Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

Travel, Exploration and James Cook from Antiquariat Eigl

Eigl137

Travel, Exploration, and James Cook.

Antiquariat Eigl has released Katalog 37. Travel and Explorationwith a Special Section on James Cook. The catalogue is published in German, but an English translation is available on the bookseller's website. It is filled with accounts of 18th and 19th century explorations, with almost a third of the items related to the three voyages of Captain James Cook. While the majority of the works are in the German language, there are many in English and other tongues as well. Some of the German items were written by German explorers, though often serving on expeditions by other countries. There were not many German promoted explorations during most of this time. Other books are first German editions of travel books originally written in other languages. For collectors with a focus on travel and exploration, Antiquariat Eigl has presented a catalogue you will want to see.

Captain James Cook would become perhaps the most admired and popular Britain among his countrymen of the 18th century. However, he had his opponents, particularly early on, as this article within the The Westminster Magazine from 1773 attests. It is a Review of Dr. Hawkesworth's Account of the late South-Sea Voyages. The claims made herein are remarkably similar to those expressed by Alexander Dalrymple, the first Royal Hydrographer, who had hoped to receive the command of the voyage that was instead given to Cook. Dalrymple generally leveled his criticism at Hawkesworth, who wrote the official account of Cook's first voyage and made some errors, but he may have directed his attacks at Hawkesworth because Cook was too popular. The writer of this article, while focused on Hawkesworth, levels some serious implications against the integrity of Cook himself. Dalrymple and others believed there was a massive southern continent, and when Cook came back with no evidence of its existence, at least some believed Cook deliberately avoided confirming their theory. The writer claims that it seems that Cook had secret instructions “to discover, not the Continent itself, but facts to controvert or disprove the notion of its existence.” He continues, “Our circumnavigators came back just as wise as they set out … It appears, at least, highly probable to us that the Captain declined the search, at the very time when he had reason to think he was nearest to the object of it.” Of course, Cook did no such thing, and on his second voyage sailed deep into waters that were located where the theory said there would be land. There was no such huge continent. Item 11. Priced at €480 (euros, or about $630 in U.S. Dollars).

On his second voyage, Cook came back with more than knowledge about continents and islands. He came back with a person, a native of one of the Pacific islands. His name was Omai (or just Mai), and he became the toast of London. He was the epitome of the “noble savage.” Item 14 is a two-volume set from 1830 by George Colman “the Younger” entitled Random Records. It includes an amusing account of a journey into the countryside with Omai, naturalist Joseph Banks, explorer Constantine John Phipps, George Colman “the Elder” and “the Younger” (at the time 12 years old). Colman recalls that when they reached the coast, “Omai, asked little George, back, swim, I, me, carry you.” He proceeded to put the young man on his back, and despite the latter's fears, “my wild friend appear'd as much at home upon the waves as a rope-dancer upon a cord.” He noted that “Omai cooked chickens in the traditional Tahitian manner in a hole in the ground,” and though the Tahitian would have preferred dog, Omai's chicken was still much better than Banks' barbecued hog. “...[N]othing could be better dress'd, or more savoury...” €2,900 (US $3,812).

Speaking of Omai, here is what could be a uniquely important item related to the 18th century visitor. It is a letter written by an unknown third person on Omai's behalf. It states, “Mr. Omai presents his Compliments to Mr. Pigott, & if in town intends doing himself the Honor of waiting on Mr. Bosville on Thursday next.” A couple of other letters in this hand, written on Omai's behalf, are known. However, this one is unique. It has the islander's name written in what Antiquariat Eigl believes is his own hand. If so, it is the only signature of Omai known to exist. He did learn to read and write, not well, but passably. This signature is in a different hand, and it is in the handwriting of someone not very experienced at it. The “o” is not capitalized, “a mistake a person experienced in writing would never make,” Eigl points out. The bookseller concludes, “Most probably this is Omai's own handwriting... This document...may therefore well be the only one existing with a specimen of Omai's handwriting!” €75,000 (US $98,593).

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>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

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