Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2012 Issue

Spectacular Books for the Fair from Peter Harrington

Pharringtonny2012

Some outstanding books from the fair.

Peter Harrington published a catalogue of Books Exhibited at New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2012. One hopes the London bookseller heavily insured this collection, as it is filled with some of the most important books you will ever find. Rather than providing thorough descriptions of a smaller number of items, as is Harrington's usual practice, this collection includes 142 briefly described items. That is acceptable, as most of these works need no introduction. You will know them well. These are a few samples.

Tom Sawyer may be one of the classics of American literature, but the first edition was published in England. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, wanted to be sure of securing an English copyright, so he had the first edition published by Chatto and Windus in London in 1876. He quickly followed with a first American edition. Item 25 is a copy of the London first. Priced at $40,000.

Here is something from Twain that is even earlier than a first edition. Item 25 is a manuscript by the author of a chapter from A Tramp Abroad, which was published in 1880. It contains 43 leaves, and consists of the 20th chapter of his book, called My Collection of Bric-A-Brac. $80,000.

Here are some more pre-edition editions. These come from the 1940s, so they reflect the technological advances of the era. They are typescripts rather than manuscripts. They are the last two novels by Agatha Christie. One is Curtain, the last case of detective Hercule Poirot, the other Sleeping Murder, the last Miss Marple mystery. These books were published in the 1970s, near the end of Christie's life, but were written around 40 years earlier. Item 15. $24,000.

Item 51 is a first edition of one of the most important political tracts in American history: The Federalist. Published in 1788, it consists of a series of essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. However, at the time, authorship was kept anonymous. The authors, all important founders of the new republic, hoped to convince their readers, New Yorkers in particular, to adopt the newly written constitution, which had not yet been approved by the states at the time. $350,000.

Item 117 is a second edition of perhaps the most important literary work ever written, certainly the greatest of English literature. It is the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies by William Shakespeare, better known simply as the Second Folio. Shakespeare exhibited little interest in publishing his works, or even preserving them. He simply put on plays. When he died, there was no published record of his many great works. Fortunately, a few friends and colleagues got together to preserve his creations, and in 1624, they published the first edition of this book, known as the First Folio. That is a multimillion dollar item. Eight years later, in 1632, this Second Folio was printed. Two other folio editions were published later in the 17th century before the 18th century saw the great proliferation of printing of Shakespeare's works. $625,000.

Here is another enormously valuable book that also carries the Shakespeare name. However, this Shakespeare has little to do with the man other than being named in his honor. It is a first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses. Joyce was unable to get his work published in England. It was feared too obscene for censors' eyes. So, he crossed the channel to France, where views were a bit more open at the time. There, Sylvia Beach and her Shakespeare and Company publishers were willing to take a chance on Joyce's work. Item 67 is one of 100 signed and numbered copies by Joyce. $450,000.

Item 31 is to science what those previous books were to literature – groundbreaking, extraordinarily important works. It is a first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. The book was extremely controversial, challenging the widely held religious beliefs of the day. Even now, it remains controversial, hard to imagine as that seems. $240,000.

Peter Harrington may be reached at +44 (0)20 7591 0220 or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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

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