Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2013 Issue

Knuf Rare Books Offers Varied Works

Knuf220

Catalogue 220 from Knuf Rare Books.

Knuf Rare Books has released Catalogue 220, a varied collection of works from the French bookseller. Most items fall into the broad books about books or artistic books categories. That would cover such areas as specimen books, calligraphy, and a large number of library auction catalogues from very long ago. On the more artistic side, we find subjects such as architecture, gardens, and several concerning the designs of fireplaces and chimneys. They were quite elegant, at least among the monied classes, at the time when they provided the sole source of heat in the winter. Here are a few samples of what Knuf Rare Books has to offer.

Giuseppe Renato Imperiali was born of a prosperous, highly respected family from Genoa in 1651. His great uncle, who had been both a political force and a Cardinal, promoted his education and career. He held several offices within the Church, being selected as a Cardinal in 1690. Over the next forty years, he continued in varied important posts. Among those were responsibilities for the commissioning of many public works. At the papal conclave of 1730, Imperiali, though pushing 80 years of age, was the leading contender for Pope, coming within one vote of being selected. However, in those days, the Spanish King held a veto over popes, and put a damper on Imperiali's selection. He remained in his other posts until his death in 1737. Along the way, Cardinal Imperiali amassed a library. By 1711, his library had reached 20,000 volumes. That was the year in which his librarian, Giuseppe Renato Fontanini, compiled this catalogue: Bibliothecae Josephi Renati Imperialis...Catalogus... It provides listings alphabetically by author and by subject. Item 27. Priced at $4,600.

Item 14 is the catalogue for an auction that never took place: Catalogue des Livres du Cabinet de M. de Boze. Claude Gros de Boze was a major French collector who died in 1753. That year, his books were put up for auction. They consisted of over 2,700 items, including a Gutenberg Bible. However, the auction never happened. Two collectors, Jules Francois de Cotte and Charles Robert Boutin, put in a bid and obtained the entire collection ahead of the auction. They made a fine deal. They kept the items they wanted, sold most of the older books to Louis-Jean Gaignet for almost as much as they paid for the entire collection, and put the remainder, roughly half of the books, up for auction the following year. Meanwhile, Gaignet spun off what he purchased to another collector for a tidy profit. $1,200.

Item 15 is the catalogue for the remainder of the De Boze collection, sold the following year - 1754. This sale was conducted by Gabriel Martin in Paris. This auction catalogue, headed Catalogue des livres provenans de la bibliothéque de feu M. de Boze... included the Gutenberg. $2,300.

Item 60 is a catalogue for an auction of ancient Chinese and Japanese porcelain artworks. It is not the works or auction that makes this catalogue curious. Rather, it is the circumstances. The collection was owned by Victor Poinsot, a high French judge, who died in 1860. He did not pass away gently. It was one of the most sensational murder cases of the era. Poinsot was returning by train to Paris from a vacation. He had been resting in his private first-class compartment when he was discovered at a train stop, in a pool of blood. He had been shot in the head and chest, his head bludgeoned. His money, a gold watch, and a traveling rug were stolen. Despite the thefts, officials were suspicious of that as the cause, figuring the violence of the murder pointed to more personal motives. Nonetheless, the only man ever arrested was one Charles Jud, who had supposedly committed another such railway killing. Jud escaped custody and was never heard from again. Rumors swirled that Poinsot had carried on an affair with a young girl during his vacation and the killing was revenge by her brother. Others saw even more sinister motives of spying and intrigue. What exactly happened remains unknown, but we do know the following year, 1861, Poinsot's collection went up for sale. Here is the catalogue: Notice de Porcelains anciennes de Chine & du Japon...dependant de la succession de feu M. Poinsot... Poinsot's murder on a train was part of the inspiration for Emile Zola's book, La Bete Humaine (the Human Beast). $420.

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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