Bibliography, Bookbinding and Reference from Forest Books
By Michael Stillman
Just arrived is catalogue number 105 from Forest Books, Books from the Libraries of two Distinguished Booksellers. Those booksellers are Pierre Beres of Paris, and Bernard Breslauer of New York. The books being offered come from the subjects of bibliography, bookbinding, and reference. Included are many old auction catalogues, some dating back almost 300 years, many others from the 19th century. It is almost inconceivable the level of material that was held in private collections a couple of centuries ago. The material offered herein is filled with valuable bibliographic and other material, a real trove of information for the serious collector. Here are some examples.
Item 8 is a very old sales catalogue, the Catalogue de la Bibliotheque de...Vincent Bacallar y Sanna Marquis de S. Philippe... This is the first of three catalogues from the Marquis' sale, dated January 27, 1727. Priced at £245 (British pounds, or U.S. equivalent of $435).
Item 104 was a most amazing autograph collection, and the long extracts from many of the letters in this sales catalogue make it a valuable research tool today. It is, the Catalogue of Highly Interesting and Valuable Autograph Letters and Historical Manuscripts, Being the Well Known Collection of Monsr. A. Donnadieu. Alcide Donnadieu was a Frenchman who collected primarily English signed letters and manuscripts. His collection was described by A.N.L. Munby as, "one of the finest collections of autograph letters ever to come under the hammer..." Among the signatures it contained were Newton, Rembrandt, Raphael (with a drawing), Rubens, John Locke, Oliver Cromwell, Cesare Borgia, and Catherine Parr (the sixth Mrs. Henry the Eighth). At the time of the sale, the collection went for a mere £1,610. However, that was 1851, and much has changed in the past 155 years. £275 (US $488).
Item 202 is a French collection, rather than a French collector. It was from the Cont B. de Nadaillac, Catalogue d'une Collection Importante sur la Revolution Francaise... Sold in 1885, Forest describes it as "One of the most important 19th-century collections concerning the French revolution." £75 (US $133).
Item 3 is William Loring Andrews' Bibliopegy in the United States and Kindred Spirits. What is "bibliopegy?" Well, if you collect it, you already know; and if you don't, there's probably no need to explain. But, we will. "Bibliopegy" is the art of bookbinding. Forest Books describes this 1902 title as, "The earliest and most important account of early American bookbinding." Or, bibliopegy, if you will. £295 (US $524).