Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2012 Issue

Bible, Early Books, and Fine Bindings from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins111

The beginning of the Doves Press Bible.

In the Beginning... James Cummins Bookseller has issued Catalogue 111. Bible, Early Books, & Fine Bindings. These are works overwhelmingly with a theological bent. With a concentration on very early works, including many items of incunabula, one would expect religious material. Most books printed in those days were meant more to save one's eternal soul than manage their temporal concerns. It's no coincidence that Gutenberg was famous for printing a Bible. Here are a few of these works from Cummins' latest catalogue, and they range from dawn-of-printing incunabula to fine press books from the 20th century.

Item 80 is the 1472 Strassburg edition (a year after the first) of one of the most important early biblical texts. It was the first printed commentary on the Bible, and it was regularly used by scholars for many centuries. It is entitled Postilla super totam Bibliam, and it was written by Nicolaus de Lyra, a Franciscan who lived during the 13th and 14th centuries. It had been passed around in manuscript form in the almost two centuries before printing became available. De Lyra's book shows a section of Bible verse surrounded by his explanation of the text. He believed in its literal meaning, arguing that any mystical interpretations must be based on its literal truth. Priced at $175,000.

Item 6 is an early account of The History of the Church of Englande. Very early. This is not King Henry's Anglican Church. The book was written during the 8th century, when the Church of England was the Catholic Church. The author was the Venerable Bede, an English monk whose life encompassed parts of the 7th and 8th centuries. Bede has become known as the “Father of English History” for his this work. It begins with the conquest of England in the first century by Julius Caesar, and proceeds to the present time, which was the year 731. It covers both the ecclesiastical history, including the introduction of Christianity and its eventual spreading through the land, as well as political development. Considering how little is generally known about this time in English history, Bede's work is of enormous importance. This is the first English translation, published in 1565. As is often the case, it is bound with Thomas Stapleton's A Fortresse of the Faith First Planted amonge us Englishmen...The Faith of which Time Protestants Call, Papistry. $12,500.

Item 55 is another thorough historical work: The History of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, from its foundation until these times... If you are looking to learn more about the London landmark visitors flock to see today, you will be disappointed. This is a history of the previous cathedral that stood in the same spot for 600 years. The earlier version was built at the time of the Norman Conquest. Actually, there were still earlier editions, including one mentioned in Bede's history, but they likely were at different locations. This St. Paul's was built over several centuries, but by the time of King Henry VIII, deterioration had already set it. He helped the process, and a century later, despite some work in the 1630s, it began to look like the end could be near. That is when William Dugdale wrote this account, digging up all the ancient records and everything else he could find to preserve the cathedral's history. This book was published in 1658, and none to soon. St. Paul's was consumed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, and rather than attempting a reconstruction, an entirely redesigned cathedral was constructed to replace it. That is the St. Paul's that stands today. $6,000.

Item 10 is an early printing of the Book of Exodus using the “Cherokee alphabet:” Exodus: or the Second Book of Moses. Translated into the Cherokee Language. Its loose gatherings were printed from 1853-55. It was translated by Samuel Austin Worcester and Stephen Foreman. As a youth, Worcester befriended Elias Boudinot (Watie), later the Cherokee leader of the faction that favored voluntary consent with orders to move from Georgia to Oklahoma. Worcester was inspired to be a missionary to the Cherokees, to which he would devote his life. One can only wonder how members of the tribe saw the Book of Exodus, a welcome exodus to a “Promised Land,” compared to their own forced exodus from their ancestral home to a land they did not wish to inhabit. $750.

Item 13 is the masterpiece of the Doves Press, The English Bible, five volumes published 1903-1905 (pictured on this catalogue's cover). Doves was the creation of Thomas Cobden-Sanderson (along with Emery Walker), who had worked with William Morris in earlier years. Doves published 40 books from 1900-1916, with Cobden-Sanderson destroying their type at the end so it could never be used in a lesser way. The Doves Bible is noted for its initial red letters, and the red first line of the Book of Genesis. $15,000.

James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or info@jamescumminsbookseller.com. Their website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com.

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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