Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2010 Issue

50 Fine Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

Shaperofinebooks2010

Fifty fine books from Bernard J. Shapero.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has issued their catalogue of 50 Fine Books 2010. Shapero often publishes catalogues of "50s," thoroughly described and illustrated collections focused on 50 notable items. With over 100 pages and numerous glossy color images for such a small number of items, you can expect they will be out of the ordinary. They are. Here are some of these latest top 50 items from Shapero Rare Books.

Item 10 is an amazing set of books for any Egyptologist or person fascinated by this land with a history longer than just about any other. It is written in French, as one might expect of a work commissioned by Napoleon: Description de l'Egypte ou recueil des observations et des reserches qui ont ete faites en Egypte pendant l'expedition de Vivant Denon, 23 volumes published from 1809-1813. Vivant Denon was a pre-Republic French diplomat who managed to escape the worst of the revolution and who focused on art and archeology after the horrors of that period ended. He was engaged in a mission to Egypt on behalf of Napoleon from 1798-1801. The French Emperor planned to colonize Egypt, and as part of that plan wanted to know everything possible about the land, from its ancient history to its natural science to its current state. The result is this massive work documenting everything this four-year mission was able to learn. Napoleon's intentions for Egypt never quite worked out as planned, but the work he ordered provided history with an enormous wealth of information about the land anyway. Priced at £115,000 (British pounds, or approximately $165,686 in U.S. currency).

Item 27 is a set of four first editions from the great 19th century Arctic explorer William Parry: Journal of a voyage for the discovery of a North-West Passage... (1821) with Journal of a second voyage... (1824), with Journal of a third voyage... (1826) along with his Narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole... (1828). Strikingly, Parry failed to reach his goal in all four missions. He never found a Northwest Passage, and he never reached the North Pole. Nonetheless, he is remembered as a great and brave explorer, coming closer to reaching his goals than anyone before him, and there would be many more failed attempts before these goals were finally achieved almost a century later. Parry went as far west as he could in seeking the passage, and his farthest point west would later be viewed by a mission heading west to east, though the route was blocked by ice. It established that there was a passage unblocked by land, though it would take warmer weather to make it passable. As for his North Pole mission, while not reaching the pole, Parry traveled farther north than anyone before him nor for half a century after. £8,000 ($11,512).

Here is the collection of another explorer who completed three voyages to the same place. Well, not entirely the same place, as James Cook visited different locations on his three voyages, but each was a journey from England to the Pacific Rim and islands. Along the way he did much of the mapping of Australia, determined there was no massive southern continent, discovered Hawaii, and surveyed the west coast of North America. And, like Parry, he unsuccessfully sought to find the Northwest Passage. Offered is a set of second editions of the official accounts of the three voyages, including the illustration of Cook's death in the third volume, along with a first edition of Andrew Kippis' A voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Item 11. £37,500 (US $54,067).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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