Sale of the week: Sunset Boulevard’s Book Soup

Sale: Book Soup: property from the estate of Glenn Goldman

Location: Bonhams & Butterfields, 7601 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, tel: +1 323 850 7500

Date: Sunday (August 22). On view on Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday. Sale starts 10am. Telephone bidding service available. Online catalogue at

Need to know: From Muhammad Ali to The Doors and from Hunter S Thompson to Tom Stoppard – they’ve all signed books at Book Soup. The legendary store on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard captured the area’s zeitgeist from the moment it was founded in 1975 by 24-year-old UCLA graduate Glenn Goldman.

Despite the research he put into its location, Goldman struggled for 20 years to make Book Soup pay, and ended up living in the back of the shop and selling possessions to keep it afloat. Years of shaky finances did nothing to diminish the store’s popularity among book lovers, who were drawn by its teetering piles of books.

This sale follows Goldman’s death last year from pancreatic cancer at the age of 58, and features a few hundred books from his personal collection.

Highlights: An earlier selection of Goldman’s books sold by Bonhams in June included a first edition of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that made $4,500 and a first edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, signed by both Hunter S Thompson and its illustrator Ralph Steadman, that fetched $3,900.

The volumes on offer now are mostly estimated at $500 and below, and reflect Goldman’s wide-ranging interests. Many are inscribed to him by their authors, such as a group of Steadman books, including two with sketches of Goldman by Steadman ($200-$400). From a selection of Helmut Newton works are a copy of Portraits inscribed “For Glenn, onward and upward for Greater Sales and FAME, Helmut Newton, 23.12.1987” and a copy of Big Nudes with the dedication “For Glenn and his great Book Shop”.

First editions of Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Man With the Golden Gun will be offered, along with Kingsley Amis’s 1965 James Bond Dossier for $300-$500, while one of the 2,500 copies of Leni Riefenstahl’s large-format photographic book Africa is estimated at $250-$350. A similarly conservative estimate ($100-$150) has been applied to Playboy: The Complete Centrefolds, inscribed by Hugh Hefner, complete with its original vinyl briefcase.

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