Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2016 Issue

Nov 22-25: Bubb Kuyper's semi-annual auction of books, manuscripts, prints and drawings approaches

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Items mentioned in the auction preview

At Rare Book Hub, we try to include in our Upcoming Auctions all auction houses whose material is relevant to our focus on rare books, maps, and ephemera. That means houses of varying sizes from all over the world, from the mom and pop shop that has a sale every year or two, to the biggest players in the game. A quick check of our auction house list from our Upcoming Auctions portion of the size revealed 271 individual auctioneers. This month, I’m highlighting one I haven’t written about before who has a sale occurring later this month.

Bubb Kuyper is a Dutch company based in the town of Haarlem. Covering books, manuscripts, prints, and drawings, their material is certainly in our wheelhouse. Their auction records have been going into the Rare Book Transaction History since 2007, and in that time, we’ve archived 132,855 lots from them. They hold sales twice yearly—one in May, the other in November—with this month’s taking place November 22 through 25. These sales are not small affairs. Spanning four days, the upcoming sale offers 6139 lots. With a number as large as this, Bubb Kuyper does interested buyers a favor by breaking the auction up into sections, which are as follows: Bibliography & Typography; Cartography; Fine and applied arts & Art Reference; Children’s Books; Dutch Literature (including autographs); Fine Printing — The Collection of M.B.B. Nijkerk and K.J. Nijkerk; Foreign Literature; Various — Erotica, Fashion & Costume, Gastronomy; Judaica, Music, Theology; Indonesia; Dutch History & Topography; Foreign History, Topography & Travels; Natural History, Medicine, Science, Technology & Transport; Manuscripts, Documents & Autographs; Old and Rare Books; and Prints, which are broken into their own eleven subsections. With such a substantial offering, interesting material for collectors of all calibers and scopes abounds.

I asked for help in choosing lots to highlight, and fortunately, a Director at Bubb Kuyper provided me some guidance. These are but a few of the 6139 lots coming to auction.

The cover of the sale’s catalog bears the image of what has been called “the most ambitious and remarkable,” as well as the “most splendid,” of the Kelmscott Press (Bubb Kuyper). This volume is The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted printed in 1896. The Kelmscott Press needs no introduction for veterans of the field, but I will provide a little background for anyone just starting out or whose focus lies elsewhere.

The Kelmscott Press was the final chapter in the life of William Morris, an English artist, designer, writer, and socialist. His career lasted over forty years, during which he published a magazine, wrote poetry, painted, designed illuminated manuscripts and embroidery, and founded a decorative arts company. He was a known figure in Britain during his lifetime. It was only in the last years of his life that Morris turned his attention to the publishing of books, and in this endeavor, he sought to produce “some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye, or trouble the intellect of the reader by eccentricity of form in the letters” (Arts & Crafts Museum). Books printed at the Kelmscott Press were as much works of art as they were literary printings, and the Chaucer is the pièce de résistance. Lot 1369 is a very fine copy estimated at €40.000-50.000.

The next item on our short list of highlights also comes from a private press, being The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, printed in 1930 at the Cranach Press. The Cranach was a German interwar press founded by Count Harry Graf Kessler in 1913, and this printing of Hamlet is the company’s greatest work. It features eighty woodcut illustrations by the Englishman Edward Gordon Craig and is “often regarded as the most bold and ambitious example of 20th-century book art” (Bubb Kuyper). The copy being offered at auction is one of seven copies printed entirely on vellum and is also estimated at €40.000-50.000 as lot 1263.

Being an auction house in the Netherlands, Bubb Kuyper specializes in material of Dutch origin. One such lot in their upcoming sale is a handwritten poem by one of the country’s most famous figures—Anne Frank. It consists of eight lines addressed to a friend of Frank’s, encouraging the owner to work hard.  The poem is dated 28 Maart [March] 1942, a little more than three months before the Frank family would move into their now famous hiding place. This incredibly rare item is listed as lot 2390 and estimated for €30.000-50.000.

Another Dutch item of note, one that collectors of natural history may find of keen appeal, is lot 3185, which has the distinction of being one of “the finest birdbook ever published in the Netherlands” (Bubb Kuyper). Consisting of five volumes printed in Amsterdam between 1770 and 1829, Nozeman and Houttuyn’s Nederlandsche vogelen; volgens hunne huishouding, aert, en eigenschappen beschreeven contains 250 plates with contemporary hand coloring and is a sight to behold that belongs in collections alongside Audubon. The five-volume set is estimated €40.000-50.000.

The last highlight for this auction preview is on a set of individual leaves from the personal archives of the Dutch avant garde typographer Piet Zwart. The items in question are loose leaves of the printing firm Trio’s advertising book, a volume that was never actually publicly published. Three copies of it exist, all of which are in Dutch museums. These individual pieces of paper come from Zwart’s collection and have never been offered for sale before now. This is a very big deal for collectors of graphic design and typography.

Bubb Kuyper’s upcoming sale takes places Tuesday, November 22nd through Friday, November 25th, 2016. You can view all 6139 lots of the sale online on their website.

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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