Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

The Bookseller's Cabinet from Jeff Weber Rare Books

Weber163

A Gutenberg leaf on the cover of Jeff Weber's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Jeff Weber Rare Books has published their catalogue #163: Bookseller's Cabinet. There is much to be found on a variety of subjects in Weber's cabinet. Listed topics include early printed books, literature, Americana and the West, art and architecture, bibliography and fine printing, travel, archeology and cartography. Here are some of the titles to be found on the shelf.

We will start at the beginning of the catalogue, item 1, as it represents the beginning of books. It is a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed book, which came off the press in (or close to) 1455. The leaf can be seen on the cover of this catalogue. The printing was a mammoth undertaking that left Gutenberg broke, and would do the same for anyone who attempted to buy a complete copy today (no complete Gutenberg has been sold in over three decades). Around 180 were printed. Just under 50 are known to survive, with fewer than half of these complete. While Gutenberg and his press in Mainz, Germany, were alone in 1455, by the end of the century, there were several hundred print shops around Europe. The technology spread rapidly, changing how people communicated for over 500 years, no real alternative developing until… a few years ago? The page here offered is taken from the Book of Samuel. Priced at $85,000. By the way, a complete Gutenberg contains 636 leaves, which would imply a value of $54 million for a complete copy. Hard to know, as we are unlikely to see another copy on the market any time soon.

An inscribed first edition of Gone With The Wind is a costly item (though not like a Gutenberg), but here is a reasonable alternative. Item 46 is Eo Vento Levou, the Brazilian first edition of this classic. This first was published in 1940. It's hard to imagine what Brazilians who read this book thought typical Americans were like. This copy has been inscribed by author Margaret Mitchell to the Atlanta Historical Society. This society would be a logical recipient of a gift from Miss Mitchell as her father had once been its president, but why a copy in Portuguese is unclear. It apparently was never read. $1,750.

Item 51 is another great piece of American literature, a first edition of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939. There is no need to describe the book's contents, as you almost surely are familiar with it. Instead, we will describe its condition, or better yet, let Weber describe it: "This copy…is the finest copy anyone has ever seen… For any collector of John Steinbeck's books, this copy is the apotheosis and would be a crown jewel of their collection." Steinbeck collectors take heed! The description applies to book and dust jacket alike. $10,000.

Keeping one wife happy can be a great challenge to man. If you have 55, you are almost certain to have a few who are displeased. Probably the least happy of Brigham Young's wives was Ann Eliza Young, who two years after her divorce in 1873 published Wife No. 19, The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Expose of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy. Evidently Ann Eliza was not easy to please as she divorced her other two husbands too. The accuracy of her title is also in question, as she has also been calculated to be wife number 27 or wife number 52 (there is some question as to how many of Young's "marriages" were really considered as such). She was certainly a latter day wife, marrying him in 1869 when Young was 67 and she was 24. As this book attests, Ann Eliza became a spokesperson against polygamy and for women's rights, as well as being a vocal critic of the Mormon Church, which excommunicated her. Item 231. $225.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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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