The Best of Sherlock Holmes

 

Three Conan Doyle Manuscripts at Auction:
Swann 2015 Sale Information

By Randall Stock, March 19, 2015  (revised)

 

Swann Galleries sold three manuscripts for short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on March 19, 2015.  Not seen at auction for nearly 50 years, they came from the collection of Milton R. Slater and went for well above the pre-sale high estimate.

 

Through the Veil - first 5 manuscript lines

Index


 

Through the Veil Manuscript Description

 

Lot 185: Autograph Manuscript Signed of "Through the Veil"

Headed on first page as "Through the Veil." An earlier title, "A Cast Backwards," appears below it and has been crossed out. Signed at end as "A Conan Doyle | Crowborough". Not dated, but probably 1910 or early 1911.

 

Written in ink on the rectos only of six sheets of ruled paper measuring 12.75 x 8 inches, with some corrections and insertions by the author.  Pages numbered in pencil at upper right.  The upper edge of the first and last page shows a paper clip stain, and there is faint scattered foxing.  Not bound.  See below for a photo of the manuscript of "Through the Veil."

 

Internal story references show that Conan Doyle composed this tale after 1904.  He wrote a number of stories from 1909 to early 1911 involving the Roman empire, and "Through the Veil" probably dates from the latter part of this period.

 

Unlike most of his short stories, "Through the Veil" did not appear in the Strand Magazine. Indeed, no one has reported any periodical publication of this tale prior to its inclusion in a book. It was first collected in The Last Galley, which was published on April 26, 1911.  In the preface to that volume, Conan Doyle described these historical tales as experiments combining the actual facts of history with fictitious characters and conversations in a way that "the actual drama of history and not the drama of invention should claim the attention of the reader."

 

Pre-sale estimate: $3,000 - $4,000

Price Realized: $6,500 (including buyer's premium)

 

Provenance:

Previously owned by the author's son Denis Conan Doyle (19091955).  Sold as lot 18 at Parke Bernet on November 22, 1955.  From the collection of Milton R. Slater (19182014).

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Through the Veil Manuscript Photo

 

Through the Veil photo: top of manuscript page 1

Top of first page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "Through the Veil"

 

See also the Swann photo of the last manuscript page in the Swann online catalogue.

 

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The Nightmare Room Manuscript Description

 

Lot 186: Autograph Manuscript Signed of "The Nightmare Room"

Headed on first page as "The Nightmare Room," with a note at upper left for the typist to send two copies to the author at room 218 of the Grosvenor Hotel. Signed at end as "A Conan Doyle | Crowborough."  Not dated, but probably 1921.

 

Written in ink on the rectos only of eight sheets of pale yellow paper measuring 10.5 x 8.25 inches, with some corrections and insertions by the author.  Pages numbered in pencil at upper right.  The upper edge of the first and last page shows a paper clip stain.  Not bound.  See below for a photo of the manuscript of "The Nightmare Room."

 

Conan Doyle often sent his manuscripts to be typed, and marginal notes similar to the one at the top of the first page appear on many of his manuscripts. He wrote a number of letters to the press while staying at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, including one in The Daily Express newspaper of November 4, 1921. However, that date is too near the Strand's December publication to reflect when he wrote this story.

 

This tale first appeared in the December 1921 Strand Magazine with two illustrations by S. Seymour Lucas, and then in the August 1922 number of Hearst's International (NY) with three illustrations by W. T. Benda.  It was published in book form in Tales of Terror and Mystery (1922), and then in 1925 in America under the title The Black Doctor and Other Tales of Terror and Mystery, which was part of a six volume set.

 

Pre-sale estimate: $3,000 - $4,000

Price Realized: $11,250 (including buyer's premium)

 

Provenance:

Previously owned by the author's son Denis Conan Doyle (19091955).  Sold as lot 17 at Parke Bernet on November 22, 1955.  From the collection of Milton R. Slater (19182014).

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The Nightmare Room Manuscript Photo

 

The Nightmare Room photo: top of manuscript page 1

Top of first page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "The Nightmare Room"

 

See also the Swann photo of the last manuscript page in the Swann online catalogue.

 

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The Parish Magazine Manuscript Description

 

Lot 187: Autograph Manuscript Signed of "The Parish Magazine"

Headed on first page as "The Parish Magazine." Signed at end as "A Conan Doyle | Crowborough." Not dated, but probably 1930.

 

Written in ink on the rectos only of eleven sheets of pale green paper measuring 10 x 8 inches, with some corrections and insertions by the author.  Pages numbered in ink at upper center, with the last few pages unnumbered.  Sheets contain a spindle hole at upper left as is common on many Conan Doyle manuscripts, and there are horizontal folds.  Not bound.  See below for a photo of the manuscript of "The Parish Magazine."

 

When Conan Doyle died on July 8, 1930, several stories that he'd written had yet to be published. "The Parish Magazine" was already at press and appeared in the August 1930 Strand Magazine with two illustrations by S. Abbey.  It was later included in A Century of Humour (1934), edited by P. G. Wodehouse.

 

Pre-sale estimate: $3,000 - $4,000

Price Realized: $10,400 (including buyer's premium)

 

Provenance:

Previously owned by the author's son Denis Conan Doyle (19091955).  Sold as lot 26 at Parke Bernet on November 22, 1955.  From the collection of Milton R. Slater (19182014).

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The Parish Magazine Manuscript Photo

 

The Parish Magazine photo: top of manuscript page 1

Top of first page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "The Parish Magazine"

 

See also the Swann photo of the last manuscript page in the Swann online catalogue.

 

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Other Conan Doyle Lots

 

This auction includes several other lots with Conan Doyle material.

 

Lot 184: Arthur Conan Doyle Autograph Letter Signed to Grant Richards, circa 1899, about publishing A Duet

Price Realized: $3,250 (including buyer's premium)

 

Lot 188: Arthur Conan Doyle Autograph Letter Signed to Woodward, 5 October no year

Price Realized: $1,430 (including buyer's premium)

 

Lot 189: Arthur Conan Doyle, 4 Autograph Letters Signed.

Price Realized: $7,280 (including buyer's premium)

 

See their online general sale catalogue for details and photos of all these lots.

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Swann Catalogue & Sale Information

 

Swann provides an online catalogue for this sale (2376) with brief descriptions and a large photograph from each lot.

 

See their web listing for Lot 185: "Through the Veil" for a large photo of the last page of that manuscript, and click the Next Lot button to see photos of the other manuscripts.

 

Swann also has a Flash-based ("3D") version of their printed catalogue.  However, the website catalogue (linked above) provides better photos and has the same information.

 

Their print catalogue includes the same large photos for each Conan Doyle lot that you see in their website catalogue.  The printed version is $35 and you can order it online.  Be sure to select Sale 2376 for March 19, 2015 (Autographs).

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Sale Results

All the Conan Doyle material sold, and at more than the high estimate. See the lot entries above for exact prices realized. Results from the Swann online catalogue at 9:00 pm EDT on March 19.

 

Sale Information

Autographs auction (Sale 2376)

Thursday March 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm

 

Swann Auction Galleries

104 East 25th Street

New York, NY 10010

Phone: (212) 254-4710

 

The buyer's premium is 25% of the hammer price on the first $100,000.

 

Pre-sale Viewing

Monday March 16: 10am-6pm

Tuesday March 17: 10am-6pm

Wednesday March 18: 10am-6pm

Thursday March 19: 10am-noon

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Acknowledgements and Page History

 

Photos Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

 

My thanks to Marco Tomaschett and Alexandra Nelson at Swann for additional details and photos of the manuscripts.

 

The first version of this report appeared February 26, 2015. It was revised and sale results were added on March 19, 2015.

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Related Pages

 

Checklist of non-Sherlockian Conan Doyle Manuscripts

 

Census of Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts

 

News Archive for Conan Doyle Manuscripts

 

Other Conan Doyle rarities like Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887 and Sidney Paget drawings.

 

Lists of each year's best Sherlock Holmes books & DVDs, the most famous Sherlock Holmes quotes, and more Top 10 Lists.

 

 

 

Return to Manuscripts Home page and Introduction

 


 

Vers. 2.0dx-RN Original work
Copyright 2015  Randall Stock. All Rights Reserved.