04 September 2008

Auction from the Estate of Oz’s Biggest Fan

Bloomsbury Auctions in New York is selling Oz material from the Fred M. Meyer estate on 17 September. Fred was probably the biggest Oz fan of the 20th century, and, usually working behind the scenes, had a hand in nearly all the major developments of Oz-book fandom until the 1990s: the founding and running of the International Wizard of Oz Club, the flurry of new Oz titles under Reilly & Lee's new ownership in the early 1960s, Clarkson Potter's approach to young Michael Patrick Hearn to create The Annotated Wizard of Oz, the Oz Club's publishing program, etc.

The auction includes over 800 lots, but only about a third are Oz-related. The items from Fred's estate include:

One quotable item is an unusually lengthy inscription by Baum from a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for a boy he hadn't met:
I hope he will acquire more brains than the Scarecrow, more heart than the Tin Woodman, and more courage than the Cowardly Lion. Still, if he but equals their attainments I feel sure he will win the love and admiration of his fellows. For, if you stop to think of it, there was much wisdom in the Scarecrow, much tenderness in the Tin Woodman, and much real courage in the Lion. And perhaps that was the reason they all wanted more of those admirable qualities.
But here's what I want: Neill's drawing of young Number Nine from The Wonder City of Oz sitting in the Wizard's laboratory. Click on the thumbnail for a closer view. Estimated price: $4-6,000.

After the Oz material, the catalogue's remaining pages offer a look at Avi's real name, a signed first edition of Dr. Seuss's And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Sherwood Anderson's copy of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and a "Group of 7 different cartes-de-visite of cartoons depicting Jefferson Davis dressed as a woman." (I once pitched an article on that historical episode to Cobblestone; never heard back.)

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

The Neill drawing I liked ended up selling for $8,500.