knigi in St. Petersburg, a ceremonial opening was held of the pre-auction exhibition of the first public rare book auction in St. Petersburg

On 10 December at Dom Knigi, the exhibition of rare books opened, which will be sold at an auction on 14 December.
The initiators of the project are St. Petersburg Dom Knigi and the Auction House of the Russian Federation.
250 unique antique lots are displayed at the exhibition.

The member of the board of directors of St. Petersburg Dom Knigi Maria Grusheva said that “This project organically fits in with the educational activity of Petersburg Dom Knigi. The role of the book as a store of human knowledge and culture has always been exclusive. A book with all of its many facets, in the combination of contents and design, in the process of printing, in interaction with the reader, has a tradition of many centuries, which has not been surpassed by the Internet or any other means of conveying information. Old books are witness of the past like old works of art, sculpture or architecture. Their uniqueness gives rise to high consumer demand – and we have decided to hold a rare book auction, in order to give all book lovers the chance to become owners of bibliographic rarities.”

The leading expert of the Auction House of the Russian Federation Svetlana Chestnykh: “The Auction House of the Russian Federation has enormous experience with holding various types of auctions, including for the sale of artworks and antiques. The sale of rare books has not been made into a separate type of auction before, but we believe that auctions of this kind have an important future. Especially in St. Petersburg, where it is thought that “half of the inhabitants work in museums, and the other half don’t know how to find their way out of them”. We sincerely believe that rare book auctions will become part of the cultural life of Russia’s Northern Capital.”

An important event in this auction was the gift made to the Peterhof museum of two unique lots – the book by Ye. S. Shumigorsky, “Empress Maria Fyodorovna (1759-1828), published in 1892. The book contains the story of the life of Maria Fyodorovna before her ascent to the throne as the wife of Paul the First, and an Ticket for access of a carriage to ceremony area during the visit of Their Imperial Highnesses to Moscow in August 1912. The ticket was written out for the archpriest of the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, Nikolai Yakolevich Fortinsky.

 “After the museum expressed the wish to include these items in its display collection, the Auction House of the Russian Federation held talks with their owners, purchased them and gave them as a gift to Peterhof,” says Svetlana Chestnykh.

Among the most interesting lots are rare publications on the history of St. Petersburg:
- “A century of St. Petersburg urban society. 1785-1885” (estimate 60,000 rubles). Published by order of the St. Petersburg city Duma in memory of the day of 21 April 1785. The publication consists of two sections: the first dedicated to urban public institutions of St. Petersburg, and the second to the history of urban management in the city.

- Guide to Peterhof. For the 200th anniversary of Peterhof (estimate 12,000 rubles). A publication on enameled paper, with numerous illustrations in the text. With two large maps in color. The book contains a total of 96 illustrations, and two color maps of the town of Peterhof and its environs. Parallel text in Russian and French.

Some of the lots at the auction were already noted as rarities by bibliophiles in the late 19th century.

They include:
- Three conversations by a priest with parishioners about the true path to salvation”, which was prohibited for republication and distribution in the Russian Empire, and is also mentioned in G. Gennadi’s book “Russian rare books” (estimate 100,000 rubles).

-  “The English in the Trojan Battle. 1854”, which is mentioned in the preface to N.I. Berezin’s book “Russian rare books” of 1902 as a rare publication (estimate 50,000 rubles).

Separate attention should be paid to the selection of White Guard literature published in emigration. They include the book by K.V. Sakharov “White Siberia (the internal war of 1918-1920)”, Munich, 1923 (estimate 15,000 rubles) and the anthology “White Archive” in 3 volumes, in two books, Paris, 1926-1928 (estimate 20,000 rubles).
Also at the auction, it will be possible to acquire autographs of famous Russian writers – Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Mikhail Zoshchenko, - letters, stamps, photographs and cards.

Specialists at the Auction House of the Russian Federation stress the fact that for all the diversity of the lots up for auction, there is one feature that unites them – the price. The initial estimates are lower than average market prices, so at this auction everyone has the chance to acquire a rarity at an advantageous price.