Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2017 Issue

A Masterpiece from Peter Harrington

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Masterpiece London.

Peter Harrington published a catalogue for the recent Masterpiece London 2017. For those unfamiliar with Masterpiece, it is a show, not a book fair, but a major annual art fair. It attracts collectors at the highest level, and there must be many as the organizers reported there were 44,000 attendees this year. While the great majority of exhibitors featured art of the non-textual type, a few booksellers with high-end appeal recognize that many collectors today focus on a broader swath of art forms, rather than just books. Considering what people will invest in artworks, books are an incredible bargain. They are kind of a throw-in, considering that some paintings sell into nine figures. Unless someone finds the original manuscript copy of the Bible, we are unlikely to see any books on that level. Here are a few of the books Harrington brought to Masterpiece.

 

If there is one book that could give some of the finest paintings a run for their money it would be the granddaddy of all printed books, a Gutenberg Bible. Don't count on seeing one on the market again soon, or maybe ever. While not the world's rarest book, those copies still extant aren't likely to be changing hands anytime soon. What is still possible to obtain is a leaf from this first book created from movable type, a process that quite literally changed the world, replacing the Dark Ages with the Renaissance. The leaf contains Luke 1:12-2:9, the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. It is tipped into A Noble Fragment: Being a Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible. The book contains an essay by A. Edward Newton. It was created by New York bookseller Gabriel Wells in 1921. Wells had purchased an incomplete copy at Sotheby's, missing about 50 leaves, which he used to create this leaf book. Item 14. Priced at £125,000 (British pounds, or about $162,886 in U.S. currency).

 

Next is a poignant reminder of one of the saddest days in American history. If you are an American age 60 or over, you will assuredly be able to answer the question, where were you when Kennedy was shot? Item 21 is the Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States. From George Washington 1789 to John F. Kennedy 1961. It was compiled by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as a Christmas gift from the first family for 1963. President Kennedy didn't live to give these presents, having been assassinated a month earlier. Mrs. Kennedy had to give them to close friends as a remembrance rather than a celebratory gift. She had 80 copies bound for presentation, this one being given to David and Sissy (Sylvia) Ormsby Gore. The Gores were longtime friends of the Kennedys, dating back to John's pre-war days in London. David Gore was now serving as British Ambassador to the United States, an appointment resulting from his close personal relationship with the President. Mrs. Kennedy inscribed this copy, saying, "Jack was going to give you this for Christmas, please accept it now from me, with all my love and all the memories of the shining times we had with him. Jackie, December 1963." £22,500 (US $29,396).

 

Here is a remarkable collection of page proofs annotated by Winston Churchill for his momentous account of The Second World War, produced from 1949-1953. There are 13 sets of page proofs and of galley proofs for volumes 1-6. Churchill's account would win him a Nobel Prize. The archive came from the estate of C. C. Wood, the copy editor who had worked for Churchill earlier as well. Churchill found Wood "intolerable" with his detail and suggestions the former often did not appreciate. Nonetheless, when the first volume was published in 1948, it had an embarrassing number of typos and Churchill was forced to turn to the sharp-eyed perfectionist to prevent further embarrassment. The proofs are filled with Churchill's annotations, particularly in the first two volumes. One sees the level of detail with which he was concerned, despite the voluminous amount of copy he wrote. For example, we see Churchill arguing over punctuation: "This is a good instance of the difference between W.'s feeling & mine. In my view, the commas on each side of 'first' represent pauses, which the sense requires, but those given to 'secondly' do not." A little later, he writes, "Here is a case of W's insensitiveness to the meaning conveyed by punctuation." At a point where Wood has called for greater clarity, Churchill writes, "Sense quite clear." In a more humorous comment, where Wood calls for a quote from Stanley Baldwin to be written in italics, he responds, "He couldn't speak in italics!" Along with the proofs is some associated personal correspondence and there are annotations from Churchill's "syndicate," associates who helped him, particularly on later volumes after Churchill's time for editing was greatly diminished in 1951. That year he was returned to the office of Prime Minister. Item 3. £95,000 (US $124,045).

 

Item 12 offers another set of author changes, and in this case, the final words of Ian Fleming about James Bond. It is the final typescript for his last Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. Fleming's method of work was to have typescripts made, from which he would make corrections. Three had been produced by June 24, 1964, when he had his latest changes incorporated, receiving his final typescript on June 25. Fleming made notations on it, but still unsatisfied, planned to work on it again the following year. Unfortunately, his health began rapidly to decline and on August 12, he died. Consequently, this was his final effort. Kinglsey Amis would further edit the book. It was published the following year. Most notable in the typescript is that Fleming added a new ending. In his hand, Fleming wrote, "At the same time, he knew, deep down, that love from Mary Goodnight, or from any other woman, was not enough for him. It would be like taking 'a room with a view'. For James Bond, the same view would always pall." £150,000 (US $195,595).

 

Item 35 is Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, by William Shakespeare. It is one of the four folio editions published in the 17th century, in this case the third. The first edition was published in 1623, a few years after the author died. It was thankfully put together by friends who wished to preserve his work. Had they not done so, several of his most notable plays would have been lost forever. The first folio was published in 1623, the second in 1632. The third, a reprint of the second, was issued in 1663. The Third Folio is generally believed to be the rarest. The London fire of 1666 is thought to have destroyed many copies. Offered is not the 1663 first impression of the Third Folio, but rather, the second impression of 1664. This is a most important edition because it added seven new plays that were not in the earlier folios nor the first impression of the Third Folio. In time, it has been determined that six of them were unlikely to have been written by Shakespeare, with only Pericles, Prince of Tyre considered authentic. £500,000 (US $651,833).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

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, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <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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