Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

Say "Ephemera!" from Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller

Selvaggio133

Ephemera! From Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller, has issued a new catalogue, Say "Ephemera!" This is Selvaggio's fourth ephemera catalogue, and it is filled with material that is uncommon, unusual, and often most entertaining. Ephemera is a great place to collect if you want to possess material that is rare yet priced as if it were common. These old flyers, pamphlets, advertising circulars, trade catalogues and the like are inexpensive, though rarer than the typical "collectible" first edition that can cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. This is a great place to start collecting, or build a collection on a workingman's budget. Here are some suggestions to start.

Give Ferdinand Borges credit for creative thinking. He developed a Ponzi scheme before Charles Ponzi did. Item 117 is a 1902 promotion for his Consolidated Ubero Plantations, The Rubber of Commerce. A Treatise for Investors. Ubero was going to produce rubber on its Central American plantations, along with pineapples, coffee, and other items. Borges did own some land, but it was not producing any of the promised goods. What it was producing was money - for Borges. The money he took in for selling bonds went to his sales agents and himself, rather than to the plantations. All told, Borges took in $2 million when that was a lot of money before being caught and convicted of fraud and larceny. Priced at $165.

Item 35 is a promotion for one of the greatest cars, or whatever, ever devised: Amphicar - The Sportscar That Swims. This may not be what we normally think of as a sports car, if features such as speed, power, and sleek looks are common attributes of such designation. Nevertheless, this was the only car ever devised that functioned as a boat too. You could literally drive this thing into a lake and start driving it around in the water. Ultimately, it wasn't a very good car or boat, and so the Amphicar Corporation folded in 1965, after just five years in production, but these rare marvels have loyal followers today. With so many stories of cars being swept away in floods, having one of these might not be such a bad idea. $35.

The Huppmobile had a longer run than the Amphicar, but its fate was ultimately the same. It was introduced by company founder Robert Craig Hupp in 1909. Hupp moved on, but the company prospered for two of its three decades of life. Expansion was great during the teens and much of the 20s, but Huppmobile had some trouble deciding where to fit in, and then with the Depression, sales tumbled. The company held on through the 30s, finally throwing in the towel in 1940. Offered is a brochure from its early days, circa 1910, where the company proclaimed, "...we believe the Hupmobile to be, in its class, the best car in the world." Item 135. $200.

Item 296 is a 1915 publication from the Angier Chemical Co.: A Study of the Therapeutics of Petroleum Oil. Angier's emulsion, made from petroleum, "acts like mucus," always a selling point. It cured TB, bronchitis, GI problems, and "wasting diseases of children." So remember, those oil-coated birds and turtles you see in the Gulf are actually healthy animals. $45.

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 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.
  • <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

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