Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2014 Issue

Voyages and Travel from Maggs Bros.

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Catesby's snake on the cover of Maggs Bros.' Catalogue 1475.

Maggs Bros. Ltd. has issued a catalogue of Voyages & Travel, the 1475th in their long history. It takes us back to a time when journeys were a major, often extremely dangerous undertaking. That snake on the cover (taken from Mark Catesby's 18th century natural history of the American South) was likely the least of your worries. Times have changed, but our appreciation for the books that described these treacherous journeys of bygone days remains. Here are a few for you to consider.

 

The most famous of all sea mutinies was that of the Bounty. A group of crewmen, who apparently preferred to remain in Tahiti then carry on with the ship's mission, overtook Capt. Bligh and the loyal crew members, sending most of them off on a small boat from which Bligh led a miraculous 3,500-mile trip to rescue. The mutineers returned to Tahiti, and eventually the largest group sailed off to Pitcairn Island, unknown to the rest of the world. When word of the mutiny reached England, a mission was sent to find the mutineers and bring them back to London for trial. The ship Pandora, captained by Edward Edwards, was assigned the task. Edward's journey didn't turn out much better than Bligh's. He did find the 14 men still on Tahiti, although a few of them were not mutineers but loyal sailors who remained with the Bounty because they could not fit on Bligh's small boat. However, despite their searching many Pacific islands, Edwards did not find those on Pitcairn. Meanwhile, the Pandora suffered a series of mishaps, the worst being when it struck a reef and sank. Altogether, over 50 of the Pandora's crew, along with four of the prisoners, died before they returned to England. Edwards himself would be court-martialed, though exonerated. Four of the prisoners were also exonerated, two pardoned, one acquitted on technical grounds, and three executed. The account of the Pandora's terrible mission was published in 1793, A Voyage Round the World in His Majesty's Frigate Pandora, by George Hamilton. Item 49. Priced at £9,500 (British pounds, or roughly $15,484 in U. S. dollars).

 

Pirates make for great tales, even if actually meeting up with them must have been a terrible experience. Item 83 is A Narrative of the Horrid Murder & Piracy committed on board the Schooner Eliza, of Philadelphia... by its captain, William Wheland. This is a story of piratical ineptitude, amusing but for the lives lost. The Eliza was two weeks out of Philadelphia when three pirates, posing as crewmen, took over the ship. They did so by killing the sailors, all except the Captain. They were forced to reach a deal with Captain Wheland to be their pilot, as none of the pirates knew how to steer a ship. What kind of pirates were they? The plan was to kill Wheland once they saw land, but the Captain was smarter than the greedy pirates. He snuck up on two of them while they were examining the booty, locking them in the hold. He then captured their leader on deck, lashing him to the mast. Wheland took the ship to St. Kitts, where the pirates were arrested and sent back to Philadelphia. They were tried, sentenced, and hanged for their crimes. This book contains last letters written back home by the pirates, expressing remorse for their acts. £2,500 (US $4,080).

 

Item 82 records a celebration in San Francisco that had nothing to do with that city: The Celebration in San Francisco, in Commemoration of the Successful Laying of the Atlantic Cable Monday 27 September 1858. The transatlantic cable took as short a route as possible, running from Ireland to Newfoundland, about as far from San Francisco as anyplace on the North American continent could be. Nonetheless, the good people of San Francisco took to the streets to celebrate this technological marvel, which was described in this rare broadside. A greeting was sent from the English side followed by a message from Britain's great 19th century monarch, Queen Victoria, to America's not-so-great President, James Buchanan. Unfortunately, messages had to be entered very slowly, making substantial communication difficult, and within a few weeks, there was deterioration in the cable and it ceased to work altogether. It would be almost another decade before a new, better constructed cable could be laid to make cross-ocean communication practical. £1,250 (US $2,040).

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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