Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2008 Issue

Booking It In Utah

Bookceller

Margi LaPorte and Karen Lee of the Book Cellar in St. George, Utah.


By Karen Wright

We decided to take our late winter, early spring book buying trip to Utah this year because we wanted to go to Kanab for a few days to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. We also wanted to renew our acquaintance with Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, both of which we'd seen in much earlier days. We did all those things, and even found a couple of very cool bookstores.

My husband, our poochie, and I left Virginia City on a cold, windy morning in April and drove east to Ely, Nevada, where books are not only scarce, but funky, to say the least. The highlight in Ely was that we found a gas station where they still wait on you and wash your windows at no extra cost. Also, we did find great French fries at a diner there; not a book in sight.

The following afternoon we arrived in St. George, Utah, after a day of driving across our wind-blown Nevada and Utah deserts. St. George is quite an interesting little town. We discovered great Thai food for dinner and a lunch of excellent cheeseburgers in a restored and reused historic jailhouse. We encountered the first of the beautiful red rock scenery and found Deseret Thrift Store (the Mormon owned chain) where I found a $100 book for $15.00. Deseret seems to have a pretty tight monopoly on thrift stores in Utah. The secret with these places is that they put any real books in a glass case toward the back of the store. You have to have a person with a key to open the case and they stand directly next to you the whole time, watching your hands as if you might put a 10-pound folio in your purse or pocket and walk out with it. Needless to say, the religion section of any book store or thrift shop in Utah is overflowing with fundamentalist Christian tomes.

I just have to relate this story, though it may be somewhat politically incorrect, but it happened at one of the thrift stores. A young employee came out of the back room wheeling a cart of books. I thought as I rubbed my hands together, "Ah hah, no one else has seen these yet!" and asked him if I might look through them. He stopped wheeling and stood there letting me rummage. Just about then, the store manager, who was a scary old gal I dubbed Dragon Lady, zipped up and said that the kid needed to take the books back because they already had too many books on the shelves. This, though about half the shelves were empty. At this point, I had my hands wrapped around two really nice gardening books so I asked her if I might have them. The boy, who was obviously terrified of the Dragon Lady started shaking like a leaf and trying to snatch the books out of my hands. Good book buyer that I am, I calmly hung on for dear life. At that point, the kid looked as though he was either going to cry or hit me. Just in time, the cavalry arrived in the form of an unruffled clerk. He calmed the boy, told me to go ahead and take the two books, and opened the case with the good stuff in it. The kid wheeled the cart back with his tail between his legs and the Dragon Lady went off to yell at someone else. The clerk that had rescued us collared me a few minutes later to apologize for the kluge. He asked where we were from and when I told him, Virginia City, Nevada, he wanted to know if the Cartwrights (of Bonanza TV series fame) still lived there. When I explained that they were not real people, but TV characters he wouldn’t believe me and I think he was kind of mad me after that. We scurried away. Glad I don't work there!

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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