Rare Hawaiian surfing book expected to fetch $40K
Costa Mesa, Calif. • A book about surfers in the early 1900s is expected to sell for about $40,000.
A copy of "The Surf Riders of Hawaii" will go before bidders Saturday at the Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction. The auction will include more than 60 vintage surfboards and other items.
The book is one of eight made by hand by A.R. Gurrey Jr. between 1911 and 1915. Gurrey is considered the father of surf photography. The book helped spread surfing's appeal from Hawaii to the mainland.
It is composed of six leaves of heavy brown woven paper, with eight mounted gelatin-silver photographs of native Hawaiians surfing Waikiki. Among them is Duke Kahanamoku, the Olympic medalist swimmer who helped popularize the sport.
There are three pages of text featuring eight black-and-white silver prints and the poem "Childe Harold" by Lord Byron.
Gurrey initially made the books to sell in his local art shop on what was then a desolate Waikiki Beach. This copy of the book was found by Gurrey's family in his personal belongings. A copy of the book sold at Sotheby's for $37,500 last year.
This auction will be presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Organizers hope to raise about $200,000 for the Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center in San Clemente.
"This museum is working very hard to keep the culture and history of surfing alive and well," said Peter Mel, director of marketing for the Quiksilver Waterman Collection. He is also the 2013 Mavericks Invitational champion and the Big Wave World Tour champion.
"This auction is one of the first of its kind in California," he added. "They've done it in Hawaii. It allows collectors in California to be here and not travel all the way to Hawaii."
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