Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2016 Issue

All the Stock is Gone, at least for a time

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Someone wanted the books

Larry Van de Carr of Chicago, a trusting soul and ABAA member, drove his 2008 Econoline panel van west for the recent ABAA fair in Pasadena to participate in the sturm und drang of a serious book fair and then, a few days later, experienced the bookman’s dream [or nightmare], to see every item he brought from the windy city disappear.  The word on the show is that is was a bit quiet, most dealers bringing home the biggest part of what they brought.  We have no word on how he did at the fair but he did manage to lose every book he still had when he arrived in Oakland, California. 

 

Here’s how.

 

Locally we are a skeptical lot and know that parking on the street is tantamount to inviting a break-in.  For evidence of this one only needs to look at the number of specialists who burrow under homes to build concrete safety deposit boxes to house the family cars.  Some cost as much as a first edition of Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.  Garages in northern California today are a big business because the streets are no longer safe.  Mr. Carr was apparently unaware, and being a Chicago innocent and unschooled in the every day public delinquency of the Bay Area, blithely drove north from Pasadena into the Bay Area’s Oakland Maw, to visit friends and park on the street over night.  Alas no, fate lurked nearby and the man’s truck and treasure evaporated into thin air.

 

Shock, shock and good grief for good measure.

 

It is not often that the fact that rare books are difficult to sell is a good thing.  In fact it never happens although it did in this case.  You see, rare books are frequently well described and their details widely accessible in the trade.  So when a few of the missing books were offered to Moe’s in Berkeley they were suspicious because book collectors are an ancient breed and the gentleman offering the material was both young and unschooled.  Was this the young collector the field has been looking for for a generation?  Nope.  Subsequently the would-be seller was introduced to the men in blue and taken into custody.

 

As for the rest of the missing $350,000 of inventory there is no word yet.  One suspects the truck was more the target than its contents.  The books, according to a story on the Berkeleyside website, were uninsured and probably for good reason.  Such books these days have trouble finding new homes.

 

Had Mr. Carr ventured into San Francisco he would have seen this first hand.  Random homes now sport large birdcage sized enclosures on the sidewalk with the sign – Lending Library – encouraging passersby to take or leave a book.  And he would also probably have learned that medical marijuana is legal here for people who have headaches.  And of course he now has one.   

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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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