Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2013 Issue

Fine and Unusual Bindings from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

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Fine and unusual bindings.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Occasional List Four: Fine and Unusual Bindings. For those who believe the old adage you can't judge a book by its cover, these are the exceptions. Some of these books really shouldn't be judged by any other criteria. They are meant to be works of art, appreciated for the visual rather than textual appeal. The text may be interesting, but that is hardly the point. They were not meant to be reading copies, not even in the beginning. For those who collect surface beauty, here are 35 books that will catch your eye.

 

Here is a binding that is both fine and unusual, wrapped around a book that is also unusual. Item 3 is the Arion Press 1980 edition of Flatland. A Romance of Many Directions, by Edwin Abbott, first published in 1886. This edition includes an introduction by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who has also signed the book, as has Arion publisher Andrew Hoyem. It is one of a limited edition of 275 copies. The book itself is an odd story about different dimensional worlds. Flatland is a two dimensional world (hence its being flat). Males in Flatland are polygons, while women are limited to being straight lines. This can be dangerous, as when a woman approaches a male, she comes straight on as a point, and can impale and kill the male. Hence, they must enter their homes through separate doors. Some of these two-dimensional creatures come to meet up with inhabitants of a one-dimensional world, and then a three-dimensional one such as ours. They cannot cope with the differences and so speaking of these other worlds becomes a crime. Abbott uses the book to speculate about worlds with more than three dimensions, which some see as something of a precursor to Einstein. He also uses the book for social satire about relationships. This Arion edition plays up the flat world by presenting the book as 56 accordion-style folded panels, which when opened lay out flat, 33 feet long. It is bound in an aluminum cover with an aluminum frame, hinged and clasped. Priced at $3,000.

 

This was already a notable edition even before being bound in white vellum stamped in gilt with silk ties. It is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the 1915 edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham. It is one of only two Dickens books Rackham illustrated. It contains 11 color and 20 black and white illustrations. This is the Deluxe limited edition (500 copies) signed by Rackham. “Surely the best of all illustrated versions,” notes Windle. Item 11. $6,500.

 

There is something unusual, or perhaps ironic about the fine bindings on this 1940 Limited Editions Club book. It is half green morocco with decorated boards and a gilt backstrip with floral decorations using red morocco inlays. The book features lithographs by the artist Thomas Hart Benton. What is perhaps ironic is the title chosen for this treatment – John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. It is the story of dirt poor Oklahoma farmers driven to California during the height of the Dust Bowl and Depression, barely making enough money to survive, an odd choice for such a rich presentation. Item 31. $795.

 

For those who would like to do a lot of reading, or to have a lot of attractive books on the shelf, item 33 is a set of the complete Delphin Varirum Classics. These are works from antiquity edited and put in a set of 166 volumes by A.J. Volpy, published from 1819-1830. Each volume is in matching vellum bindings with gilt borders and backstrips. You will unquestionably impress your friends with a set like this on your shelves, especially if you can quote from them. $17,500.

 

From 166 books we turn to the other extreme. Item 24 is a single book, and a miniature at that. It is the London Almanack for the year of Christ 1790. Published in 1789, it contains 24 pages, and measures a demure 2.25” x 1.25”. It features full red morocco covers with blue and white morocco inlays with wavy gilt lines. And, it all fits on the cover. Item 24. $1,750.

 

We conclude with one odder piece for a fine binding. Item 1 is a bound edition of the full run of Horseshit. The Offensive Review. It was published from 1965-1970, but four issues comprises the entire run. It was an anti-war, anti-establishment sort of publication as one might expect from this era, with a touch of what was, at least at the time, considered pornography. It is an odd choice for a fine binding, but obviously the owner of these masterpieces published by brothers Bob and Tom Dunker had a sense of humor (along with money). They had it bound by Arthur Johnson, who would have enjoyed the task, having a sense of humor himself. The binding has an American flag motif, an erotic image with wavy red and pale stripes and white stars on a blue background. The binding is signed “AJ” in 1973. Item 1. $7,500.

 

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be reached at 415-986-5826. The website is www.johnwindle.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown SOYUZ-3 space navigation indicator with unflown on-ground transformer. <br>US$ 30,000-40,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Original Gemini 133P Trainer Assembly Five Part Electrical System & Attitude Maneuver ... US$ 60,000-90,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Apollo 11 Navigational Chart. Taken to Lunar surface mapping the start of the <br>first manned lunar descent. <br>US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> FFlown Apollo 11 Flight Plan Sheetmission Day One. Some of the first words and data values written by Neil Armstrong. US$ 18,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.

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