Sydney Rare Book Auctions held their auction 62 (through Invaluable) on Friday 16th April, 2021, again featuring many items from the Ion Idriess estate. Paul Feain and Ellie Aroney (authors of Ion Idriess: An Annotated and Illustrated Bibliography, 2016, amongst other things) were the auctioneers. Bids could be received online prior to the auction and on the day, as well bids from those in attendance on Friday.
There were some handwritten and typed material of drafts of published items by Idriess as well as a number of drafts of unpublished material, most of which went for more than my meagre resources could manage. I was particularly interested in the latter, the unpublished material, and I wonder whether it will sit untouched in some collector's drawer somewhere for years on end, or whether it will actually be published. I'm hoping there will be a Jim Bradly or someone willing to publish, maybe an ETT. Jim Bradly in the Preface to his compilation, Gouger of the Bulletin, mentions a pre-WWI trip that Idriess made to WA, not recorded elsewhere. Perhaps new material, such as this trip, will surface and be published. It would be nice if it did!
There were a number of personal Idriess items in this auction which were sold, such as his pipe, which had an estimate of $100 - $150, but went for an incredible $950 (those bids were smokin'!); and his chess set, which went for $350 (somebody had a big check, mate!).
A number of aboriginal items from Idriess' collection were sold, many probably dating from the 1930's, and mostly going for the estimate or above. I bid online for a stone axe with 3 hafts (or shafts?), probably erroneously listed as New Guinean, but bidding went above my means. I think I was shafted! No doubt others recognized them as aboriginal - and old aboriginal stone axes with hafts are rare and command good prices. This set went for $325, but I wouldn't be surprised if they fetched over $1,000 retail.
I also had bids for a couple of advertising posters for Idriess and his books. I was worried when the first one - a Madman's Island poster - sold for $550 - and above its estimate. That's just mad, man! A smaller Madman's Island advertising leaflet made $150, and then someone outbid me on an Over the Range poster and got it for $100, but then I got a Forty Fathoms Deep poster/leaflet for $60 unopposed, so I was happy to get that, though it is a little soiled, but still nice (I have three Forty Fathoms Deep first editions, one with original cover, so this poster ties in nicely - and it wasn't out of my depth!).
A first edition proof of Sniping signed by Idriess, sold for $650, which was below its estimate and probably a good buy - but not for me - I didn't buy it!
My best Idriess buy of the auction (I did get some other lots) was Idriess's book (How) Must Australia Fight with (somewhat tatty) dustjacket. Well, I think it is - I haven't got it and looked at it yet. I have called it (How) Must Australia Fight, because it features the DJ with a soldier on a horse in front of a blazing globe and the DJ has How Must Australia Fight, though I believe the title page just states, Must Australia Fight. Anyway, it had a starting price of $160, and I was pondering whether I could afford that - or even more, but no-one bid, and then the price was dropped to $100, and I bid and got it, so I was happy!
It was an interesting auction, and there may possibly be more auctions from Sydney Rare Books featuring Idriess' items. I'll start saving up now!