Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2006 Issue

Antiquarian Books About Books from Oak Knoll

Antks

Antiquarian Books from Oak Knoll.


By Michael Stillman

Most of Oak Knoll Books' catalogues follow a basic format, so we were pleased to find something a little different when we received their catalogue number 272. Yes, it is still dominated by books in the "books about books" or book arts field. Still, this one comes with an unusual title for an Oak Knoll catalogue: Antiquarian Books. Most books we find in the typical Oak Knoll catalogue date from the 20th century. In this catalogue, nary a one does. This is pre-20th century material, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, but as far back as the 15th (an incunable from 1478, Epistolae Familiares by Pope Pius II). The result is a catalogue that has a broader appeal than the average Oak Knoll catalogue, as it is filled with nothing but antiquarian volumes. Here are a few of the 639 pieces which predate the last century.

Item 223 is a four-volume compilation of the books in the Harvard Library, at least as of 1830. Safe to say it was smaller then. It is titled, quite appropriately, Catalogue of the Library of Harvard University. However, this one comes with a special association. It includes an inscription from Harvard President Josiah Quincy to "Mr. Daniel Webster L.L.D." Webster was for several decades a Massachusetts senator and was one of the greatest orators and most influential officials of early America. The book was given to Webster in the year he made one of his most famous speeches. In arguing against South Carolina's claim to the right of nullification, that is, a state's right to repudiate federal law and authority, Webster concluded his speech with the famed words, "liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable." Perhaps it was this speech which inspired the gift, or possibly Webster's earlier successful legal arguments in defense of Dartmouth College when the State of New Hampshire tried to seize control of it from private trustees. Priced at $250.

Item 167 has one of those titles that sounds less than honest: Distinct and Impartial History of the Conspiracies, Trials, Characters, Behavior and Dying Speeches of All Those who have Suffered on Account of the House of Stewart [Stuart]...a Compendious View of the Plots hatched by That House... With a title like that, are we really supposed to believe this is an "impartial" history? The Stuarts ruled (and misruled) England and Scotland through most of the 17th century and into the early 18th, but were removed after a treaty required that the throne be held by Protestants. However, through the 18th century, including the time this book was published (1747), the Stuarts were still trying to reclaim the throne, which led to the publication of this "impartial" review. $45.

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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