Once a year or so I receive an unpretty box that is wrapped in a nuclear-proof way to ensure the contents arrive in good order. The shipper is one of the great holdouts to today’s upscale packing conventions that have slowly become the norm over the past twenty years. But not every dealer has taken the plunge and not this one in particular and I have no complaints for this dealer shops on my behalf for most a year and then, when prompted, admits he’s got a box or two of interesting material that he’ll soon send along.
Soon is a rather vague term. If you are late to turn in homework I can confirm that “soon” doesn’t cut it. But from experience soon is this gentlemen’s vague but ultimately reliable promise and so it was a few months back that a box, deep into its second life after having been born a storage box, emerged with the appropriate groans of the post office staff, “What’s in this box anyway?” When/if I mention “it’s books” it often prompts an “Oh really?”
The book dealer? It’s Peter Luke of New Baltimore, New York [on the Hudson River south of Albany] and this is an annual rite. He lives near to the area I collect and looks for ephemera and the occasional book for me. Every collector should have such support.
This year’s material is a single box that weighs 19.8 pounds. Fed-ex Ground, now contesting the United Parcel Service’s dominant position in the delivery business, brought the box overland and delivered it in good order. The box is recognizable for the exceptional amount of wrapping tape employed. Peter’s boxes don’t fall apart.
Peter’s note, with the shipment, mentions that the material is not well described. Okay, I’ve received these shipments for many years and they are never described at all. He provides a list written in a cranky hand with a brief name, item number, and price. The prices fall into the mid-range generally [for rarity, condition and importance]. This year there are 52 of them, more than 90% of it ephemera, that price out at $4,655. There is also an incentive to buy all the material, this year a $1,405 discount which is void if I take even one item less than the full group offered. In past years I’ve tried to divide the material into more and less desirable groups but the math just doesn’t work that way. So I buy everything. It’s much simpler though my family will someday ask “Why did Dad buy 3 copies?” For that possible occasion, I’ll leave notes in these multiple copies suggesting they ask Peter himself. For myself I have no complaints.
Here are the 52 items I purchased this year:
1. Guide to the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. 1893. $125
2. A Summer Paradise. 1902. $75
3. Tourist Map of the Hudson River. 1923. $55
4. The Hudson by Daylight. 1878. $125
5. The Story of Mohonk. 1911. $30
6. Image taken by a Kingston firm. Unknown. $45
7. Claverack Centennial with 5 images pasted in. 1867. $175
8. Souvenir of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. [Albany]. $50
9. Poughkeepsie and its Points of Interest. 1895. $95
10. Hudson-Fulton Souvenir Program. 1909. $45
11. Van Loan’s Catskill Mountain Guide. 1892. $285
12. Views of The Hudson River. Circa 1918. $135
13. The Scenery of the Catskill Mountains. 1876. $100
14. Choice Bits of Scenery in the Catskills. Circa 1888. $100
15. Haunts of Rip Van Winkle. 1884. $150
16. Almanac, 1885. $15
17. Maple Grove House. 1910. $45
18. The Closing Argument in the case of The People vs, Reuben Dunbar for Murder. 1851. $185
19. Lake Mohonk Letter. 1894. $45
20. The Scenery of the Catskill Mountains. Circa 1850. $150
21. A Sermon by Samuel Austin, D. D. 1808. $45
22. Mountain Echos through the Catskills. Undated. $45
23. Souvenir Letter: Athens, New York. Circa 1905. $35
24. Winter Clove House, Catskill Mountains. Circa 1890. $45
25. The Athens Sesquicentennial 1805 – 1955. 1955. $25
26. Rocks of Greene County. 1912. $10
27. Greetings from the Catskills. 1922. $150
28. Farms up the Hudson around Newburgh. Circa 1921. $50
29. The Catskills: Indelible Images. 1892. $125
30. The Laurel House. Date unknown, $100
31. Enjoying the Catskills. 1950. $20
32. Views of and near Laurel House. No date. $285
33. West Shore River Division Time Table. 1939. $10
34. Guide to Rambles from the Catskill Mountain House. 1862. $100
35. Sunset Park Inn. No. date. $75
36. American Historical and Genealogical Publications. Undated but early 20th century. $20
37. Sunset Spring Water. Haines Falls. Date unknown. $20
38. Various issues of Olde Ulster 1901-1912 est.
39. Sally Hamilton, a put together record. Undated. $75
40. Early image of Lake Mohonk Mountain House. Circa 1880. $95
41. View from the Catskill Mountain House. Undated. $145
42. Image of Catskill Mountain House. Undated. $225
43. Image of Kaaterskill Falls. Undated. $95
44. Mid-18th to mid-19th Century Receipts in both Dutch and English. $200
45. Image of the Otis Elevated Rail Road. 1892. $145
46. Receipt for a coffin, Kingston, 1861. $20
47. Hudson Navigation Company. Undated but circa 1880. $10
48. Catskill Mountain Guide with Maps. 1878. $150
49. Historic Catskill [Vedder]. Date unknown. $75
50. The “Old Times” Corner. 1932.
51. The Fabulous Butlers of Brandy Hill. 1953. $30
52. Reminiscences of Catskill. 1868. $65
As is always the case some of the material is exceptional and others simply good. Overall, the shipment is simply great, good fun. So I’m already looking forward to next year’s shipment to discover what he’s recently located.
Here’s the guy in the flesh. Consider him highly recommended.
Peter Luke Antiques
P. O. Box 282
New Baltimore, New York 12124
[No, he doesn’t have a website]