Rare Book Monthly Articles - June - 2018 Issue

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What is my book worth? It depends

What is my book worth?  It depends who you ask.
 
A few days ago, I received an email from a Swiss rare book dealer who questioned why a book such as Alan Mann’s 2012, A Life of Chance, is priced on Abebooks from CHF 900 to CHF 2,986, on Amazon from $790 to $2,015 and on eBay new for $140 while the original price in 2012 was $79.50.  On waterstones.com website it’s listed at BP55 but shown to be out-of-stock.
 
Here is how Waterstones describes it:
 
Alan Mann was one of the great motor racing team managers of the 1960s. A successful race driver hi...

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A Clever Idea Turns a Library Theft into a Fundraising Event

Here is the ultimate example of turning lemons to lemonade. A book theft from a university library was turned into a movie, which is now being used to raise funds for that library. The thieves cert...

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Cookbooks Sell: Why food & drink is today’s hot niche for booksellers

In case you hadn’t noticed cookbooks still sell. Old and new, bright or faded, pristine or with loose hinges, covered with pencil scribbles and pages interleaved with clipped recipes…....

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Saving a Bookstore: it has come to this

Browser Books at Fillmore and Sacramento in San Francisco has been in business since 1976.  In other words, its forty-two-year corporate life spans the period from the last decade of pre-Inter...

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Sir Isaac Newton and the Philosopher's Stone

The University of Illinois reported that it had recently obtained an important late 17th century document for its Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It did not come cheaply. They paid $275,000 for i...

The Fort Stanwix Captive: widely reported but rarely found

I recently bid on and won an interesting Sammelband of printings from the years 1841-1843, all of which appear to have been printed in and around New York.  On the binding the first, and longe...

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Avec Privilège, or Death of A Pamphlet

This is both a very ordinary and extraordinary document! A four-page booklet printed on uncut paper in 1733. There are hundreds of those Arrêts de la Cour du Parlement—official publicat...

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June 14 at Christie's NY: The Portland Audubon and more exquisite material comes to auction

The fourteenth of June marks the date of two sales at Christie’s in New York. Two sales, with different sale numbers, but truly they are one (and in fact the first sale contains just one item...

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3,800 Ancient Writings and Artifacts, Purchased by Hobby Lobby, Returned to Iraq

Some of the world's earliest written "books" are being returned to their homeland. For many years, cuneiform tablets and such were regularly taken from their homes in the Middle East. Sometimes, th...

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Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann on June 7th

Collections and inventories are organized for retrieval and study and every collection is a combination of items in support of a theme.  On June 7th Swann will sell a broad cross section of si...

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Lord John Kerr (1927-2018)

Editor's Note: The following remembrance of Lord John Kerr has been prepared by his friend and colleague, Rupert Powell.
 
 
Lord John Kerr, one of the true doyens of the antiquarian b...

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June 12 at Bonhams NY: Fine Books and Manuscripts across six centuries

Two hundred eighty-seven lots comprise Bonhams June 12thsale in New York of Fine Books and Manuscripts, and they cover a lot of ground. From incunabula to World War II, focused ...

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Comic Books in Too Much Demand

If thievery is the best form of flattery, comic books are a hot item these days. Once upon a time, comic book theft usually meant some kid walking out of a newsstand without paying for his latest c...

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Book Club: the movie

The rare book business is in transition and we are all looking for a solution.  Turns out some of the answers are on the silver screen.  The movie is the “Book Club”, the stor...

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Frederick Douglass Finally Gets His University Degree

It is long overdue, but one of America's greatest writers, orators, and voices of freedom has finally received a degree from his hometown university, the University of Rochester. It is an honorary ...

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Nine New Catalogues Reviewed This Month

This month we review nine new bookseller catalogues. They are a varied group. Ursus Rare Books has a selection of artistic works from the 20th century. Shapero Rare Books focuses on natural history...

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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