Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2018 Issue

A Book Collector on the Prowl

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A useful but less than collectable copy

Recently I purchased an obscure Munsell imprint.  Such imprints were the production of Joel Munsell of Albany.  His was a modest printing establishment, initiated in 1834, that would run beyond his lifetime [he passed away in 1880], to be carried on into the early 20th century by his sons and heirs.  He kept, and in 1871 published, records of the material he printed during the period 1834-March, 1871 thus opening a window that has permitted collectors and scholars to better understand survival rates, be they his books, pamphlets or broadsides.  For about 1,000 of the 2,278 items whose printing history he detailed in his Munselliana, we know what he believed were the print runs.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, for the obsessed and obsessive it’s now possible to track reappearances across the Internet and compare their number to the form and print run and the numbers don’t always add up.  It has turned out that some printings with print runs above 2,000 have become all but invisible but other printings that he said were hundred or less seem to be frequently available.

 

Anyway, I’m one, perhaps the only one, to track his printings, and have been trying to develop a complete collection of his imprints.  After ten years, I have 400 to 500 [I’m estimating] of the 2278 publications he listed in Munselliana.  Unfortunately, I’ve also determined that he undercounted his printings because about 15% that I’ve found aren’t mentioned in Munselliana.  So I’ll guess the real number is about 2,600.  Therefore, after ten years, I’ve only found about 20% of them.

 

All this is simply to explain why I recently purchased on eBay:

 

History of the Israelitish Nation, from Abraham to the Present Time, Derived from the Original Sources.  Vol. I.  Published by J. Munsell, Albany, 1854.

 

To which the following disclaimer was attached:

 

Acceptable.  Ex-lib of Newton Theological Institution with label to spine, stamp to inner board and title.

 

The price was $47.50 plus $4.00 for shipping.

 

This will be my first copy. 

 

I’ve seen it before, both in the Rare Book Hub Database and recently, in Books for Sale.  I hadn’t bought it previously as most Munsell imprints can, with patience, be purchased for $25 to $125.  As indicated in the seller’s description they knew it was complete in one volume but priced it reasonably nevertheless.  Thank you for that.

 

Based on the records we have in the RBH Transaction Database we estimate its current value to be $626.  That’s probably a bit high as Eric Chaim Kline is offering a nice copy for $500.

 

In Munselliana the print run is listed at 2,000.  For Munsell that’s a relatively long run, his average run being 300 to 400.  As to how many copies show up in the OCLC the actual copies are 8 to which there are also later printings and electronic copies and, in Google Books a complete searchable copy.  In other words, it’s a rare book but accessible.

 

Here is the Google Books link:  https://books.google.com/books?id=lFXXAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=history+of+Israelitish+nation+wise&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwipxsuQjZLYAhVS5GMKHSS1AH4Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=history%20of%20Israelitish%20nation%20wise&f=false

 

I’m glad to have this copy.


Posted On: 2018-01-03 03:14
User Name: mairin111

A good piece, Bruce, on Munselliana, perfectly engaging, and I esp like the Albany, NY, connection and, above all, this new attention on Joel Munsell.
All best for the new year,
Maureen E. Mulvihill / Rare Book Hub guest writer, 2016.
____


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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <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. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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