Christie’s to Auction Giant Lot of Nabokoviana

Dmitri Nabokov has consigned 111 lots of Nabokoviana–books (inscribed/signed/lepidopterized/annotated) and personal belongings–to Christie’s, London, South Kensington, for auction on 13 June.

See the details and an ecatalog at Christie’s.

Some thoughts:

That’s a lot of Nabokov lots—112 of them (including the outlier, lot 281, not from Dmitri Nabokov). I think Dmitri has made the same mistake again—consigning too much at once. I certainly understand the desire to create excitement by offering so many eye-watering items at the same time. But I doubt the market can bear the load.

And those prices! So out of line with the marketplace. Only one explanation: Start everything attractively low to pull in the bidders and then let their desires and enthusiasms push up the prices. But I am certain that some lots at affordable prices will sneak through. I’ve got my eyes on a few, but only if…

I think a tip-off on the reasoning on the prices is the plain and lonesome non-DN lot #281 of his Russian Mashen’ka at US$6100-9000. That is ridiculously high for such a beat up copy. It will never sell. Obviously, the consignor thought very differently than Dmitri.

Whatever the case, I’ve just ordered my copy of the catalog.

Be aware that on the Christie’s website, the online list isn’t complete. It shows only 52 lots. Look at the electronic version of the catalog instead, starting on p. 97.

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