Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2014 Issue

Some Exceptional Material from Raptis Rare Books

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William Shakespeare graces the cover of Raptis' sixth catalogue.

Raptis Rare Books has issued their sixth untitled catalogue, this one recognizable by the large picture of William Shakespeare on the cover. The Bard is appropriate for a cover picture since, while the catalogue is divided into several subjects, the largest of them is literature. There is no greater name in English literature than Mr. Shakespeare. Other topics include economics and finance, science, biography and autobiography, presidents and world leaders, sports and leisure, children's literature, art and photography, and architecture. The common thread of their business, Raptis explains, is offering books in exceptional condition. The books are pretty exceptional too. Here are a few.

 

There's no more logical place to start than with our cover boy. Offered is a copy of Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. This copy is a second folio, published in 1632. Shakespeare never published any of his works. They might well have been lost to history had not some of his friends determined to preserve them after his death. Shakespeare died in 1616, but a collection of his writings was not published until 1623, the first folio. Three more folios were published during the 17th century, after which the gates were opened to printing his work, his genius fully recognized. Raptis notes that no more than 1,000 copies of the second folio are believed to have been printed, with fewer than 200 copies surviving. Priced at $100,000.

 

From England's greatest writer we turn to the man many think was America's greatest – Mark Twain. Ernest Hemingway once said of Huckleberry Finn that it was the best book America ever produced; there was nothing of such significance before or after. Offered is a first edition from 1885. This copy belonged to another quintessentially American writer – Zane Grey. Grey was noted for his westerns, while Huck Finn inhabited the middle of the continent. The book contains Grey's blind stamp. $8,500.

 

Here is another American classic, though not humorous like Twain's tale. John Steinbeck's story of the Jodes, driven from Dust Bowl Oklahoma to farm worker poverty in California during the Great Depression, was all too real. Offered is a first edition, first issue of The Grapes of Wrath, a reminder of how well off we are, even if these aren't the best of times. This copy is inscribed to Steinbeck's friend, movie producer Jules Buck, his wife and daughter. On a lighter note, Steinbeck has sketched his symbol, a drawing of “Pigasus,” the winged pig. $45,000.

 

You would have a hard time finding a greater expert on finance than this writer – Andrew Carnegie. While Carnegie wrote a few books, he is best remembered for his enormous wealth. He made hundreds of millions of dollars in the late 19th century, when that sum of money was unimaginable. He made his money primarily in steel, though he also was invested in railroads and other businesses. He cashed out at the turn of the century when he sold his steel business to J. Pierpont Morgan. Carnegie's book, published in 1901, is entitled The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays. The lead essay was written a dozen years earlier. It is not what you might expect. It is not a railing against taxes, redistribution of wealth, and other views common to wealthy industrialists. In many ways, it's the opposite. Carnegie believed it was appropriate to spend part of one's life amassing wealth, but then he believed it was the wealthy person's responsibility to spend the remainder redistributing that wealth, doing good deeds, particularly ones that would help poor people reach better lives. He supported high estate taxes believing heirs would just waste their parents' money. He was against ostentatious living by the wealthy. It was their duty, he believed, to use their wealth to advance society. He also was not keen on leaving the money to charities after death, believing those who earned the money could do the best job of assuring it was used for the good of society. Carnegie's charitable work is best remembered for the great number of libraries he financed all across the land, believing education to be a major public benefit. He gave most of his money away before he died. $1,250.

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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