Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2017 Issue

A Variety of Books and Ephemera from Whitmore Rare Books

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Catalogue 16.

Whitmore Rare Books has published their Catalogue 16. It doesn't otherwise have a name or a description, so we can only say there is a variety of material. There are a couple of books over five centuries old, much in the way of great literary works, all sorts of nonfiction, and a few ephemeral items. With that, we will turn to describing a few of the specific items we found in this catalogue.

 

We begin with a very old story, though not quite so old a book. Item 43 is The Noble and Joyous Book Entytled Le Morte d'Arthur. This tale was originally printed at the Caxton Press in 1485, but this is the Ashendene Press edition of 1913. Ashendene was one of the early fine private presses, started only a few years after William Morris' Kelmscott Press. It was operated by Charles St. John Hornby for 40 years, from 1895-1935, during which time he published 40 books. His average output per year is easy to calculate. This edition contains 29 exceptional woodcuts. The book was written/compiled/translated in the 15th century by Sir Thomas Mallory. It was based on the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is a subject of debate whether King Arthur actually existed, but if so, he dates to the late fifth, early sixth century. There are no contemporary accounts of him and his knights, so by the time writings about him appear, it is unclear how much if any is based on actual historical events. However, with Mallory's book, Arthur, Lancelot, and all became popular figures in England, real or imagined. The book's title, which translates to the death of Arthur, is odd since it is mostly a tale of his life. The title was actually that of the book's last chapter, which the printer believed was intended as the title for the entire book. Priced at $12,500.

 

Item 3 is the first octavo edition of America's most notable work of natural history, John James Audubon's The Birds of America. He originally printed the book as an elephant folio, a spectacular presentation few people could afford even then. Audubon decided he needed to print it in a smaller format so that the price could be made more reasonable. Thus came the octavo edition, seven volumes published 1840-1844. His drawings, designed to show what the various species of American birds looked like, is today recognized as a great work of art. Audubon depicted his birds in natural poses, rather than looking like stiff, stuffed animals. The folio first edition is out of reach now for all but the most wealthy of investors. Whitmore reports that five of the ten highest prices ever achieved at auction are for this book, with ones in top condition bringing in over $10 million. The octavo edition is not inexpensive, but not in the stratosphere. $60,000.

 

Next we have a novel set in New Orleans, a 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner that took almost two decades to be published. Item 60 is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, published in 1980 by the Louisiana State University Press. It is the tale of an eccentric, opinionated, not terribly likable character from New Orleans. Many consider it the best depiction of the city found in a novel. Toole wrote the book in the early 1960s but was unable to find a publisher willing to publish it. Depressed, Toole committed suicide in 1969. Years later, his mother discovered a copy of the manuscript and so pressured local writer Walker Percy to read it that he finally consented. He was so taken by the story that he was able to have it published, the book then finally being recognized. $2,000.

 

Amelia Earhart regularly appears in the news though she disappeared 80 years ago. Earhart was attempting the first round-the-world airplane flight piloted by a woman when her plane came down in the Pacific. She was never found, though pieces of possible wreckage are occasionally located, and not long ago, a Japanese photograph from a Pacific island was thought to possibly show her. Still, the exact details of what happened remain unknown. Almost a decade earlier, Earhart gained fame as the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic. It followed closely on Lindbergh's famous flight, though unlike Lindbergh, she had a copilot. In 1928, she recounted her flight in 20 Hrs. 40 Min.: Our Flight in the Friendship. In it, Earhart covers her childhood memories, early interest in flying, and goes on to talk more about women and aviation. Item 21. $2,500.

 

Here is one of those ephemeral items. Two, actually. Item 55 is a fragment of six frames from the 1897 filming of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight. Earlier fights had been filmed, but this was the first one presented as a full-length feature film. It ran over 100 minutes, and included not only the fight, but an introduction by former champion John L. Sullivan and the aftermath of the fight. The bout was held in Carson City, Nevada, boxing being illegal in most states at the time. James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett was the defending champion, having won the crown by defeating Sullivan in 1892. This would be his last day as champion, as Englishman Robert "Bob" Fitzsimmons knocked him out in the 22nd round. Corbett gamely tried to rise, but could not get up before the ten-count was called out. The film was a great success, but no complete copies survive. There is only a 19-minute segment available for viewing. This strip of film is accompanied by a promotional broadside for the film at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster Pennsylvania on September 21, 1897. $9,750.

 

Whitmore Rare Books may be reached at 626-297-7700 or info@whitmorerarebooks.com. Their website is www.WhitmoreRareBooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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

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