Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2014 Issue

Antiquarian Books, Leaves, and Manuscripts from Phillip J. Pirages

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Antiquarian works from Phillip J. Pirages.

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts has issued Catalogue 65: Vellum Illuminated Manuscript Material, Printed Books from 1505-1799 (and Fine Modern Facsimiles, Early Documents, and Single Printed Leaves). Offered is very early material, printed items ranging mostly from the dawn of printing through the 18th century, and manuscript items sometimes preceding the invention of printing by several centuries. “Antiquarian” is the watchword here. The other common thread is that these items overwhelmingly come from England and continental Europe, as one might expect of early works. That may be a bit surprising for a bookseller located in McMinnville, Oregon, but at some time or other this material made the long journey to the New World.

 

Pirages' catalogues are among the best in the business. The descriptions are thorough and illustrated. There are 571 items, but Pirages has supplied 400 pages to describe them all. Leaving things to your imagination has its place, but not when you are making a purchase. “Clarity” is another watchword for Pirages' catalogues. Here are a few sample items from this latest collection.

 

We will start with one of the earliest pieces, an illuminated manuscript leaf almost a millennium old. This comes from the text in Latin for a Good Friday mass, created in Germany during the late 11th century. It survived by having been used in the binding of a later book. The narrative taken from Matthew has been marked with four letters for different parts, indicating it was recited by four different speakers. Pirages notes this is some of the oldest evidence of liturgical drama. It displays the handwork of a very skilled scribe, though Pirages notes that a few faded lines on the recto were later strengthened by the writing of a less skillful hand. Item 2. Priced at $4,500.

 

Item 199 is a complete vellum manuscript created right around the time Gutenberg was inventing his press - circa 1450. It contains three works written by St. Jerome during the fourth century. Jerome was a fairly orthodox believer who didn't mince words in defending his beliefs. The first work in this trilogy is the Life of Paul the Hermit (Paul of Thebes) who led an ascetic existence in the desert, spending almost a century in a far off cave alone. Jerome approved of this lifestyle. The second is Dialogues Against Pelagius, who denied the concept of original sin. This did not meet with Jerome's views. Pirages notes that Jerome was not entirely logical in his arguments, alluding to Pelagius' corpulence and success with women. The third piece is another condemnation of an opponent who opposed reconciliation with those who had formerly defined the Son as separate from the Father (but had renounced those beliefs). Pirages notes the skilled, concise writing and striking initials in this manuscript. $30,000.

 

Inoculation was a controversial subject in the 18th century. Aside from the fact that injecting people with a disease does not, on its face, sound like a great idea, the outcome was not always the best. Item 341 is An Inquiry into the Merits of a Method of Inoculating the Small-Pox, which is Now Practiced in Several Counties of England, published in 1766. The author was Sir George Baker, who supported the practice. His support was significant as he carried the prestige of being a physician to the royal family. However, at the time, the inoculation used a small amount of material from the diseased patient. The hope was it would only cause a mild case of the disease while building up the recipient's immunity. Unfortunately, sometimes the case was not so mild and the patient died from the “cure.” Still, it improved their odds. It would not be until the later days of the century that the use of harmless cowpox in the injection would provide a safe means of inoculation against smallpox. $950.

 

Item 533 is a rare surviving copy of an early attack on the witch-hunting frenzy of the 16th and 17th centuries: The Discoverie of Witchcraft, wherein the Lewde Dealing of Witches and Witchmongers is Notablie Detected... by Reginald Scot. Published in 1584, people in Salem, Massachusetts, still managed to ignore the message over a century later. Scot divided those accused of witchcraft into four categories, for which he had explanations as to why the accusations were false. There were poor women generally despised by their neighbors, those who were mentally disturbed and may have even believed they possessed supernatural powers, those who used tricks to fool people, and genuinely bad people who sought to harm others, but that did not make them witches. Claiming witchcraft was false was actually heresy in its day, and King James later ordered Scot's book burned, explaining its rarity. The King had written about demonology himself. $80,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 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.

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