Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

Exceptional Literary Works from Whitmore Rare Books

Whitmore4

Charles Dickens on the cover of Whitmore's Catalogue 4.

This month we received our first catalogue from Whitmore Rare Books of Pasadena, California. Whitmore Rare Books is operated by Dan Whitmore, one of many in the trade who made the transition from collector to bookseller. It explains why booksellers generally appreciate the goods they sell in ways not often seen with general merchants. As the Whitmore website explains, “We were raised on great books, as essential to us as bread, and we seek to share that passion with anyone of like mind.”

Whitmore describes its mission as “offering the most important books of the last five centuries in uncompromising condition.” Its major focus is on literary first editions and other “books of merit.” Condition is usually exceptional for a book's age, many described at least as “near fine,” with dust jackets in unusually good shape as well. This latest catalogue, Whitmore's Catalogue 4, lives up to these expectations. Here are a few samples of what we found within its pages.

We will start with one of the all-time favorite books among both children and adults, not an easy double to reach. When Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name of Lewis Carroll, wrote what became Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it was really meant to be read by a few children he knew. It was far too good for just that. Lewis' book was taken to Macmillan in London, illustrations were entrusted to John Tenniel, and in the summer of 1865, the pages were printed for binding. Forty-eight copies were bound and given out when Tenniel, displeased with the printing quality of his illustrations, called a halt to the process. The distributed copies were recalled, and all printing halted until the quality could be made satisfactory. Meanwhile, Macmillan retained pages for 1,952 inferior copies. What do you do with them? The answer was easy. Ship them off to America where they won't notice the difference. Item 16 is a copy of that edition, variously described as the first American edition, first edition second issue, or second edition. The British first is practically unknown, making this the first obtainable edition. Priced at $8,000.

Item 5 is a masterpiece for collectors of Oscar Wilde, the premier edition of what is generally considered his greatest work, The Importance of Being Earnest. It is a farce, a comedy where important things are treated as trivial, and vice versa. When it first opened in the London theater in 1895, it met with critical acclaim, and yet it did not run for long. Wilde's personal issues, notably homosexual encounters, were not helpful in that era. Wilde would get embroiled in legal conflicts, end up in jail, and exile. He never wrote another comedy or drama. Offered is the signed, limited, first edition of 1899, one of just 12 copies in a full vellum binding and vellum pages. $55,000.

Item 10 is a thorough collection of the works of one of America's first important novelists, James Fenimore Cooper. Noted for his tales of the frontier, Cooper's books were well-received not just in America, but Europe and other lands where they were translated to many languages. Offered is a set of the 33-volume Author's Autograph Edition of Cooper's works, published from 1895-1900. That may sound odd. How could there be an author's autograph edition when Cooper died almost 50 years before it was published? The answer is that it includes a page of text in Cooper's hand, 44 lines with corrections from his 1848 book Oak Openings. $17,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On</i>, designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, <i>Le Journal / La Traite des Blanches</i>, 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>"Let Us Go Forward Together,"</i> designer unknown, 1940. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, <i>Babylone d'Allemagne</i>, 1894. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Frank Beatty, <i>Out of the Running</i>, 1929. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Wake Up America Day</i>, 1917. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Danté / Sim • Sala • Bim!</i>, designer unknown. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>[Zodiac]</i>, 1900. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Rick Griffin, <i>Jimi Hendrix Experience / John Mayall</i>, 1968. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Abram Games, <i>Join the ATS</i>, 1941. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Aldo Mazza, <i>Torino / Esposizione Internazionale</i>, 1911. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Robert Motherwell, <i>Julliard School / Dedication - Lincoln Center</i>, 1969. $3,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

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