Triple Play in LA
By Bruce McKinney
You can buy books, manuscripts and ephemera every day in LA but one week every two years the ABAA's west coast book fair comes to town and with it some of the most sophisticated and exotic printed materials available anywhere. It attracts dealers and collectors from across the country and around the world. This year two auction houses are adding fuel to the collecting fire as Dorothy Sloan Books auctions material on Wednesday February 15th and Bonhams & Butterfields conduct a sale on Sunday, February 19th. The ABAA Show runs three days: Friday February 17th through Sunday the 19th. This link will take you to the official show site, a full list of participating dealers and specifics as to hours and location.
Dorothy Sloan of Austin, Texas, is conducting three sales at Bel Age, the Grand Salon, on the second level, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd. West Hollywood CA 99069. Each one is relatively small and separately catalogued. They are: Auction 16 - "The World Rushed In": The California Gold Rush; Auction 17 "Voyages & Travels with an Emphasis on Captain Cook; and Auction 18 - Texas, California, the Southwest U.S., Mexico & the Borderlands: Interesting books, broadsides, maps & ephemera. Here are some items to consider:
Sale 16 is "The World Rushed In" covering all aspects of the California Gold. Spread among its 165 lots are numerous items of factual information and of fiction, items containing significant maps and iconography, broadsides, and items in rare bindings, such as wrappers and boards. For those who wish to own some real California gold actually dug up during the Gold Rush, Eckfeldt and Du Bois' New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins, Counterfeit Coins, and Bullion; With Mint Values. (Philadelphia, 1850) will be of interest (Lot 55). This copy--in its original blue wrappers printed in gold--is estimated at $7,500-15,000. The coverage of the international aspect of the Gold rush is well represented, with early accounts from Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, and England. Perhaps the most unusual foreign item is a fine copy of the rare first edition of Joseph Heco's The Narrative of a Japanese; What He Has Seen and the People He Has Met in the Course of the Last Forty Years (Yokohama, 1895), in original cloth and estimated at $12,000-$18,000 (Lot 76). This book, accompanied by four of Heco's autograph letters signed, is the first published autobiography of a Japanese American, and the only account of the California Gold Rush by a Japanese.
Among the classics of humor on the gold mania are Bausmann's 1854 The Idle and Industrious Miner illustrated by Charles Nahl (Lot 7); J. Goldsborough Bruff's exceedingly rare rebus letter from 1856 lithographed in script and with phonic illustrations (Lot 16); A Good Natured Hint about California by Alfred Crowquill created in 1849 by Alfred Henry Forrester, editor of the English humor magazine Punch (Lot 64), and Read & Read's classic spoof on the Forty-Niners, Journey to the Gold Diggins by Jeremiah Saddlebags published in Cincinnati in 1849 (Lot 118). Illustrated humor on the Gold Rush is a strong collecting area, and classics like these are increasingly difficult to find.