• <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. December 7, 2016</b>
  • <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Important Aviation Archive w/The Contract For First Trans-Pacific Flight. Est. $30,000-$50,000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Albert Einstein Signed Photo. Est. $2500-$3500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Dodgson’s own copy of <i>The Hunting of the Snark</i>, signed and dated by the author the day after publication with original photo. Est. $10,000-$12,000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Abraham Lincoln Early Legal Brief. Est. $3500-$4000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> The Beatles: Autographs of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison and more 60's Groups. Est. $3000-$2500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Hector Berlioz Rare AMQS. Est. $4000-6000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Renoir, Autograph Letter Signed. Est. $2700-3500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Ferdinand and Isabella, Manuscript Document Signed. Est. $6000-9000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Lincoln-Douglas Debates Signed by William Howard Taft. Est. $1400-$1600.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Stunning Vintage Amelia Earhart Signed Photo. Est. $2000-$2500
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Marilyn Monroe's Hair From her hair dresser. Est. $1200-$1800.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Babe Ruth Signed Album with Others Sports and Entertainment Stars of the 20s. Est. $1800-2500.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CURTIS, EDWARD. <i>Original glass plate photograph, Honovi – Walpi Snake Priest, prepared by Curtis for the printing of The North American Indian</i>, c.1910
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (AMERICAN WEST.), Watkins, Taber, Savage, and others. <i>Magnificent Album of Mammoth Photographs of the American West, with other subjects various</i>, ca. 1865-1880s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. <i>Carte-de-visite Photograph Album</i>. Down, Kent, 1871-1879
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (SECRET SERVICE). <i>The photographic archive, papers, and relics of William Kennoch, Secret Service Agent</i>. Various places, 1870s and 1880s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (AMERICAN REVOLUTION). STONE, BALTUS. <i>Daguerreotype Portrait of Baltus Stone</i>. [Philadelphia], 1846
  • <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. Est: $70,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> The Present State of the British Colonies in America / The Hillsborough Colonial Returns. Est: $100,000-150,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon. Palymra, NY: 1830. First edition. Est: $30,000-50,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Declaration of Independence - Early Newspaper Printing. The Pennsylvania Journal. Est: $125,000-225,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Space - Iran, Photographs and signed items from the Apollo-Suyuz mission, Skylab I, II & III, and the 1976 Tehran F.A.I. Conference. Est: $6,000-9,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Edward Sherriff Curtis, Canon de Chelly, 1904. Est: $10,000-15,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Simon Bolivar, An inscribed portrait of El Libertador. Lima: 1823. Est: $2,000-3,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Orson Welles, Signed color photograph of Welles smoking a cigar. Est: $2,500-3,500
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Bill Brandt, Henry Moore in his Studio, Hertfordshire, 1946. Est: $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> John Wilkes Booth, Autograph letter signed Washington: 14 Nov 1864. Est: $50,000-80,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale. New York: 1851. First American edition. Est: $20,000-30,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> The Beatles, Ed Sullivan Show cue sheet, signed by each member of the group. Est: $10,000-15,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2014 Issue

In the Cathedral of the Shawangunks


Back when the world was small, when the trip from Ohioville to New Paltz in rural New York State was a one mile school bus ride the edges of my world ran from New Jersey far to the south, Pleasant Valley to the east, Kingston to the north and the Shawangunk Mountains to the west.  I was seven more or less [in 1953] and understood all roads ended where five dollars of gas ran out or the car broke down.  My mother’s woody Chevrolet was a big improvement on her 1937 Buick that had required a stout leg to depress the clutch.  Armored cars today weigh less than that svelte beauty that was my mother’s first car.  Of necessity you knew every garage in southern Ulster County because you needed them when the car started sputtering.


In the mid 1950’s my parents, Adelaide [AKK] and Tom, who published weekly newspapers in Highland in a hogarthian maze of mostly cast-me-down linotypes and presses, also printed the occasional newspaper for the Lake Minnewaska Mountain Houses that were owned by the A. H. Smiley family and run by Ken Phillips, a local man risen from a job in the hotel’s garages in the late 1920s to become owner in the 1950s.  In that era the two wooden Minnewaska hotels, Cliff House and Wildmere, were substantial and aging, freighted with style, signal witnesses to their extraordinary history but well past their peaks.


That Ken and his wife Lucille would come to own Minnewaska seemed a remote impossibility in the 1940's but Alfred Fletcher Smiley and his wife Ruth, who were carrying substantial debt, had no adult heirs capable of operating the resort.  As his interest was personal financial continuity, Smiley sold the corporation's common stock to the Phillips family who thereby assumed the debt and allowed the Smileys to maintain their resort lifestyle.  It was in effect a leveraged buy-out before the term was coined two decades later and Smiley would receive additional payment from the resort's cash flow.  In this way one of the greatest American real estate assets of its and any era changed hands.  The quality of the land assets was unquestioned even as the ability to generate sufficient cash flow from them always seemed in jeopardy.  Beauty and cash flow in that era were not strongly linked and Minnewaska’s location was always just a little far and the roads just a little too steep when it snowed, to support year-round use.  The hotels were open from May to September and the Phillips needed luck and good weather to earn enough to pay the Smileys and carry the entire enterprise forward into the next year.  But for a while they did.  


The value of the properties’ 10,700 acres that ran along the Shawangunk ridge and flowed west toward Cragsmoor was not an issue while real estate taxes were low.  The land was difficult to develop for these scenic mountains were granite but the property supported in addition to the two hotels on Lake Minnewaska, for a time, a variety of large homes, boarding houses and a summer camp on Lake Awosting.  Both Lake Awosting and Lake Minnewaska provided all of the water for the developments that surrounded them.  But real estate taxes in that era were becoming important to communities as their principal way to raise revenue to fund schools, build and maintain highways and support municipal services.  Local options were otherwise restricted and so the taxes rose.  Minnewaska, as one of the largest parcels in New York State and setting in many districts saw its taxes and fees rise steadily.


To the north other Smiley descendants, who owned an adjoining parcel, Mohonk, were also facing tax problems and therefore established a trust and shifted a significant percentage of their 4,000 + acres to it, thereby sheltering themselves from these increasingly ruinous taxes.  The Phillips family, by the late 1960s was borrowing against their land holdings, and thereafter could not transfer any of their land into a similar trust to reduce the rising tax burden because the entire property secured the borrowing.  Their bank, the First National Bank of Highland, was cooperative but as the loans became non-performing the Phillips faced certain foreclosure.  This pressure ultimately led to the creation of the Minnewaska State Park as alternative development options [including redevelopment of the Minnewaska Resort in cooperation with the Marriott Corporation] became ensnared in state procedures and environmental achivism. 

This was a sad story and a particularly difficult outcome for the Phillips’ son Ken, someone I knew well in the 1960’s into the mid 1970s.  This was going to be his empire and should have been.


This past month, staying in Gardiner nearby the now Minnewaska State Park and there to see my brother and hike the Minnewaska trails as I have most of the past 60 summers, that day I drove west through the rock-cut at the hair-pin turn on Route 44-55 on my way to visit the Ulster County Historical Society and chanced to see first one and then a second sign for an antique shop and, given I was running early, reversed course to see what kind of things might be emerging from that section of the county known as the Trapps.


This was an area I knew well.  I had spent six months at Camp Laurel on Lake Awosting in the mid 1950s, where my brother and I were walled off from the catastrophes my father was descending into.


In from the main highway the shop was set back into the woods and down a rolling hill, two people clear in my view as I approached, my mind instantly deciding the proprietor was the lady but I would be wrong.  Approaching, I slowed to view debris assembled for sale, all of it seeming to be remnants of the Minnewaska I had known decades earlier; large mowers and other oversized pieces that once kept the place groomed and clear.  To my left was a hay wagon of miscellaneous parts and kitchen things and to one side a few books.  Four of them were familiar to me as “Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors, Ulster County, New York.”  These were annual editions from the 1950s, each of them 400 pages bound in hard cover.  My parents had type set and printed two of these annual editions in the 1950s and I wondered if these were my parents' editions.


In fact one was!  It was the 1956 edition, one my father had told me was only printed in 5 copies, was and I noticed my parents' indicia on the title page; "The Hudson Valley Newspapers, Inc."  My parents had bled to complete these editions and later could not speak of them without adding, “I need a drink.”  Life for my parents would never later be harder.  This had been their bottom, my father resorting to drinking and driving dangerously, my mother waiting through an endless series of accidents for an end one way or the other, these books the testing of their communal will and personal sanity.  My father, between 1955 and 1957 totaled 7 cars and should have died but did not.  Those books, the only complete books they ever attempted were the capstone of those troubled years and finding one of them seemed a benediction and a request that I, after these many decades, forgive him.  He damaged my mother but harmed me more deeply.  By his last crashed car I was ten.


In New Paltz where we lived in that era not much was secret.  My father made it home from his last accident drunk and damaged.  At 6:00 am, the police were at our door, our family doctor who had come over during the night, blocked the entrance to where my father was sleeping and wouldn’t let them see that he was drunk.  I can still hear him saying “he can not be disturbed.”    


Later Dr. DeWitt would press my father about his drinking and responsibilities and for the following 17 years until my father passed away in 1974 at the age of 61, he did not drink and drive again.  In 1969 the McKinney children, Linda, Craig and myself arranged for our parents with the help of the Phillips, to take the long carriage ride from Minnewaska to Lake Awosting and we celebrated their 30th anniversary there with them.  Minnewaska and Awosting are that deep in our bones and DNA.


Now looking away and walking straight ahead I said “so how much for the rubble on the cart?”  The proprietor, an aging but fit man, gestured toward the books I had briefly examined and said a dollar a book to which I said, “that’s absurd” and then after a pause, “I won’t pay less than $20, to which he said “hey McKinney?” and I slowed down enough to let it set in that the voice was that of Ken Phillips, Jr., who I had last seen more than forty years ago.


The volume I wanted he would accept no payment for at all and I have since sent him a check for $75 for the three other volumes in the series I saw that day.


Two days later we met again, this time, to walk what is now the Minnewaska State Park, taking a brisk 10-mile hike out past Lake Minnewaska on the Hamilton Point Trail toward Lake Awosting and then returning by the Castle Point Road.  Sharing that afternoon with us was Malcolm Todd, another 1950s Camp Laurel camper who had come over from Connecticut for the day.  Ken, with a voice that falls away, relived the history of this place, stopping to remember his mother’s favorite view and other spots of near and actual disaster.  He is the living history of this storied place and I came away thinking I will make it my business to see he and his parents receive permanent recognition for their 30-year stewardship.  He did not come to own these mountains after all but they are of him and he of them.


Looking back, with the 1956 edition of the Ulster County Board of Supervisors back home in San Francisco and at this moment just to my left, I can remember what was and let the past go even though just six months ago I told my brother and sister I never would.  And now, after a chance encounter with an old friend and a personally important very rare book, I have made peace with my father’s memory. 


All wounds, that aren’t fatal, heal.  This is the deepest message of this sacred place.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Cook’s <i>Voyages</i>, 1773-1785, complete set with Atlas volume. $40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Henry Warre, <i>Sketches in North America</i>, 1848, first edition, hand-colored.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Catlin’s <i>North American Indian Portfolio</i>, 1875. $40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> John Torrey Morse’s <i>The American Statesman</i>, autograph edition, extra-illustrated with original signed documents.<br>$35,000-55,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> McKenney & Hall’s <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>, folio, three volumes, 1837-1844. $35,000-55,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> John Webber’s <i>Views in the South Seas</i>, 1820, hand-colored plates. $30,000-50,000
    <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> A Collection of Eight Signed Letters, Some Men of Fame Autograph Collection.<br>$35,000-40,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> George Washington Signed Letter inviting Senator John Laurance to John Adams’s Presidential swearing in ceremony. $30,000-40,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Elizabeth, Empress of Russia Coronation Festival Book, St. Petersburg, 1744. $30,000-40,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Civil War-era album with more than 130 signatures, including 18 presidents, 1864-2010.<br>$60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Claude Monet, Autograph Letter Signed, to friend and art critic Gustave Geffroy, 1891.<br>$6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>George Washington, partly-printed Document Signed as Commander-in-Chief, a military discharge, 1783. $7,000 to 10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Clarence Darrow, Typed Letter Signed, inviting attorney Frank Spurlock to join him during the Scopes Trial, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>J.D. Salinger, Autograph Letter Signed, "Jerry," offering consolation, 1972. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Poster Signed by each member of The Beatles near the inkblot he most resembles, 1964. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Photograph Signed by The Three Stooges, additionally inscribed by Moe, 1930s. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Jules Verne, Photograph Signed and Inscribed, 1900. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Thomas Jefferson, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, admitting Vermont into the Union, 1791. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>George Washington, lottery ticket signed "G:Washington," 1768.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Muhammad Ali, Signed & Inscribed Photograph and Typed Letter Signed, 1967. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Lou Gehrig, Photograph Signed & Inscribed (lower signatures printed), 1931. $3,500 to $5,000.
  • <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés in association with Sotheby’s:<br>The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>From the Pre-Romantics to 1900<br>November 8 and 9, 2016</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby's Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Gustave Flaubert. Par les Champs et les Grèves (Voyage en Bretagne). <i>[Croisset, 1847]</i>, 3 January 1848.<br>Est. €400,000–600,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Victor Hugo. La Légende des Siècles. <i>Paris, 1877</i>. Est. €60,000–80,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Charles Baudelaire. Les Fleurs du Mal. <i>Paris, 1857</i>.<br>Est. €100,000–150,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Arthur Schopenhauer. Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. <i>Leipzig, 1819.</i><br>Est. €40,000–60,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés in association with Sotheby’s:<br>The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>From the Pre-Romantics to 1900<br>November 8 and 9, 2016</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass. <i>Brooklyn, New York, 1855</i>.<br>Est. €40,000–50,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Oscar Wilde. The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by C.3.3. <i>London, 1898.</i><br>Est. €10,000–15,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Fyodor Dostoyevsky. [Crime and Punishment]. <i>Saint Petersburg, 1867.</i> Est. €30,000–40,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Leo Tolstoy. [War and Peace]. <i>Moscow, 1868-1869</i>. Est. €20,000–30,000.

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