Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2006 Issue

Five Centuries From Joseph J. Felcone Antiquarian Booksellers

Felcone93

Five centuries of rare books from Joseph J. Felcone.

By Michael Stillman

Joseph J. Felcone Antiquarian Booksellers
has released Bulletin 93, Rare Books From Five Centuries. Felcone, of Princeton, is best known as the leading seller of printed New Jerseyana, not to mention having written the bibliography of that state's materials. However, this bulletin expands way beyond the horizons of the Jersey shore. Yes, there are items here for the New Jersey collector, but most of the authors herein probably never crossed the George Washington Bridge, traversed the boardwalk, or threw their coins at baskets every 500 yards along the Garden State Parkway. However, they wrote about history, science, math, sports, travel, religion, law, war, animals, and created works of literature, poetry, music and maps. Here are a few samples Felcone is offering.

Item 19 is the first edition, in Latin, of Robert Barclay's exposition of the Quaker faith, Theologiae vere Christianae Apologia, published in Amsterdam in 1676. Barclay had published 15 tenets of the faith a year earlier, but this was the first complete explanation of the beliefs of a religion less than three decades old at the time. Barclay explained that the essential belief was that each person possessed an "inner light," which enabled them to see the truth of divine revelation, and thereby making religious ceremonies irrelevant. No wonder the Quakers weren't too popular with established religious authorities! Since this "inner light" was held by people of all creeds, Barclay was a proponent of tolerance, generally in short supply at the time. Priced at $8,000.

Item 55 was an early defense of autonomy in the American colonies. A Defence of the New-England Charters, first published in 1721, argued that original charters to the colonies were binding and could not be revoked at will by authorities in England. This later edition, issued in 1765, was printed in response to the Stamp Act, imposing duties upon the colonies, without the colonists' consent. The author of this important defense was Jeremiah Dummer, and his long forgotten family name has recently been resurrected in current news stories. It was Jeremiah's brother, Lieutenant Governor William Dummer, for whom Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts was named. That academy made headlines when it decided to change its name to just "Governor's Academy," evidently because prospective students were put off by the name "Dummer Academy." Of course, the smarter prospective students would know the difference between "dumb" and "Dummer," but perhaps we need a little dumbing down to accommodate those not quite so perceptive. Or is it "dumming" down? Anyway, Jeremiah continues to proudly wear his family name on this book. $500.

I have not read the following book, but based on the title, I would say author James Janeway was a true expert at turning lemons into lemonade, or converting tragedy to triumph. The book title is A Token for Children: Being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives, and Joyful Deaths of Several Young Children. This 1797 Elizabethtown, New Jersey, edition of a popular 17th century book was meant to inspire children. The young heroes and heroines, as young as five in these stories, live exemplary lives and face their impending deaths joyfully, being well-learned in scripture. Janeway believed younger children had a greater chance of reaching heaven, perhaps because they had less time to sin, so there was a certain joy, under this strange logic, to dying young. I'm sure the children reading this message must have felt inspired. Item 108. $1,800.

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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