Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2013 Issue

Literature, History and More from Raptis Rare Books


Raptis Rare Books fourth catalogue.

This month we received our first catalogue from Raptis Rare Books, of Brattleboro, Vermont. If it helps any, Brattleboro is close to southwestern New Hampshire and northwestern Massachusetts. It's also close to a lot of cows and maple trees. It's a great place to visit, particularly in the fall. Raptis Rare Books is operated by Matthew Raptis, a collector since the age of eight. No wonder children's books is among the type they offer, along with history, economics, science fiction, and most of all, literature. First editions predominate the selection, and exceptional condition is a major factor in what they carry. Exceptional service is also a major goal. Here are a few selections from Raptis Rare Books' fourth catalogue.

Since The Great Gatsby is once again the rage with the release of his latest film incarnation, we will start with the original, the first edition, first issue, published in 1925. This one is described as “a very fine copy in a very good first issue dust jacket.” Surprisingly enough, Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third novel, was not a notable success at the time. His first had been more popular, and Fitzgerald made most of his money from short stories and film adaptations. Gatsby's greater success would come in the theaters, with periodic updates, such as that recently released, bringing in new generations of audiences. However, it is that success in the theaters that undoubtedly has helped make Gatsby one of the most collectible novels of the 20th century. This copy is particularly valuable because of the first issue dust jacket. The “celestial eyes” of the jacket is perhaps the most famous of any cover art. Fitzgerald was enthralled by it, actually writing it into the novel. Priced at $160,000.

We next move a decade forward, but stay with Scott Fitzgerald. In 1925, he was a young author, a success living it up in the jazz age. By 1935, he was struggling with the expenses of a lifestyle at times beyond his means, declining income, responsibility for a child, and his wife Zelda's psychological issues that would result in her being institutionalized most of the remainder of her life. His own health was burning out as well, his heart giving out just five years later at the age of 44. It is into this darkness that he published Taps at Reveille, his last collection of short stories, or any book for that matter, published during his lifetime. This copy is inscribed to Isabell Owens, “For Isabelle Owens / Hoping we'll both be able to look back to this winter as a bleak exception, in a business way / From F. Scott (“Old Scrooge”) Fitzgerald.” Owens was Fitzgerald's personal secretary during his years in Baltimore, from 1932-1936, and part-time after he left for Hollywood until his death in 1940. She typed the drafts of Tender Is the Night, his last novel published during his lifetime, as well as handling his correspondence, accounts, dealt with creditors, ran errands, babysat daughter Scottie, and was at times a companion to Zelda. The year 1935 was something of a bleak exception “in a business way,” as once Scott moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter, his income rebounded substantially, but personally life did not improve. Both his health and Zelda's continued to deteriorate and screenwriting was not emotionally satisfying for him. $45,000.

This book may never be confused with those of Fitzgerald on a basis of literary merit, and yet it is one of the most collectible and valuable pieces of modern literature today – Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming. This is another book whose value is substantially enhanced by screen adaptations, not so much of this particular book, but of later titles in the series of James Bond thrillers. Casino Royale was the first, published in 1953, and this is the one that introduced us to Mr. Bond. Fleming's Bond novels were not an overnight success, but their popularity grew through the 1950s. However, it was not until the Bond films began to be released a decade later that secret agent 007 achieved the astronomical popularity he retains to this day. $47,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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.

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