Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

Children's Books from Aleph-Bet Books


Children's and Illustrated Books.

Aleph-Bet Books has released their Catalogue 112 of Children's Books & Illustrated Books. Aleph-Bet's catalogues are always a treat. Every item, and there are over 500, is illustrated in color, and most of the books are filled with fun and wonder. A few convey some truly ugly prejudices of their time, but those are the fault of adults, not the children who received them. While most children's books do not survive the years well, because, after all, they were handled by children, these are almost universally in excellent shape. Here are a few of them.


We will begin with a book written for some of the youngest of readers, but don't let the little ones get their dirty hands on this copy. Item 314 is a first edition of the first Pooh book, When We Were Very Young. This is from a limited run of 100 copies that were signed by both author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard. Each actually had names, but preferred to use their initials. However, Shepard did sign this book as "Ernest." The limited edition was printed on hand-made paper to sharpen the quality of Shepard's drawings. Priced at $16,000.


Here is another classic first, the rare first edition, first issue of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. This is the "Beginner Books" issue with the sticker "50 word vocabulary" applied to the front of the dust jacket. This is an exceptional copy. Yes, Sam, it is. Item 451. $4,750.


H. A. Rey will forever be most associated with Curious George, but he wrote many other books. This one is a beginner's guide to astronomy, The Stars: A New Way To See Them, published in 1952. It includes numerous illustrations of the stars and constellations, also done by Rey. The dust jacket is a double folded chart which when opened displays the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. This being a presidential year, Rey's inscription is most timely – "To Adlai Stevenson. May his star rise!" Stevenson was the Democratic nominee for President in 1952 and 1956, who had the misfortune of having to run against World War II hero Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. Rey dated his inscription November 30, 1952, so hopefully it cheered up Stevenson a bit from his loss a few weeks earlier in his first presidential campaign. Item 422. $1,750.


The image on the cover of this catalogue comes from the Hebrew children's book Sefer Hadvarim (book of things). It contains 16 poems by Hayim Bialik and illustrations by Tom Seidmann-Freud. "Tom" was Martha Gertrude, but adopted the name "Tom." She was also the niece of Sigmund Freud. Together with Bialik and her husband, Jankew Seidmann, they formed the publisher Ophir, which published this book in 1922. Their books, this one in particular, are hard to find. They would be banned by the Nazis. The ending was tragic as Ophir went bankrupt, Jankew Seidmann took his own life, and Tom Freud became deeply depressed and died of an overdose of sleeping pills. These were bad times in Germany. Item 207. $4,000.


Next up is a book of humorous verses, Tails with a Twist, "verse by a Belgian Hare," published in 1898. The Belgian Hare was Lord Alfred Douglas, better known for his tragic relationship with a much better writer than was he. Douglas was the lover of Oscar Wilde. Wilde was attacked by Douglas' father, the Marquess of Queensberry, and sued for libel. Wilde lost big time, was sent to prison for two years, and emerged a broken man, dying three years later in exile from his native England. Douglas himself would end up in a libel suit for claims made about Winston Churchill, no less, years later and spent time in prison himself. However, while not the nicest of characters, his verses are mildly amusing, such as – "Few birds or beasts are more unpleasant / Or more malicious than a pheasant." Item 345. $200.


Here is an odd tale that must have given some kids nightmares. The title is The Story of Little Degchie Head, published in 1903. It's about the strange experiences of little Mary. Aleph-Bet explains, "When she accidentally burned off her head, the houseboy Domingo replaced it with a pot (called a degchie in India) painted with a face." It evidently was not much of a face, so Santa supplied her with a doll's head as a replacement, a step up. The author of this odd tale was Helen Bannerman, better known for her controversial (today) character of Sambo. Item 43. $600.


Item 106 contains the first appearance in book form of the best known Christmas poem (in English, anyway). It also is the first printing to identify its author. Item 106 is The New York Book of Poetry. It was published, fittingly, in New York in 1837. One of the poems is A Visit from St. Nicholas. It had been printed before in a newspaper and almanacs, but anonymously at the time. The author is herein identified as Clement Moore. The poem remains popular today, though it is now usually referred to as The Night Before Christmas, its opening line. Item 106. $2,000.


Aleph-Bet Books may be reached at 914-764-7410 or Helen@alephbet.com. Their website is found at www.alephbet.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <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>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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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