Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

Travel and More from Bestebreurtje Rare Books

Bestebreurtje142

Travels from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

The 142nd catalogue from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books comes with the brief title, Travel. There is actually more than just travel here. There are many books of Americana to be found, which perhaps qualifies as travel as one would have to travel from Bestebreurtje's home base in the Netherlands to reach America. We are actually sort of surprised to find some of these 19th century American titles being offered from the Netherlands. How they got there is unknown, but - Americana collectors take heed - they are just begging to come home. We will focus primarily on Americana in this review, but there are many books in Dutch and pertaining to Dutch issues, such as the activities of the VOC (East India Company).

Item 174 is the 1861 London edition of Elisha Kent Kane's Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55. Sir John set out to find the Northwest Passage in 1845 but never returned. His entire crew was lost, setting about a flurry of rescue missions, later followed by exploratory ones after all hope of anyone's survival was lost. The Grinnell expeditions, financed by wealthy American merchant Henry Grinnell (but not led by him) were among the many that attempted to find the explorer without success. The second proved to be a brutal though ultimately heroic, but unsuccessful mission. Headed by Elisha Kane, it searched for Franklin in far northern Canadian territory around Baffin Bay. The expedition ran into many problems, scurvy, their dogs dying, their ship becoming frozen in, and assorted other unpleasantries associated with long winters in places where temperatures are constantly far below zero. After two long winters survived in their ice-jammed boat, Kane realized it would never become free, and there followed a harrowing journey over and through ice-filled waters to eventual rescue. They never came close to finding Franklin's expedition, but at least their alliances with the native Inuit enabled them to achieve something Franklin did not - survival. Priced at €275 (euros, or approximately US $387).

Kane's travels were all too real. Not necessarily so were those of "Eduward Melton." Item 236 is a 1681 first edition of Zeldzaame en gedenkwaardige zee - en land - reizen… It is not clear whether Melton even existed, let alone visited the many places he describes - Egypt, America, the Caribbean, Persia, Turkey, and the Orient. One source has attributed Melton's work to G. van Broekhuizen, a Dutch translator and publisher who had access to many travel accounts from which he could have devised one of his own (some parts are clearly stolen from the works of others). The book includes illustrations from the noted illustrator and poet Jan Luyken. €3,500 (US $4,923).

Here are a couple of speeches from two of the most notable U.S. senators of the 19th century, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, given during the critical year of 1850. The capture of new territories during the Mexican War, and the question whether they would be slave or free, had greatly opened the divide between North and South. Webster and Clay tried to bridge the divide through compromise, though in reality there isn't much of a middle position between slavery and freedom. Item 388 is Webster's Speech upon the subject of slavery, delivered…March 7, 1850. In 1832, Webster had given his greatest speech, calling liberty and union, inseparable. This came in reaction to South Carolina's attempt to nullify federal laws to which it objected. In 1850, Webster was again fighting for the Union, but this time, rather than standing up to the South, he opted for compromise. In his March 7 speech, Webster, labeling himself not a "Massachusetts man," or "Northern man," but an "American," called for support of the Compromise of 1850, including acceptance of the Fugitive Slave Law, hated in the North. It earned Webster some friendships in the South, but turned his northern base against him. It assured his dream, being elected President of the United States, would never come to pass. €75 (US $105).

Item 59 is the bookend to Webster's speech: Speech of Henry Clay…on taking up his compromise resolutions on the subject of slavery. Delivered…Febr. 5th & 6th, 1850. Clay, the Great Compromiser, was one of the authors and proponents of the aforementioned Compromise of 1850. Clay, being from the border state of Kentucky, did not receive the backlash Webster did for his support. However, the Compromise of 1850, though it might have brought about a slight delay, did little to avoid the growing confrontation between North and South over slavery. Rather, it angered the North while making the South more intransigent in its fight to expand slavery to the new territories. In the end, it may have made civil war more certain, rather than less likely. €65 (US $91.)

Item 363 is a massive work by a Dutch Reformed minister who lived in the Dutch Asian colonies: Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien... Francois Valentijn lived for many years on Java and Amboya, about which he offers great detail, but his five-volume (in eight) folio first edition goes well beyond this location. He provides information on history, geography, ethnology and natural history on areas throughout the world in which the Dutch East India Company was involved, including Indonesia, Japan, China, India, Persia, and the Cape of Good Hope. There are maps of Australia, long before Cook, likely taken from manuscripts now lost. Indeed what makes Valentijn's work particularly valuable is that much of what he was working from were documents that are now lost. His descriptions of the natural history of Amboyna come from unpublished, lost manuscripts produced by the great naturalist Rumphius. Along with the text, the volumes contain 338 maps, plans, portraits and views. €60,000 (US $84,432).

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books may be reached at +31 (0)347 322 548 or info@gertjanbestebreurtje.com. Their website is www.gertjanbestebreurtje.com.

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>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000
  • <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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