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>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 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.

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