Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2010 Issue

Antique Books and Ephemera from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

Gedgeix

The ninth catalogue from Samuel Gedge Ltd.


By Michael Stillman

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books has issued their Catalogue IX. Those Roman numerals provide a good indication of the type of material to be found here - very old. Maybe not quite from Roman times, but most items here run to around two centuries and longer ago. It is hard to otherwise categorize Gedge's material as it is a mix of often unusual pieces. There are some books, but also many items of ephemera, such as ledgers, official certificates, posters, schedules, letters, invitations, trade cards, even an accordion-style fan. While most items relate to England and the British Isles, there are also articles from the continent and one-time British colonies, America included. Now, here are a few samples.

Item 57 is an interesting certificate. It officially records the appointment of Mansfeldt Cardonnel as collector of the salt tax for Liverpool in 1732. The salt tax had just been imposed by Robert Walpole's government, and the people were none too happy. Walpole had chosen to reduce the property tax, which he felt unfair as it only taxed property owners, and replace it with the broader based tax on salt. Theoretically, this would be fairer as it would prevent wealthy merchants who did not own land from escaping taxation. However, the reality is that it shifted more of the tax burden from wealthy landowners to the poor who already lived under very difficult conditions. The tax led to some rioting and much displeasure, but Walpole survived the tax's unpopularity. Priced at £250 (British pounds, or about $395 in U.S. dollars).

Of course, however much the British hated taxes imposed by their government, the American colonists hated British taxes even more. Item 67 is a certificate appointing Carey Mitchell as collector of all duties for the lower James River area of Virginia in 1761. The job probably paid well, but would not have made Mitchell a popular figure in Virginia. At this time, America's relationship with its colonial power was on the cusp of making a dramatic swing. The French and Indian War, in which the British and the colonists worked together to defeat the French, was coming to an end. That close alliance would quickly turn sour as the British sought to make the colonists pay more for what they considered military protection. The certificate empowered Mitchell "to enter into any ship, bottom, boat or other vessel; as also into any shop, house, warehouse, hostelry or other place whatsoever to make diligent search into any trunk, chest, pack, case, truss or any other parcel or package whatsoever for any goods, wares or merchandise." There was no Fourth Amendment in Colonial America, and Mitchell must certainly have been despised any time he used these powers. In 1775, at the beginning of the Revolution, Mitchell was tried for disloyalty, but was discharged under parole so long as he did not assist the enemy. £1,450 (US $2,293).

Item 15 is a group of three items pertaining to fundraising by James Silk Buckingham for an expedition to the Pacific around 1830. Buckingham had published a newspaper in India and done much traveling by this time. He believed that more trade could be established with China and Japan, and noted that the Pacific islands were among the least known areas of the world to Britain. While Buckingham saw great potential there, evidently not enough others did, or did not have sufficient faith in Buckingham to achieve his goals. He never raised the money, and the voyage never took place. However, Buckingham was elected to Parliament in 1832, where he was a reformer, and did just fine for himself the remainder of his life. £1,450 (US $2,293).

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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