Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2011 Issue

Natural History from Raymond M. Sutton, Jr.


Natural History from Raymond Sutton.

Raymond M. Sutton, Jr., has just released his Catalog No. 199. Natural History. With a Large Selection of Horticultural Books. Actually, the over 400 items in this catalogue have been neatly divided into various classifications:  Fine & Illustrated Works; Botany including Orchids & Cryptogams; Horticulture; Birds; Fishes & Marine Biology; Insects & Other Invertebrates; Mammals, Reptiles & Other Zoology; Geology & Paleontology; and History, Travel & General Biology. The items presented run the gamut from well-known, major scientific works, to tightly woven niches like a particular species, or plant or animal type as found in a particular state or even around a specific community. There truly is something for everyone who collects in the natural history field. Here are some examples.


Lewis and Clark are the most famous explorers to cross the North American continent all the way to the Pacific, but they were not the first. That honor belongs to Canadian Alexander Mackenzie, the first to make it all the way from east to west north of Mexico. His account is entitled Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans:  in the Years 1789 and 1793. His explorations were undertaken on behalf of the Northwest Company, seeking to compete in the fur trade against the larger and more established Hudson's Bay Company. On his first journey, he followed the river which now bears his name attempting to reach the Pacific. Instead, he ended up along the Arctic (frozen) Ocean. Undaunted, Mackenzie set out again four years later, following a route that took him along various rivers as well as overland, finally reaching the Bella Coola, which drains into the Pacific from British Columbia. Item 31 is the 1802 first American edition of his account. Priced at $1,000.


Louis Agassiz was one of the great scientists of the 19th century, though the years have diminished and tarnished his reputation. Born in Switzerland in 1807, he studied first fishes and then glaciers. He later expanded to paleontology and other pursuits involving natural history. In the 1840s he came to America and became a professor at Harvard. It was from there he published Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of America, four volumes published 1857-62. It was Darwin's publication of his theory of evolution that would start Agassiz's reputation on a decline. He was perhaps the last major scientist to categorically reject evolution, holding to a creationist theory that held that various species were all created separately. This belief would also lead him to conclude that various human races were created separately, and, as one might expect from a white man, that the Bible (Adam and Eve) was an account of white people, and other races were inferior. In recent years, some edifices named for him have had their names changed as a result of his more repugnant views. Nonetheless, Agassiz was honored in his time, and his friend, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote a piece in honor of his 50th birthday. Item 3 is Longfellow's personal copy of this work, signed twice by the poet. $1,200.


Speaking of Darwin, item 142 is a book by another Darwin, Erasmus. It is the first Dublin edition (1800) of Phytologia:  or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening. It provides an early description of photosynthesis along with much practical advice on gardening. Erasmus Darwin was a physician and scientist who studied natural history and wrote poetry on the subject. This Darwin also developed a theory of evolution, although he believed that organisms somehow had the power to evolve themselves. It would be left to the other Darwin, his grandson Charles, to come up with natural selection as the modus operandi of evolution. $600.


Obtaining printed copies of John James Audubon's illustrations of American birds can be costly. A copy of the folio edition of his Birds of America sold at Sotheby's last December for over $11 million, the highest price ever paid for a printed book at auction. This price is out of reach for most of us. However, Sutton has an alternative that will provide you with the same illustrations. It is The Original Water-color Paintings by John James Audubon for the Birds of America. This is also a folio presentation, including 431 color drawings in two volumes. This edition was published in 1966 and comes at the far more affordable price of $70.


Here is a book about a creature for whom birds are a mortal enemy. We are on the birds' side of this epic battle. Item 282 is W.E. Dickinson's The Mosquitoes of Wisconsin. I'm not sure whether the mosquitoes of Wisconsin differ significantly from the mosquitoes of other regions, but you can be sure they have one miserable thing in common with all other types. $35.


I don't know whether the Crocodile Hunter, or Crocodile Dundee, attended this meeting, but item 322 is Crocodile:  Proceedings of the First Working Meeting of Crocodile Specialists…at the Bronx Zoo…1971. $85. Item 323 offers the proceedings of their second biennial meeting, this one held in Zululand. $40. The Crocodile Specialist Group is still in business, last meeting in Brazil, and is headed, quite naturally, by an Australian.


Raymond M. Sutton, Jr., may be reached at 606-549-3464 or suttonbks@2geton.net. The website is  www.suttonbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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