Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2012 Issue

Collecting Possibilities Beyond Books

Constitution

Victory of USS Constitution over HMS Guerriere in War of 1812. Courtesy the Navy Museum

Collecting in the works on paper category has over the years become both easier and more complex.  What was for many collectors once the collecting of rare books has become the collecting of rarities in all the printed forms with an increasing openness to items in related fields.  If you wonder if you are open to possibilities well beyond rare books consider this.

Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers of Philadelphia offered on April 30th 13 lots of mostly American naval flags and pennants from the Collection of H. Richard Dietrich Jr.  The first twelve lots were an extravagant group of flags that once flew on or were associated with the USS Constitution.  The 13th lot was a 13 star flag that did not sell.

Let’s set the stage.

Through the efforts of President George Washington the USS Constitution was completed in 1797.  It was one of 6 original frigates authorized for by the Naval Act of 1794 and the 3rd and final one constructed, in time becoming the lone survivor of this early effort to build a United States Navy.  Over her career she would serve in many theatres and be flagship for the Mediterranean and African Squadrons in the 1840s.  It was primarily during this period that the flags in this collection, lots 1-12, were used.  Some are dated by the number of stars, others by notes included with the items.   In that era, but only after 1818, was it mandated to update American flags each July to reflect changes in the number of States by the addition of stars.

During her career many flags were constructed for use on the USS Constitution, their bunting fabric being very thin to encourage them to open up and be visible but also leading to shortened lives.    Their dimensions and designs differed from flag maker to flag maker although the elements; red and white stripes and white stars on a blue background were common to all.    For flags on ships early examples were often sewn and repaired onboard, they ephemeral objects, their survival unexpected.  The few that survive show age and most wind wear.  They are all rare.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

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