Col­lectible books auc­tion worth the long walk

A rare il­lus­trated copy of Nel­son Man­dela’s prize-win­ning au­to­bi­og­ra­phy will go un­der the ham­mer in Cape Town

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - JAN DE BEER

FOR THOSE scep­ti­cal about the mer­its of books as col­lecta­bles, some of the lots at Stephan Welz & Co’s sale in Cape Town on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day might just change their minds. The lots on of­fer are not from those once ubiq­ui­tous Time-Life col­lec­tions nor Read­ers Digest Con­densed Books.

One book, in par­tic­u­lar, has an as­tound­ing value. But then it is about Nel­son Man­dela, South Africa’s re­spected for­mer leader whose ex­em­plary life has spawned enough mem­o­ra­bilia to vir­tu­ally es­tab­lish an in­dus­try.

Stephan Welz & Co has as Lot 56, Man­dela’s book Long

Walk to Free­dom – and it’s ex­pected to fetch as much as R150 000.

This, how­ever, is not the pa­per­back mil­lions have on their book­shelves.

It’s an il­lus­trated ver­sion, printed by the Lit­tle Brown Com­pany in the UK in 1996, with a print run of only 425 – and it’s num­ber 390 that is on of­fer.

The De Luxe edi­tion is quar­ter bound by hand in Wassa goatskin, with orange boards and gilt de­sign and gilt-edged textblock. The black box case is lined with silk and, to fur­ther boost its value, the lot in­cludes a signed por­trait of Madiba, dated Oc­to­ber 6 1996.

Lani Roux, Stephan Welz & Co’s books spe­cial­ist, says this is an ex­tremely rare edi­tion of the great man’s prize-win­ning au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

“The edi­tion was lim­ited to 425 but only 100 were sold in South Africa. It in­cludes a laid-in com­mis­sioned por­trait of Nel­son Man­dela, taken by Benny Gool, signed and per­son­ally dated by Madiba,” Roux says.

Gool is a South African pho­to­jour­nal­ist who chron­i­cled the life of Man­dela over three mo­men­tous decades. His ar­chive is said to con­tain tens of thou­sands of images of Madiba.

The book to be auc­tioned is de­scribed by Stephan Welz & Co as “un­read and in fine con­di­tion”.

There is only a slight scuff mark from a silk rib­bon on the front of the spine.

Other books on of­fer at the sale with notable pre­sale es­ti­mates in­clude:

Thirteen Dumpy Books for Chil­dren by var­i­ous au­thors which date back to the turn of the 19th cen­tury and in­clude tales such as the

in­trigu­ing Mrs Turner’s Cau­tion­ary Sto­ries (this was the ul­tra-moral­is­tic Vic­to­rian era, af­ter all). The il­lus­trated book could sell for as much as R18 000.

A first edi­tion of An­thony Burgess’ con­tro­ver­sial A Clock­work Orange – a book that the South African gov­ern­ment of the day op­posed as much as it did Man­dela back then. Priced in 1962 at 16 shillings, the book of the film that thou­sands of South Africans se­cretly watched, in 16mm for­mat in pri­vate homes un­der the cover of dark­ness, is ex­pected to sell for up to R30000. The Ship that Sailed to Mars by William Tim­lin should go for R22 000. This is the 1923 first edi­tion of a fan­tasy ad­ven­ture for chil­dren pub­lished in England in 1923 in an edi­tion of only 2 000 copies. The book con­tains 48 colour plates, which al­ter­nate with 48 pages of Tim­lin’s own cal­li­graphic text. It’s the story of an old man who has long dreamed of sail­ing to Mars “by way of the Moon and the more friendly plan­ets”. Now young peo­ple plan to do this – on di­rect flight.

A first edi­tion of good old PG Wode­house’s Mike, printed in 1909. It’s the story of young Mike and his friends who “es­chew cricket and in­dulge in all man­ner of high jinks and ad­ven­tures”. Writ­ten long be­fore Wode­house cre­ated the world’s most fa­mous valet, Jeeves, the story of Mike’s Vic­to­rian fri­vol­ity is ex­pected to fetch up to R60 000.

Other iconic au­thors with books on auc­tion next week in­clude one by William Shake­speare, as well as chil­dren’s book au­thors Lewis Car­roll and Beatrix Pot­ter.

Last, there’s also a 1975 book, Some Afrikan­ers Pho­tographed, by renowned photographer David Gold­blatt.

The lot in­cludes a signed por­trait of Madiba taken by Benny Gool

Long Walk to Free­dom – a de luxe il­lus­trated ver­sion of the Man­dela bi­og­ra­phy – could fetch up to R150 000 at the Stephan Welz & Co auc­tion in Cape Town on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

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