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Chicago Dealer’s Historic Books, Maps To Go Up For Auction

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Kenneth Nebenzahl's Collection Up For Auction

Chicago book and map dealer Kenneth Nebenzahl’s collection will be up for auction April 10 at Christie’s in New York. (Credit: John Cody/WBBM Newsradio/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Christie’s auction house is putting a piece of Chicago on the block next month at Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Chicago book dealer and map scholar Kenneth Nebenzahl is expected to attend an auction of the items he has collected over more than 50 years, which include the Chicago Illustrated book of prints detailing the Windy City before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – a city with European roots still showing.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

“Much more Victorian in character,” Christie’s vice president Thomas Lecky said of the pre-fire Chicago. “We think of Chicago today as a city of great modern architecture, and celebrating the advents of modern thought and architecture, and buildings. This shows how Victorian it was at the time.

Lecky says Chicago Illustrated should bring from $40,000 to $60,000 at auction.

Also among the items is a rare first edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species, and a 16th century atlas of the entire world – the first reordering the globe after voyages of Columbus.

Lecky says the books are to be read, carefully – but without gloves, “because you lose your sensitivity. As long as you have clean hands, it’s much better. You have a tactile sense of turning the pages that does much less damage to the book.”

Lecky says the Battista Agnese atlas should bring between $800,000 and $1.2 million at the auction.

The auction of the Nebenzahl collection is set for April 10 in New York City.

You can view a description and listing of the books, maps and manuscripts up for auction at Christie’s by clicking here.

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