The Constitution is yours

Updated: Feb 10, 2019, 09:16 IST | Jane Borges

A new auction is putting out a rare collection of out-of-print manuscripts

The Constitution is yours
A facsimile copy of The Constitution of India, Price: Rs 60,000-Rs 1 lakh

For seasoned collectors, hunting for rare, unusual texts is always a mix of luck and networking. StoryLTD, a shopping and auction platform, is hoping to make it easier for collectors, with the announcement of a book auction slated for this week, which will see several out-of-print and reference manuscripts on diverse scholarly subjects dating from the 19th century onwards.

The collection, comprising 130 lots, includes works by experts and academics such as Mulk Raj Anand, Karl Khandalavala, George Michell, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Stella Kramrisch, and C Sivaramamurti, and encompass a variety of specialisations including architecture, Indian temples, textiles, arms and armour, photography, miniature art, design, love and erotica, and the visual and performing arts.

Homi Bhabha's artworks, Price: Rs 85,000 — Rs 1,20 lakh
Homi Bhabha's artworks, Price: Rs 85,000 — Rs 1,20 lakh

"Our intent was to offer various rare reference books by specialists in various fields at attractive price points. The books in the auction, while ideal for those looking to build thematic collections, are also utilitarian and useful for researchers, enabling them to source desired volumes in a single place. This auction has been designed to create interest in book collecting by overcoming the price hurdle often associated with the act of collecting. Bidding on select lots begins at as low as R600," said a spokesperson from StoryLTD.com.

Among the top lots is an "immaculate copy" of The Constitution of India in its original delivery case (lot 103). This copy carries the printed signatures of the framers of the Constitution, and also includes 22 drawings by eminent Indian artist Nandalal Bose, under whose guidance the original Constitution was illustrated.

The other lot features artworks by renowned nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha, estimated at R85,000 – R1.2 lakh. "These books show us that Homi Bhabha was also an accomplished painter and an exceptional portraitist. Growing up, he took art lessons in the old academic style from MrJehangir Lalkaka, and won several prizes for artists under 18 in the annual exhibitions of the Bombay Art Society. One of his prize-winning works is published as Plate 1 in Homi Bhabha as Artist: A Selection of His Paintings, Drawings, and Sketches (lot 78), and is a self-portrait he created at the age of 17. The single portfolio (lot 78) consists of nine portrait studies, including notable personalities in the spheres of science and art. Being a part of many networks enabled him to choose people from diverse professions and backgrounds whenever he wanted to create a portrait study," the spokesperson added.

The portfolio was published by Marg Publications and has nine plates, including The Painter Husain, 1961 (a portrait of MF Husain).

Among other highlights are volumes of historical interest, such as publications by The Archaeological Survey of India, The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, and vintage government publications.

What: Auction of rare books
Where: storyltd.com
When: February 13 and 14
For Details: saffronart.com

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