Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2016 Issue

My Once-a-Year Fix


Once a year I get a heads up from Peter Luke that he has assembled a stack of ephemera for me.  He’s an antique, book and paper dealer in the upper Hudson Valley of New York State who, about once a year, sends me material relevant to my New York State collection.  He’s a fan of oversized Priority Mail boxes.  I know this because his offers arrive in them, taped at the corners, and encased in indestructible film that experience has taught me will require industrial grade clippers to penetrate.  This year he sent me two boxes, in other years three.  I never know what to expect and am rarely disappointed.


I collect books and of course maps, manuscripts, ephemera and paintings.  Ephemera is interesting but so random it’s difficult to set boundaries that define what is in and what is out.  So he tries to set them for me and is forever coaxing me to consider material well beyond my geographical focus. 


This year the shipment was a bit on the small side; 38 items.  In past years I recall there have been 70 or 80.  But such material appears randomly and there will be both thin and abundant years.  This was a slim year.


My focus is the mid-Hudson Valley, a seven county area that mostly borders the Hudson River; Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Greene and Columbia counties.  I have convinced myself that library science will someday reconstruct local day-to-day history to create a fresh and very different perspective on local life, social attitudes, political motivations and economic reality.  So I’m committed and random pieces regularly arrive as I’m constantly looking to acquire such material.


I mainly buy ephemera on eBay and occasionally more significant items at auction.  A single menu or the account records of a 19th century paper-making factory don’t often make it into traditional auctions so I have to slum a bit, slogging through the mud of the utterly random but occasionally exceptionally rewarding.  In this way I have acquired about 5,000 items,


Peter’s material this year runs the range from very appealing to barely of interest but it is difficult not to buy it all because of how he prices his material.  A $100 item, if bought by it self will cost $80.  However, if you buy all the items offered the price is $70.  Over the years I have always bought all the material for the best discount.  This year’s packages were priced at $2,295 and if purchased complete $1,640.


The prices bear only a mild relationship to value.  Not many people actually know [and I’m not one of them that doesn’t] what such miscellaneous material is worth.  You can go years and not see a category of material and then be besieged for months as a single institution or collector floods the market.  Through it all you learn to identify with the collector or dealer who says “In forty years I’ve never see it before.”  With ephemera that is regularly the case.


Here is a list of the material I recently purchased.  Please note that the 10 images accompanying this article are what I found most interesting.


1   The Dr. C. O. Sahler Sanitarium     Kingston-0n-Hudson, N. Y. 20 pgs + printed covers. $75
2   Rifton Mills Ulster County     A coupon, printed on one side $30
3   Mountain House, Catskill Mtns       $85
4   West Point Fall Hops 1926 1926 1926 A dance list $35
5 Willis, Zephaniah A copy book 1783 1783 Kingston [New York] $65
6   Orange County Agricultural Institute 1846 1846    
7   Eight Photographs of Mohonk [actually Minnewaska]       $175
8   Apricultural Fair. Farmers' Club of the Town of Lumberland 1913 1913 36 pg. + printed wrap. $30
9   Supplement to the "Index to American Genealogies," issued in 1886 1888 1888   $20
10   Guide to the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains 1893 1893 261 pp. with maps and printed wrap $100
11   Vassar College. A College for Women, in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 1873 1873 A sketch of its foundation, aims, and resources, and of the development of its scheme of instruction to the present time. New-York: S. W. Green $15
12   Annual Report of the Inspector and Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy … 1870 1870   $20
13   Ninth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 1873-74 1874 1874 31pp. Disbound. $15
14 Langthorn, J. S. Brooklyn Engineer's Club nd   Methods used in Preliminary Work on a Catskill Resevoirs … $35
15   Hudson River by Daylight 1907 1907 32 pg. pamphlet $15
16   A Sermon preached by the author in Lincoln's Inn, London, Nov. 19, 1971 1873 1873 16 pg. Albany" Joel Munsell $70
17 By a Counsellor at Law Review of the Testimony given before the General Court Martial, upon the trial of Brig, General George Talcott, … 1851 1851 112 pg. + printed wraps. $175
18   Hudson-Fulton Celebration 1909 1909   $40
19   One Hundredth Anniversary of the building of the Hopewell Church, … 186[7] 186[7]   $15
20 Berkey, Charles P. Quality of Bluestone in the Vicinity of the Ashokan Dam       $20
21 Todd, John A. The Death of Washington Irving: A Discourse delivered in the Second Reformed Dutch Church, … 1859 1859 16 pg. + printed wrap.  
22   1806 Manuscript notes on Sunday School classes     36 pg. disbound. Relating in part to Poughkeepsie and Fishkill $75
23   Minutes of the Warwick Baptist Association 1810 1810   $185
24 Tator, Henry H, Esq. An[sp] Eulogy commerative of the character of Hon. Henry Clay 1852 1852 22 pg. + printed wrap. Albany: Joel Munsell $50
25 de Peyster, J. Watts The Eclaireur, A Military Journal 1854 1855 Volume II. Platt & Schram, Printers, Poughkeepsie $250
26   Summer Price List of Strawberry Plants 1878 1878   $55
27   View from Plazza of the Mountain Top 1899 1899   $100
28   Mountain House, Catskill Mts. 1899 1899   $100
29 Vail, R. W. G. The Ulster County Gazette and its Illegitimate Offspring 1951 1951   $20
30   List of Prints, Books, Manuscripts, Etc. relating to Henry Hudson, The Hudson River, Robert Fulton and Steam Navagation 1909 1909 86 pp. A bibliography of material relating to the Hudson River $25
31   Mountin House Letter 1888 1888   $65
32   Souvenir - Wallkill Valley Farmer's Association 1898 1898   $30
33   Elizabeth Wright to Edwin Williamson Quit Claim Deed 1845 1845 Transfer upon death $25
34   Journal of the Second Esopus War       $20
35   Hubbard Gleaner & Binder nd nd John H. Duxbury, Pine Plains, agent for Dutchess County $125
36   Office of the Washington Iron Works 1860 1860 Letter. $50
37 Owen, Gerge W. The Leech Club; or, the Mysteries of the Catskills 1874 1874 Boston: Lee & Shepard, Publishers $65
38 Best, Gerald M. Minisink Valley Express 1956 1956 A history of the Port Jervis, Monticello & New York Railroad $20
                                             71% $1,640


With books you can acquire them one-by-one but for ephemera you have to hope there are a few Peter Luke’s looking out for you.


Peter Luke Antiques, Ephemera, Old & Rare Books

P. O. Box 282

New Baltimore, New York 12124




Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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