• <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition, in the original wrappers, of the first part of Pushkin’s masterpiece – ‘a bibliographical rarity of the highest order’ (Smirnov-Sokol’skii). £25,000 to £35,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The very rare first edition of Gogol’s first masterpiece and his first obtainable book. £50,000 to £70,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of Dostoevsky's <i>Brat'ia Karamazovy</i> (1830) in a superb contemporary cloth presentation binding. £22,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of the first version of the opening of <i>War and Peace,</i> with the original paper covers. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An early corrected typescript of Akhmatova's <i>Poema bez geroia</i> (July 1946) £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>A presentation copy of the first edition of <i>Kamen</i> (1913) inscribed by Mandel'shtam to his early mentor the poet Viacheslav Ivanov. £60,000 to £90,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>Rare autograph correspondence from Vladislav Khodasevich, including a manuscript of his long poem 'Sorrento Photographs' (1921). £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An important letter from Marina Tsvetaeva to the poet Nikolai Tikhonov (1935) in which she challenges Pasternak and his views on poetry. £12,000 to £18,000
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 45. A complete edition of the rare and popular <i>Mer des Histoires,</i> 1543. Est. $28000 to $35000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 64. Kircher's fascinating cross-section of the earth's interior, 1682. Est. $1600 to $1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 68. Geographical guide to a man's heart with obstacles "clearly marked", 1960. Est. $200 to $300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 75. Jansson's rare carte-a-figures map of the Americas in full original color, 1645. Est. $7000 to $8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 107. Includes famous Gallatin map and portraits of North American Indians, 1840. Est. $900 to $1100
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 231. A hot-air balloon perspective of California's famous Wine Country, 1979. Est. $150 to $180
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 236. Lovely chromolithograph of California Street in San Francisco, 1864. Est. $1000 to $1300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 446. Rare German satirical map of World War I, 1915. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 543. Olearius' important plan of Moscow, 1647. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 660. Robert Walton's scarce, separately-issued carte-a-figures map, 1660. Est. $6000 to $7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 702. Rare engraving of flags from "Le Neptune Francois", 1700.<br>Est. $950 to $1200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 719. Two-volume geographical grammar & dictionary with 20 maps, 1795. Est. $450 to $550
  • <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>A Farewell To Arms,</i> 1929. $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> William Faulkner, <i>Go Down Moses,</i> 1942. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Vanity Of Dulouz,</i> 1968. $250-350
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Gertrude Stein, <i>The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,</i> 1933. $150-250
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> John Steinbeck, Three first editions. Comprising <i>Of Mice and Men, Covici-Friede,</i> 1937. $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Dalton Trumbo, <i>Johnny Got His Gun,</i> 1939. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Evelyn Waugh, <i>Vile Bodies,</i> 1930. $400 to $600
  • <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2015 Issue

How Not to Get Rid of Too Many Old Books

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Books strewn on Route 287 median (Colorado State Patrol photo).

The man dubbed by police the "literary litterbug" has been fined and sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to three counts of littering. Glenn Pladsen of Arvada, Colorado, entered his plea a few weeks back for his unique way of disposing of too many old books. The case baffled troopers and Department of Transportation workers for months. While Pladsen's answer to his problem of owning too many valueless books was unconventional, it does throw light on the issue that others in the book trade face – what to do with thousands of old books nobody wants?

 

Last spring, Colorado Department of Transportation workers began finding old books strewn along Highway 287 in Boulder County. U.S. Route 287 is 1,791 miles long, extending from Port Arthur on the Texas Gulf Coast to Choteau, Montana. The books, however, were concentrated in a four-mile stretch in Boulder County. Most, oddly enough, were found in the median, not along the side as one might expect. They had no idea who or why.

 

Officials weren't terribly amused. While most books were in the median, some landed on the highway, posing a potential safety hazard for drivers. For the rest, it required highway workers to clean up the mess, necessitating lane shut downs to clear them away. The DOT tried equipment to pick them up, but it didn't work. They had to have workers pick them up by hand. There is not a wide, grassy median along this road but only a single-lane stretch of pavement dividing north and southbound traffic, not a safe place for someone to be picking up books by hand. This is why adjacent lanes had to be closed down – to reduce the risk of workers being hit by high speed traffic.

 

At least 600 books were recovered, though there may have been more. Many were paperback romance novels, though many other sorts of books were also found. None appeared to be of much if any value. That was of little surprise as people usually don't toss valuables, particularly in large quantities, in a highway median.

 

Officials sought help from other drivers along the stretch of road and determined the time of day they were being dumped. It gave them an idea when to look. Finally, in April, Trooper Wilder of the Colorado State Patrol observed Pladsen tossing books out the window of his car. The who was answered, though not the why.

 

As annoyed as the State Patrol must have been at Mr. Pladsen, they never lost their sense of humor. In their press release announcing his arrest, the State Patrol noted, "On the surface, this may seem like a petty thing, but you can't judge a book by its cover." They went on to say, "Throughout Trooper Wilder's investigation, he worked with CDOT to ensure we were on the same page. The investigation went strictly by the book... Trooper Wilder threw the book at the driver for six counts of littering from a moving vehicle... and we sincerely hope this is the final chapter in this annoying story."

 

Pladsen pleased guilty to three of the littering counts in return for the other three being dropped. He was ordered to pay $1,725, the estimated clean up and court costs, and perform 30 hours of community service. But... why did he do it?

 

Pladsen gave an interview to the Times-Call, of Longmont, Colorado, and explained his actions this way. He said he acquired thousands of books eight years earlier from a used bookstore in Boulder that went out of business. He intended to sell them online. Unfortunately, he claimed, he couldn't compete with Amazon, so he was stuck with the books. No one wanted them. He couldn't even give them away. He also claimed arthritis prevented him from lifting the books into a dumpster, and long working hours made it difficult to deliver them to a landfill. So he came up with another plan.

 

He worked a few miles up Route 287 as a technician. He would pack some books in his car before going to work, and on his way, he would toss them out the window. This is why they ended up in the median, not on the shoulder. He said he only did it when no other cars were close by, assertedly for safety, but one can imagine not getting caught might have been a factor. Pladsen also claimed he didn't think there was anything wrong with what he was doing. He thought the books would end up in the ditch alongside the road and then somehow disappear. We can be doubtful of that claim, but believe him when he said he had no idea that what he was doing was causing a stir with police and the public. Presumably, if he knew they were looking for him, he would have stopped before getting caught.

 

While Pladsen seems to have made little effort to find legal ways to dispose of his books, his case does reveal a problem. Some booksellers nearing the end of their careers are blessed, or cursed, with large inventories of books. There may be tens of thousands, even more, most of very little value. Some communities have large library fairs that may welcome a lot of them, but most do not, and not even the biggest may be able to accommodate all. When they can't be given away, some cities have recycling opportunities, but many do not. Quantities may be too large for local landfills, or at least not without a hefty disposal fee. It is something to think about, if you are a dealer, or even a "collector," with large numbers of books of little value. It may be easier to dispose of them gradually – not by throwing a few out your car window everyday, but in a more appropriate manner.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>H. Schedel, <i>Buch der Chroniken,</i> 1493. Est: € 120,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Latin and Book of Hours, around 1500. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Biblia latina, Koberger printing 1493. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>P. de Medina, <i>Libro de grandezas,</i> 1549. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>C. J. Trew, <i>Plantae selectae,</i> 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>A. de Laborde, <i>Voyage pittoresque,</i> 1806-20. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>G. Klimt, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> 1931.<br>Est: € 10,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>W. Kandinsky, <i>Klänge,</i> 1913.<br>Est: € 20,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>F. Léger, <i>Les illuminations,</i> 1949.<br>Est: € 2,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by E. Maylander, 1945. Est: € 1,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by G. Cretté, 1934. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>S. Dalí, <i>Après 50 ans des surréalisme,</i> 1974. Est: € 8,000
  • <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> An original copy of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “extending the right of suffrage to women.” $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> William Henry Harrison. Very rare signature as President. $7,500 to $10,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> 24"x32" Signed Image of Alexander Graham Bell. $7,500 to $10,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important Appointment for Harry Woodring as Secretary of War by Franklin D. Roosevelt. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Thomas Edison original patent related to dynamos for electrical lamps. $14,000 to $18,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important 1681 Penn Land Grant to His friend Robert Turner, credited for defining the look of Philadelphia for the next 200 years. $5,000 to $7,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Act of the Second Congress relating to trade with Indians issued by George Washington and signed by Thomas Jefferson. $22,000 to $27,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Document signed, August 15, 1861, appointing Fabius Stanley a Commander in the Navy. $6,500 to $8,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Abraham Lincoln. A fine example of the iconic George Clark ambrotype. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Hector Berlioz. Rare autograph musical quotation signed, seven bars from the “Love Scene” of his choral symphony Romeo et Juliette. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> McKenney & Hall. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>, 1865, Three Volumes. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Rare Honore de Balzac handwritten and signed letter bound in book. $3,000 to $5,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maria Louise Kirk, 4 pen, ink, watercolor & gouache illustrations for <i>Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,</i> 1904. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> H.A. Rey, <i>“Do You Want To Get Across?”</i> colored pencil, charcoal & watercolor, 1939. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Norman Rockwell, <i>The Pharmacist,</i> study for cover of <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1939. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, illustration for Homer’s <i>Odyssey,</i> gouache & watercolor, 1914. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>“And everyone was in his bed,"</i> gouache, watercolor & ink on board, 1961. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Charles M. Shulz, <i>Woodstock is Searching for His Identity,</i> original pen & ink 4-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1972. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> painted collage, 1990. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Jerry Pinkney, <i>The Lion & The Mouse,</i> watercolor & graphite, illustration for <i>School Library Journal,</i> 2009. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maurice Sendak, watercolor & graphite illustration for <i>Little Bear's New Friend,</i> 2001. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Peter Arno, <i>Circus Tricks,</i> ink, wash & watercolor, cover illustration for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1964. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury: <i>“Is Rufus Ready for his Lesson?”,</i> watercolor, pen & ink, circa 1970s. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> GAZA, Theodorus. <i>Introductivae grammatices libriquatuor.</i> Venice: Aldus Manutius, 25 December 1495. €40,000 to 50,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolo. <i>Historie di Nicolo Machiavegli cittadino, et segretario fiorentino</i>... Rome: Antonio Blado, 25 March 1532. €15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> BELLMER, Hans -- ELUARD, Paul. <i>Les Jeux de la Poupée. Illustrés de textes par Paul Eluard.</i> Paris : les Editions Premieres, 1949. €30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> [BONNARD, Pierre] - VERLAINE, Paul. <i>Parallèlement.</i> Paris : Imprimerie nationale & Ambroise Vollard, 1900. €30,000 to 40,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Buffon (G.L.M.L., Comte de). <i>Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux,</i> 10 vol., large paper copy, 973 hand-coloured engraved plates drawn and engraved by Franz Nicolaus Martinet, Paris, 1770-86. £70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Bible (English). The Holy Bible, first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], 1611. £30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Marlborough (John Churchill, 1st Duke of).- [Parker (Robert, army officer)] <i>[Memoirs of the remarkable military transactions from the year 1688 to 1718],</i> ?autograph manuscript, 300pp., [c. 1718]. £20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> France.- Paris.- Turgot (Michel Etienne). <i>Plan de Paris,</i> engraved maps, contemporary red morocco, gilt, Paris, 1739. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Mongolia.- Pallas (Peter Simon). <i>Sammlungen Historischer Nachrichten uber die Mongolischen Volkerschaften,</i> first edition, complete with 31 plates, St. Petersburg, 1776-1801. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Brant (Sebastian). <i>Stultifera Navis... The Ship of Fooles, wherein is shewed the folly of all States...,</i> large woodcut title and numerous woodcuts in the text, [London], [John Cawood], 1570. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Aldus.- Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Il Decamerone,</i> Venice, House of Aldus & Andrea Torresani, 1522. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Wallace (Alfred Russel). 77pp. of Autograph letters (and 1 postcard) to various people, 1894-1904, on various palaeontological, geological and natural history matters. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> DNA.- Watson (James D.) and Francis Crick, <i>Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,</i> 1953 [and others]. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Optics.- Molyneux (William). <i>Dioptrica nova. A Treatise of Dioptricks, in Two Parts,</i> first edition, for Benj. Tooke, 1692. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Economics.- Mississippi & South Sea Bubbles.- <i>Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid,</i> 74 engraved plates and 3 maps, Amsterdam, 1720. £4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Asia.- Clouet (Jean Baptiste Louis). <i>Carte D'Asie Divisée en ses Principaux Etats,</i> engraved map with hand-colouring, on wooden rollers, 1782. £3,000 to 5,000

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