Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2012 Issue

Exceptional Material from Donald Heald Rare Books

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Fine Books and Mansucripts.

Donald Heald Rare Books has issued A Selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts. These truly are fine books, a catalogue of 100 items filled with works of importance. The catalogue is divided into five sections – Colour Plate and Illustrated, Natural History, Travel and Voyages, Americana, and Literature and Miscellany. Whichever the category, these are all very special books. Here are a few.

We start with a perfect item for butterfly collectors, or at least, butterfly book collectors: The Natural History of the rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia. For some reason, “butterflies” sounds prettier than “lepidopterous insects.” Those Georgians sure have a funny way of saying things. This two-volume set by John Abbot and Sir James Edward Smith is the earliest illustrated monograph on North American butterflies. It was Abbot who did the field work in Georgia and produced the illustrations, while Smith, first president of the Linnaean Society of London, having recognized Abbot's talents, agreed to edit the work. This book was first published in 1797, but while the text volume has paper watermarked 1794, the paper for the plates is watermarked 1817-1821, indicating the later (circa 1822) issue. Item 21. Priced at $67,500.

Next we have a book about another flying creature, and it is one of the most notable American natural history books ever published: The Birds of America. John James Audubon needs no introduction. He spent a decade in the field drawing American birds, published huge (double-elephant folio) illustrations to be bound in a book, and found the cost of producing these so expensive he could not make any money. Of course, if he had a few copies of this original edition around today, he (or his heirs) could make a great fortune, since it sells for around $10 million. A little later, Audubon realized he needed to publish his work in a more affordable format, so from 1840-44 he issued the seven volumes offered as item 24, the first octavo edition of The Birds of America. It was a great success. $85,000.

From fauna we go to flora, Vol XVII. Botany, from the United States Exploring Expedition. During the years 1838...1842. This was the Wilkes Expedition, and due to various impediments, it took a long time for all of the volumes of the official report to be released. This botany volume, edited by Asa Gray, finally made it to print in 1872. The Wilkes Expedition brought back voluminous quantities of data, most notably about Antarctica, and put the United States on the map as a serious scientific power, but this much later volume was apparently only printed in 100 copies, most undistributed, so it is quite rare. Item 43. $6,500.

Item 73 is The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, containing the portraits and biographical sketches of twenty-four of the most eminent citizens of the American Republic, since the death of Washington. It contains photographic portraits by noted photographer Matthew Brady and biographical descriptions edited by Charles Edward Lester of 12 notable Americans (actually, only 11 Brady photographs and one painting). If 12 portraits and essays conflicts with the title, which says 24, it is evident Brady intended a second volume, but reluctantly had to give it up. This book gives us an idea of who was considered important post-Washington by Americans in 1850. The list includes President Zachary Taylor, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Silas Wright, Henry Clay, John C. Fremont, John James Audubon, William Hickling Prescott, Winfield Scott, President Millard Fillmore, William Ellery Channing, and Lewis Cass. Most have stood the test of time, but I will admit, I had to look three of them up. Wright was a Governor and Senator from New York, Prescott a historian, and Channing was a prominent preacher man. $22,500.

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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