Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2013 Issue

Japan Is the Subject for Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books

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Japan.

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books has issued a new catalogue with the simple title, Japan. It covers works relating to the earliest European visits to Japan through 20th century expositions and other endeavors that connected East and West. The catalogue is divided into two parts. The first, on which we will focus, contains the older and most highly collectible material. The second part contains more recent material pertaining, mostly, to earlier times. Here, now, are some of these items.

We will start with a book by the first European known to have visited Japan. Much of what Fernao Mendes Pinto wrote must be taken with a grain of salt, or perhaps a whole block of it. His adventures at times are so fantastic as to be unbelievable, quite literally. Indeed, his work earned Pinto the royal title “Prince of Lies.” Nonetheless, he tells us about some of the customs and the like of places he visited, and for many, this was the first western account of these places. Mendez, a Portuguese sailor, headed east in 1537. His first stop was India, but he also visited Indonesia, China, and Japan. His adventures in China are among the most unbelievable. He claimed to have been taken prisoner and forced to help build the Great Wall. However, he was then supposedly freed by invading Tartars, reaching a pirate ship that agreed to take him away. However, the pirate ship sank off of Japan, leading him to be the first westerner to reach their shores. Pinto claimed to have been the person to introduce the gun to the Japanese. Eventually, he made his way home and wrote his book in manuscript. It lay idle until finally published 30 years after his death. Item 28 is the 1652 first Dutch edition of Pinto's tale, Wonderlyke reizen van Fernando Mendez Pinto... Priced at €650 (euros, or about US $848).

From the first European to visit Japan we turn to the first English visitor. Will Adams was a remarkable individual. In 1598, he signed on to one of five vessels being sent to South America and Asia by Dutch merchants for the purpose of trade. It was a disastrous mission. Between bad weather and other navigational issues, only two ships made it through the Straits of Magellan. Those who made it suffered numerous other deprivations, including some being slaughtered by natives, others by Portuguese, one of the two remaining ships sinking with all on board lost, and finally Adams' ship, its crew near starvation, barely limping across the ocean to arrive in Japan. Hostile Portuguese missionaries quickly told Japanese authorities the men were pirates and called for their execution. Adams convinced the Japanese otherwise. He would become close to the Shogun, developing a relationship of mutual trust and respect. He taught them how to build western style ships. He was granted the right to trade, and opened relations with other countries, including England. Though others on the crew were allowed to leave, Adams was evidently too valuable and for many years was required to stay. However, once allowed to leave, he chose to remain in Japan. He sent money home to his family in England, but formed a new one in Japan, where he remained until he died in 1620. Item 9 is Will Adams. The first Englishman in Japan, by William Dalton, circa 1870. €225 (US $293).

Item 27 is a Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's mission to China and Japan in the years 1857, '58, 59. It was written by Laurence Oliphant and published in 1860. Elgin served as a British diplomat in places as far flung as Canada, India, and China. Relations with China were tense, the two sides frequently at battle with each other. However, Oliphant reported that they were surprised with the warmth with which they were received in Japan. The nation had only recently been forced to open its doors to trade by Commodore Perry's American mission, but rather than further hostility to the West, Elgin's mission was well received and the men were allowed to travel freely through Japan. Oliphant was Elgin's private secretary, an MP, a later a novelist. €375 (US $489).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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