Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

Maritime Books and Ephemera from Ten Pound Island Book Co.

Tenpound193

Ten Pound's post-last catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Ten Pound Island Book Company has issued its Maritime List 193, subtitled I Know, I Know... That strange title is easily explainable if you saw their last catalogue. In it, owner Greg Gibson announced that it would be their last printed catalogue. Production costs no longer justified sales, so as a result, there would be no more, only internet catalogues. That was three months ago. Now, Ten Pound is tacking 180 degrees starboard, or whatever it is nauticians say when they make a U-turn. If Mr. Gibson ever retires from bookselling, I foresee a wonderful career in politics. So here are some selections from whatever that catalogue is called which comes after the final one.

Item 27 is a humanitarian exception from the War of 1812. The U.S. had no navy to speak of to counter British shipping. To make up for it, the government licensed private ships to harass British shipping and confiscate their cargoes. This piracy with a license was known as privateering. However, two exceptions were made, and item 27 is one of those. Headed Additional Instruction, it is a broadside stating that public and private vessels of the U.S. "are not to interrupt any British unarmed vessels bound to Sable Island, and laden with supplies for the humane establishment at that place." It came by command of the President, though it is signed (in print) by Secretary of State James Monroe. Sable Island is a small Atlantic Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British had opened up a life saving station there as shipwrecks were numerous in the area. Scouts would scour the beach for survivors while providing food and medical care for them until irregularly arriving vessels could provide rescue. Evidently, President Madison considered this a sufficiently worthy cause to protect those who supplied the island. The life saving station was closed about half a century ago, and Sable Island is now noted more for its wild horses and scientific observatory. Priced at $950.

Item 1 is a useful book, A Vocabulary of Sea Phrases and Terms of Art Used in Seamanship... by "A Captain of the British Navy." We presume this is a book of terms like "keel" and "jib," rather than the four-letter varieties sailors are noted for speaking. Published in 1799. $500.

It makes sense to be firm, even tough on crime, but sometimes we can go a bit overboard, to use another nautical expression. Item 68 consists of two manuscript letters and a petition from one John Russell in 1835. The Englishman Russell had been sentenced to transportation, that is, exile in the penal colony in Australia. It was a long arduous trip followed a life sentence of isolation on the other side of the world. Russell's high crimes? He stole a fruit pie and two dishes. Russell's two letters were written to his mother and father, where he seeks their help in obtaining clemency. He points out that he is of good character, had no previous criminal record, and he thought the pie incident was part of a joke being played on a friend. His pleas were to no avail. Mr. Russell was transported. $1,750.

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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