Reproductions of Ayn Rand manuscripts shatter $10,000+.

9 23 14. New York City. Ayn Rand Institute Auction. St. Regis Hotel. 
ARI’s annual dinner at NYC’s opulent St. Regis Hotel was a stunning success for ARI, puncturing price barriers in its auction of Randabilia.
First up was a lot of items called “The Virtue of Selfishness Lot”. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Virtue of Selfishness, this one-of-a-kind collection of items from the Ayn Rand Archives included a paperback copy of VOS from Ayn Rand’s library, a rare photograph of Rand on Wall Street, similar to the one used on the paperback original, and reproductions of a book review and NAL ad (with date inscribed by Ayn Rand). This lot hammered at $4200.

The following lot, “Pictures I like”: NYC Cityscape lot included three items: an image capturing a shrouded New York City, evoking a well-known, hauntingly descriptive passage from Atlas Shrugged:

 “Clouds had wrapped the sky and had descended as fog to wrap the streets below, as if the sky were engulfing the city. She could see the whole of Manhattan Island, a long, triangular shape cutting into an invisible ocean. It looked like the prow of a sinking ship; a few tall buildings still rose above it, like funnels, but the rest was disappearing under gray-blue coils, going down slowly into vapor and space.” —Ayn Rand

Framed alongside was a photo of Rand and her husband, Frank O’Connor, atop Rockefeller Center. This lot hammered at $1700.

Next up was a  reproduction of the the first page  of Rand’s earliest philosophic journal, written eighty years ago when she was 29. Its opening sentences read: “These are the vague beginnings of an amateur philosopher. To be checked with what I learn when I master philosophy—then see how much of it has already been said, and whether I have anything new to say, or anything old to say better than it has already been said.” This page shows Rand’s early focus on religion as the “root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering.”  Handsomely framed with UV-protective museum glass and acid-free mat board (other materials pH neutral), this item, not even an original (which is housed in the Ayn Rand Archives, never to be offered for sale) hammered at $10,000, the highest price ever paid for a reproduction of a single page of Rand in manuscript.
Another reproduction hammered at an even higher price. Rand kept the original (now in the Ayn Rand Archives, never to be sold ) of the 1948 calendar that hung on the wall in her office for many years decades that began as she researched and wrote  Atlas Shrugged. The title of the print is “Trains that Pass in the Night,” by artist C. Gascon.  This reproduction fetched $12,000, the highest amount for any lot that evening.
The final lot interested me most because ARI’s description contained an inaccuracy to which I alerted archivist Jenniffer Woodson. Entitled the “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal lot”, this collection included a signed hardcover of CUI in slipcase, accompanied by an LP record of the “What Is Capitalism?” lecture in magnificent condition, an .mp3 of the lecture on a “gold bar” flash drive, and a one-page reproduction of edited catalog copy.
Because of my decades-long search for signed and rare Ayn Rand, I was able to point out a little known but important inaccuracy of one item’s description, an inaccuracy in ARI’s favor.
While NAL did issue an original Limited Edition of 700 copies of CUI in 1966, all signed and numbered by Rand, the entire series sold out almost immediately. An additional printing of 300 copies, signed by Rand but unnumbered, was ordered for customers who’d already sent in their $10 to purchase the LE. (Had someone purchased all 700 copies or even all 300 copies back then, the return would far surpass an investment in Alibaba!)
I have this item for sale on my web site. Here’s my description: One of Only 300 Copies Signed by the Author. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal – The Limited Edition. New American Library, 1966. “The only system consonant with man’s rational nature.” The rarely available Second Printing of the Limited Edition of Rand’s collection of essays (from The Objectivist Newsletter, 1962–1965). After all 700 copies of the signed, numbered Limited Edition sold, NBI Book Service sent out the following statement to customers who had ordered the LE: “Due to an unprecedented demand, New American Library has agreed to publish a second printing, identical to the first printing except that it will not be numbered. It will be autographed by Ayn Rand.” Not mentioned in Perinn, this copy contains an errata slip bound between signature and title pages. A beautiful, unread copy in a stunning slipcase. PO’s neat bookplate affixed to front pastedown. Missing from most Rand collections. Many more Rand titles, including original handwritten manuscript pages from Atlas Shrugged, available. Book #2004. $3500
It turns out that ARI’s LE signed copy of CUI, was NOT the first printing of this LE, but the second printing, limited to 300 copies, signed by Rand but not #ed. I informed archivist Jenniffer Woodson that what was being offered was actually more valuable and much more scarce than ARI was claiming. This news reached the right parties eventually, including Dr. Brook, who made a brief announcement explaining the greater scarcity of this copy of CUI.  It hammered at $11,000.
(“Perinn” above refers to Vincent Perinn’s meticulously researched book on Rand’s first editions. Entitled Ayn Rand: First Descriptive Bibliography, Pen Ultimate Rare Books has several copies of this essential book for Ayn Rand collectors.)
Also met John Ridpath, whose lecture on “Virginia, The Virginians, and the Founding of America” (1993) was one of the finest lectures I ever purchased. Dr. Ridpath told me a delightful story of asking Ayn Rand to dance when he met her. He exuded warmth and an unparalleled love for teaching.
I set out to meet Dr. Ridpath because earlier, Yaron Brook had announced that a new fund named after him, John Ridpath Fund for New Intellectuals, will be inaugurated shortly. Its purpose is to reach college students at the age where their minds are still questioning. As an educator, I cannot imagine a more worthwhile cause or a more worthy namesake.
If you’ve not yet inferred it, this was a night I’ll not forget.