Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2014 Issue

Important Works from a San Francisco Private Library from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

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Books from a private library.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Catalogue 60: Books from a San Francisco Private Library. This catalogue is subtitled Part I, Fine Books and Illuminated Manuscripts. In other words, there will be more selections from this library in the months ahead. While the collector is not named, it is clear he or she collected at the highest level. Some of these books are at the top of the most important titles ever written. Nothing here is ordinary.

 

We will look at a few of the items, but first, a word about the illuminated manuscripts. Most of these are individual leaves, and their origin very long ago. Some are contemporary with the first century of printing, but others long precede Mr. Gutenberg and his invention. We find some as early as the beginning of the 13th century.

 

If you are looking for a bible that will take you as close as you can to the original source, this is likely the best you can do. Item 44 is a manuscript bible on vellum from northern France which dates back to around 1250-1275. It contains 543 leaves, plus 13 later ones, dating from the 15th century. The writing is in dark brown ink, in what Windle describes as “a handsome small gothic hand.” Some headings are in red, chapter numbers in alternating red and blue, while certain large capitals are touched in red. It is bound in 16th century German white pigskin. It belonged to a “fr. laure[n]t” in the late 13th century. Among its more “recent” owners is the notable early 19th century French statesman Tallyrand. Priced at $125,000.

 

Here is a chance to learn the entire history of the world, from Creation through the year 1493. For years after that, you are on your own. Item 21 is Hartmann Schedel's Liber Chronicarum, better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle. Schedel set out to complete the daunting task of recounting everything important since the days of Adam and Eve, making sure that Nuremberg was recognized for its role in world history. The timing is ironic as Schedel published his work just as our understanding of the world was about to make enormous changes. This is a first edition, in Latin, completed on July 12, 1493. Columbus had returned from America only a few months earlier, but Schedel was unaware of his discoveries, or the rapidly expanding world, taking place as he completed his history. This book contains hundreds of woodcuts, including the rare instance of the image of the supposed Pope Joan that has not been defaced. Item 21. $89,500.

 

Here is something else you can buy for your $89,500. Item 6 is The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the 1896 edition published by the Kelmscott Press. This one, too, has a common name – the Kelmscott Chaucer. The Kelmscott Press of William Morris was the leader in the private press movement, still considered the finest of the fine presses. Its Chaucer is considered the greatest work ever produced by this legendary printer. Item 6. $89,500.

 

Next we have what Windle describes as “the single most important scientific book ever published.” Additionally, it may be the most controversial as well. Item 7 is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin's 1859 pioneering work on evolution. It certainly ran contrary to Schedel's account of early human history. Windle notes that this copy has never been sold at auction or through the trade. $160,000.

 

Item 28 is a manuscript draft of a letter pertaining to what would have been a hugely fascinating collaboration if only it had come to pass. The polished, urbane composer, Igor Stravinsky, and the much younger, hard-living poet, Dylan Thomas, planned to produce an opera together. Stravinsky was 28 years Thomas' senior, though he still managed to outlive the alcoholic poet by 18 years. Drink can do this to you. This draft was written in Thomas' hand, including corrections and deletions, and is unfinished. Thomas was reluctant to write lyrics for the famed Stravinsky to put to music. He notes, “I have lots of ideas – good, bad, and chaotic.” The draft is dated June 16, 1953. However, plans were apparently made to work on the project, as Stravinsky set aside room in his home for Thomas and on October 25 wired Thomas asking when he expected to arrive. The reply came back in a telegram two weeks later. Thomas had died, the aftermath of heavy drinking even as his health was deteriorating rapidly. $4,750.

 

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

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

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