Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2016 Issue

A Spring Catalogue of Books about Books from Oak Knoll


Spring Catalogue of Books about Books.

Oak Knoll Books has published their Catalogue 310 A Spring Catalogue of Books about Books. The catalogue is broken into separate sections, which gives a good idea of what you will find in a catalogue of "books about books:" Featured Books; Bookbinding; Book Illustration & Book Design; Book Selling, Collecting, and Publishing History; Fine & Private Press; Printing History & Type Specimens; Papermaking, Marbling, & Specimens; General Books-about-Books; Bibliography and Reference; and Miscellaneous. That final category allows for a few items that push the border of being books about books. Here are a few "specimens" from this catalogue


We begin with the most thorough examination of the man who was, if not the greatest book collector ever, the most voluminous. Sir Thomas Phillipps was a 19th century collector who made the most serious attempt of anyone to obtain a copy of every book and manuscript in existence. Of course, that is an impossible goal, but give Phillipps credit for trying. Every room in his home was filled to the ceiling with books and manuscripts, leaving barely enough room to get around. While he had a decent amount of money, he was always going broke as every cent he could find went to buying more works. While his book collection was large, it was his manuscripts that were of greatest note. Manuscripts, by their nature, tend to be one of a kind, and were it not for Phillipps' obsession, many that he saved would have been lost forever. After his death, Phillipps' collection was dispersed in a series of sales, that continued for over a century. Item 67 is the five-volume Phillips Studies, produced by the bibliographic scholar A. N. L. Munby. The set, which covers both Phillips' collection, his personal affairs, and the dispersal of his library, was published from 1951-1960. Priced at $450.


The reason it took so long to disperse the Phillipps' collection was partly because of its size and partly the will of Thomas Phillipps, who wished it remain together. It took over a decade before courts reduced Phillipps' stipulations which enabled the material to be sold. Over the next 50 years, sales were supervised by Phillipps' grandson, Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick. In 1935, A. E. Popham published a catalogue of a specific portion of the material collected by Phillipps' still held at that time by Fenwick: Catalogue of Drawings Formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F. R. S., Now in the Possession of His Grandson T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. It was privately printed for Fenwick. Thirlestaine House was also the residence and site of the collection for Phillipps. Fenwick died three years later, and in 1946 most of the Phillipps' collection of drawings was obtained by the British Museum. Item 46. $650.


As long as we are covering large, eccentric book collectors whose collections were sold many years after they died, how about William Beckford? Beckford inherited a fortune from his father, for which he had a very appropriate use – spending it. He spent a fortune building a huge Gothic estate, Fonthill Abbey, which he filled with books. Unfortunately, soon after its completion, he could no longer afford the place, which suffered from shoddy workmanship. He sold and moved to another fine residence, Hamilton Palace, where he remained until the end of his life in 1844. While he had sold many of his books earlier, Beckford still retained a major collection at the time of his death. It remained with the family for almost 40 more years until being sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge from 1882-1884. Item 56 is the Catalogue of the First (to fourth) Portion of the Beckford Library Removed from Hamilton Palace. These catalogues include penned in prices and names of buyers in the margins. $800.


There have been some noted book forgers over the years, but none top Thomas James Wise. Wise was a highly respected scholar, collector, and bibliographer. Unfortunately, he helped support himself by constructing forgeries. Wise didn't just copy existing books, but he would invent earlier editions of known books, thereby creating books that were both unique and seemingly enormously valuable. He made this believable by inventing copies of books originally published in collections and creating first separately published editions. This was doubly troubling considering Wise's role as bibliographer because not only was he defrauding purchasers, he was including his invented editions in his bibliographies, thereby making them dishonest too. Wise was able to get away with this for four decades, but his creations raised suspicions, and finally it all became clear with the publication of this book – An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets. The expose was written by John Carter and Graham Pollard, published in 1934. Both authors have signed this copy. Carter, in 1970, with an inscription. Pollard, humorously, in 1973, writing after Carter's name, "Signature authenticated by Graham Pollard." Item 204. $550.


Here is one from the miscellaneous category. It is a framed broadside headed The Life and Age of Woman. The subhead expands, Stages of Woman's Life from infancy to the brink of the grave. It was created by Albert Alden, circa 1835. It displays seven images of women from ages 1-90. It depicts and describes each of the stages, consistent with role stereotypes of the day. The woman is shown in a separate illustration as nurturer, teaching her child from the scriptures. The woman reaches her peak at the age of 30 when she is "at the height of her physical and intellectual powers." It's all downhill from there. By 90, "we see all that remains of her who once tripped the light fantastic." Alden also created one of these charming pieces for men, but at least men don't reach their peak until 50 before descending into decline and decrepitude. Item 275. $2,500.


Oak Knoll Books may be reached at 800-996-2556 or orders@oakknoll.com. Their website is www.oakknoll.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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