Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2009 Issue

One Heck Of A Good Library Sale

Paloaltovolunteers

Long time library friend John Burt (right) and volunteers.


By Karen Wright


I probably shouldn't tell you about this; there were too many people there as it was, but here goes, anyway. We were getting itchy feet last month and decided we needed a couple of days to go for a drive. I hadn't bought any new books for weeks and I jumped on the net to see what kinds of book sales I could find in the San Francisco Bay area. After all, buying books is a great (and tax deductible) excuse to spend a couple of days away from home. You can't say we book dealers don't know how to have fun!

So, I got to the Palo Alto Friends of the Library website and they had pictures of a lot of the very special books that they offer. Palo Alto, for you easterners, is where Stanford University is located, so the town has big bucks, an extremely literate community, and lots and lots of book readers who donate very freely to their Friends Store. Oh boy!

Lo and behold, as I perused the online selection of collectibles, I found a copy of a book I have been looking for the last ten years or so. It is called; "The Manly Art of Knitting" by Dave Fougner. The book is an actual manual on how to knit things like dog beds and horse blankets, not to mention rope hammocks. "Only a man would knit a hammock with shovel handles for needles and manila rope for yarn," says the blurb on the back; and the cover is priceless. The book is just a pamphlet, 64 pages, and very scarce, so now I'm caught in the age-old bookseller's trap; keep it 'cause I love it and it belongs with my Western Collection which includes Tom Mix's book about his horse, Tony, and my collection of Francis the Talking Mule books, or be a good bookseller and sell it. Meanwhile, our real, live Western Cowboy friend is going to get a framed scan of the cowboy-on-horseback-with-knitting-needles cover for his new apartment.

Well, on the strength of that one book, plus several others we found that looked HOT, I got very excited and my husband and I jumped in the ever-faithful Subaru and trotted off to Palo Alto. It is about six hours from our house (including lunch, of course) and upon arrival, we grabbed a room at good old Motel 6, ate dinner at Cibo's, which was good but not exceptional, and ended the evening at Trader Vic's for a glass of wine on their outside deck - it was a beautiful warm night.

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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