Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2005 Issue

Books and Manuscripts of All Ages from the 19th Century Shop

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Rare Books and Manuscripts for All Ages from The 19th Century Shop.


By Michael Stillman

The 19th Century Shop
has issued its Catalogue 106 of "Rare Books and Manuscripts of All Ages." This is a wonderful collection of works from some of the greatest scientists, writers, political and other leaders from half a millennium. Many of them carry the signatures and inscriptions of their famous creators. Here are a few selections from this fine collection.

Isaac Newton was one of the greatest minds and most important scientists the world has ever known. Therefore, it's a bit surprising to find that he was obsessed with his genealogical pedigree. Newton was born to a solid but not aristocratic family. His father died before he was born and he was raised by his grandmother. Perhaps this led the great man to be so concerned about his background. The 19th Century Shop offers a manuscript draft in which Newton relates family traditions which linked him to Sir John Newton. It is all very strange since Newton's reputation would long outlive those of the noblemen he admired. Priced at $75,000.

Albert Einstein may be the only other scientist on Newton's level, but he didn't suffer from an aristocracy complex. He was a humble genius. Offered is a first edition of Die Drundlage der allgemeinen Relativitatstheorie. The English-speaking world knows this better as the "General Theory of Relativity." This 1919 book is signed and dated by Einstein in 1951. 19th Century provides a quote from Einstein about this book: "Hardly anyone who truly understands it will be able to escape the charm of this theory." I wouldn't know. $32,000.

This is one of the most important travel anthologies ever published: the complete set of Cook's Voyages. Captain James Cook led three voyages to the Pacific. The first was undertaken to observe a rare transit of Venus, which would enable calculation to be made of the Earth's distance from the sun. However, along the way, Cook discovered Australia and New Zealand. The second established that the huge southern continent then believed to exist in fact did not. The explorers were the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. The third voyage unsuccessfully sought a northwest passage, but did discover Hawaii, where Cook was killed by natives. The ten-volume set is priced at $95,000.

Clement Moore was one of America's preeminent Biblical Hebrew scholars of the 19th century. His father was the Episcopal Bishop of New York and Moore became a Professor of Classics at General Theological Seminary. His work herein offered is called a Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language, a two-volume set published in 1809. While this was Moore's greatest work, it is not what he is remembered for. He is remembered for a little poem he wrote for his children which Moore thought insignificant. It is called "A Visit from St. Nicholas," now better known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas." $3,800.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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