Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2013 Issue

Dorothy Sloan Auction No. 23:  an important sale

Sloananim1

Selected images from Auction No. 23

The Dorothy Sloan Auction No. 23 of Americana approaches. The sale will be on April 4th and 5th, 2013. These sales, one or so a year, are prepared with a care most associated with the skeptic.  Auctions are resurrections, the always-uncertain process of reconfirmation.  Fates will be decided in the rooms but this does not mean that the lawyerly Ms. Sloan will leave any information about the lots in the docket unstated.  She always makes her case and it makes her a creditable advocate for sellers and a trusted source for buyers.  She takes this seriously, as interested for the buyer and always makes the best case for ‘life goes on’ even as title is transferred.  To do this she employs detailed descriptions, a firm starting bid and high estimate.  The starting bid is her view of ‘wholesale’ and the high estimate what she believes is ‘retail’.  She has been doing this a long time and is the Meryl Streep of extraordinary cataloguing, her auction catalogues always among the best of the close to one thousand that are issued each year.  No. 23 is no exception.

Her sale this year, two years in the making, is a 600 lot foray, its focus on Americana with an emphasis on Texas, Mexico, California, the Trans-Mississippi West, and the Borderlands.  “Maps are a strong element, including early maps of America, California as an Island, Delisle’s 1718 Carte de la Louisiane, and the first printed map to name Texas.  Books of course are not over-looked.  Zamorano 80 volumes and plate books as well as important Texas printings are abundant.

Condition runs the gamut from very good to excellent along with a few exceptions for material such as lot 384, an early map of Stockton, California that exists in only a few copies.  For exceptional rarity Ms. Sloan will make the exception.

Befitting Ms. Sloan’s co-commitments to the past and the future the material on offer is consistently appealing and the online catalogue lush, most items illustrated with many images.  The world has shifted and continues to shift but for Ms. Sloan some things never change.  Her catalogues, whatever their forms, are classics at birth.

To this I’ll add two paragraphs from her explanation of the sale –

An intriguing genre of iconography for the West are bird's-eye views, which, as Ron Tyler explains at the Amon Carter Museum web site, are a much neglected source for studying history: "They appear as something between a panoramic view and a map, as though they were drawn by the artist while he was suspended in a hot-air balloon. In fact, they were drawn by hand using, most often, two-point perspective to produce a three-dimensional rendering. The city views are surprisingly accurate." Among such views, we offer Stockton (California, 1870); Laredo (1890); San Diego (1876); Mexico City during the French Occupation (1863-1864); and Colorado Springs & Pike's Peak (1890), the latter exceptionally beautiful and one of the most technically proficient examples of the medium of chromolithography. A related genre is the panorama. Present in the sale is an 1862 nine-foot panoramic 360-degree view of San Francisco from the top of Russian Hill by Gifford.

For collectors who pursue ephemera and the whimsical, some choice items are an 1842 broadside commemorating the burial of Santa Anna's leg during the Pastry War; Siler's rare illustrated pamphlet on boxing (The “Fight of the Century” printed in 1897), a rare Texas pictorial letter sheet with contemporary and illustrated vignettes (including the Alamo and camels in San Antonio during the Great Camel Experiment in the West); and two unrecorded memory games from Mexico with miniature lithographs, one teaching the history of Mexico by examining the life of Santa Anna (including a miniature litho of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto), and another game from ca. 1855-1860 intended to teach children the alphabet by use of the genre of Mexican types and costumes, illustrating occupations and pastimes such as newlyweds, drunks, pickpockets, alms givers, fandango, dentist, etc.

Here are 20 items to consider –

The auction includes about fifty pocket maps, a rare and interesting cartographical genre with a special niche in the map collecting world.

Lot 31. Wellge's exceptionally beautiful bird's-eye view of  Colorado Springs & Pike's Peak in 1890, among the most accomplished examples of chromolithography in the history of the genre. ($5,000-10,000)

Lot 75. Castro's iconic illustrated album Mexico y sus alrededores, this 1863-1864 edition reflecting the short-lived Second Empire in Mexico under Maximilian and France, including Gendarmerie Mexicaine. ($10,000-15,000)

Lot 80. Catherwood's Views of Ancient Monuments (1844). A fine fresh copy of the tinted issue in publisher's original binding.  “In the whole range of literature on the Maya there has never appeared a more magnificent work” - Von Hagen. ($25,000-50,000)

Lot 82. Missa Gothica (Puebla de los Angeles, 1770), Salva's superb copy of one of the most unusual books printed in North America in the 18th century. "A tour de force of graphic arts.” ($10,000-20,000)

Lot 97. Original Archive of Terry’s Texas Rangers, the largest & finest contemporary collection in private hands, including  Major Benjamin Francis Weems' 1851 Navy Colt .36 caliber revolver with engraved Texas Navy naval battle scene on cylinder. ($200,000-300,000)

Lot 125. Three original sketches of Mexico by English artist Daniel T. Egerton in the 1830s. ($20,000-40,000)

Lot 176.  Hernández. Rervm Medicarvm. Rome, 1651. The handsome Doheny copy of the first illustrated edition of Hernández's great natural history of the New World. ($15,000-30,000)

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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