Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2006 Issue

Literature and Fine Books from Thomas Goldwasser Rare Books

Gold20

Artistic and literary books from Thomas Goldwasser.


By Michael Stillman

Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books
of San Francisco has issued their 20th catalogue, one that comes in two sections. The first covers artists' books, bookbindings, fine presses and illustrated books. The second part focuses on printed and manuscript literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. What you can expect to find here are either artistic or important literary works when it comes to printed material. There are numerous first editions of works by important authors, and many are signed or inscribed. Condition is almost always at the highest level for books of their age. Among the manuscripts, you will find typescripts of original works and letters from significant writers. This is a catalogue which will appeal to anyone who collects within the areas of artistic books and literature. A few samples of what is offered follow.

Item 25 is both an artistic book and a major American historical source. This is the third octavo edition of Thomas McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America, published in 1855. Thomas McKenney had served as Director of the Office of Indian Affairs under John Quincy Adams, but when Andrew Jackson came to power, he was dismissed. He had already become convinced that Indian culture was quickly disappearing as the West was rapidly settled, so the unemployed McKenney took it as his mission to preserve that culture before it was too late. With James Hall, he produced this three-volume combination of text and drawings of Indians, both chiefs and ordinary members of the tribe. Unfortunately, most of the original drawings were destroyed in a fire at the Smithsonian, but their reproductions in the various editions of the book survive. This third octavo, designed to be within the financial reach of Americans unable to afford the folio, is generally the most colorful of the hand-colored editions. All of the early editions are quite valuable today. Priced at $35,000.

Item 93 is an excellent example of great literature and a great investment. The Sound and the Fury was William Faulkner's first critically acclaimed novel, though he had published a few before. It tells of the decay of a once prosperous Mississippi family in the decades after the Civil War. It was a theme Faulkner would revisit in the years following its publication in 1929. This book is also a good lesson in long-term investing. While 1929 was not a great year to be buying things, anyone who purchased this book, with its $3 price tag, and held on, did quite well for himself. Currently priced at $15,000.

Here is another first edition about Mississippi, but in this case it's the river. It is Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi. This is a true first edition, published by Chatto and Windus in London in 1883 (the first American edition came later). It retells both Twain's early days running a steamboat on the Mississippi, and his later return. Purchase this and the preceding title, and you may well own books by the two greatest southern authors. Item 206. $1,250.

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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