Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2016 Issue

Buying Every Day

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Chance encounters are an important aspect of collecting

On a recent day on eBay there was an interesting mix of Hudson River Valley material.

 

Post card of Zepf’s Hotel & Restaurant [near Poughkeepsie].  Buy it now $18.50

 

An engraving of Esopus Landing [1853].  Buy it now $39.99

 

Village of Newburgh, New York Bond for Sewer Work on Smith Street [1888].   Auction start:  $14.99

 

The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames [1862].  Buy it now $99.95

 

Antique Daguerreotype, D T Lawrence, Newburgh NY.   $14.95 Auction start:  $14.95

 

Native American Arrow/Point, Greene, Late Woodland Leaf, Ulster County, NY Auction start:  $10.29

 

Vintage St. John’s Costume Dance Photograph, Kingston, Ulster County.  Buy it now $34.95

 

The Beginnings of New York by Mary Isabella Forsyth [1909] Buy it now:  $49.95

 

Vintage 1930s Kingston NY Boxing Photo.  Buy it now:  $43.96

 

The material is interesting because it generally closely relates to what I collect, is random and continuing.  There is no particular holiday or event to prompt these listings.  They are simply, more or less, what regularly shows on eBay in searches relating to the Hudson River Valley.  I’m sure the same is true for the gamut of collecting possibilities.  The first time you look you’ll be quite impressed.   Over the next month you’ll see the possibilities slowly change and occasionally, perhaps once a month, see a few things that are remarkable.  And once a year you’ll make a spectacular find.

 

In time you’ll accumulate some categories that you had never thought about.  Post cards are sometimes interesting, particularly early photographic cards.  They tell a story that is otherwise difficult to know.

 

Broadsides are more difficult to find and when they come up they tend to come in groups.  Years ago I bought roughly a dozen broadsides advertising travelling shows in the 1850s and 1860s that decamped at Kingston, New York for a few days.  Kingston, then also known as Rondout, was one of the stops for itinerant acting companies who plied the towns and landings north and south on the Hudson. 

 

And then there are the once in a lifetime possibilities.  Perhaps ten years ago a group of early bound volumes of the Poughkeepsie Journal [1804-1820] were posted on eBay.  Some were bound expensively in the best bindings, individual issues placed between protective sheets.  Others were more conventionally bound.  These volumes, as I recall about eight of them, were stunning rarities in impossibly good condition.  Later, at a country a stack of bound 1820-1850 Poughkeepsie newspapers were offered.  They cost $90, the shipping two or three times that much.

 

The point here is that eBay searches are worthwhile.  They do not replace dealers or traditional auctions but if you are prepared to prowl the weeds you’ll sometimes find gems.

 

As to what such items cost they are sometimes unbearably cheap and other times expensive.  You have to know both what they are worth and what they are worth to you. 

 

At book fairs some of the most interesting booths have racks of ephemera and often long lines of the interested waiting their chance to look.  De Wolfe and Wood provide occasional emailed lists of premium ephemera.  Others do too.  The minutia of collecting is very desirable.   

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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