Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

Travels and Voyages from Maggs Bros.

Maggs1397

Travels and Voyages from Maggs Bros.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received our first catalogue from the venerable Maggs Bros. Ltd. of London, though it is number 1397 in their long-running series. Maggs Bros. is one of the oldest and most celebrated of bookselling firms in the world. In the field of bookselling, the firm is a legend. So are many of their catalogues. For example, their "Bibliotheca Americana" catalogues from the 1920s are among the resources in the Americana Exchange's database of records, as they are major bibliographic resources in the field of Americana to this day. Rather amazing considering Maggs is located in Britain.

Catalogue 1397 is entitled Travel and Voyages, a topic Maggs has visited many times over the years. While many of the better known travelers or their scribes make an appearance, names such Hakluyt, Burton, Livingstone, and Magellan (Maximilianus), there are also many with less familiar names but equally exciting tales. Those who collect within the field of Americana will particularly note names such as Catlin, Crevecoeur, Abbe Domenech, Schoolcraft, and the widow Elizabeth Custer. There is even Exquemelin's story of pirates of the Caribbean in the late 17th century.

Maggs breaks down their travels by region or subject for convenience. Here is what they cover: Africa; Big Game Hunting; Middle East and Arabia; India, Central Asia and Far East; Pacific and Australasia; South America; West Indies and Central America; North America; and Polar Exploration. Here are a few samples of what is available.

We will start with what may be the most important voyage of all -- Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe. Magellan set out in 1519 with five ships and 265 men. By the time the expedition returned in 1522, there was only one boat and 18 men left. Magellan was not one of them, having been killed by natives in the Philippines. Consequently, there was no official account by the skipper. However, when the survivors were taken to King Charles V to report on their mission, they were interviewed by Peter Martyr. Martyr in turn had his student, Transylvanus Maximilianus, hear their accounts. Maximilianus wrote up this report and sent it to his father, an archbishop, who had the letter published. This was how the world learned of the first circumnavigation. Item 146 is Maximiliani Transyuani Caesaris a Secretis Epistola..., the fourth edition of this report (all were identical) published in 1524, a year following the first edition. Priced at £12,500 (British pounds, or US equivalent of approximately $24,569).

David Livingstone is perhaps the most famous of all African explorers. His 19th century journeys into darkest Africa and the eventual search by Stanley to find him are among the greatest of adventure stories. In 1864, a young man named Edmund Wills wrote Livingstone a letter asking if he could participate in his next expedition. "I am 21 years of age have a strong constitution...and having a strong desire to become an African explorer, have been tempted to make this application to you..." writes Wills. Livingstone politely declined. "I do not intend to engage any Europeans for my next trip, otherwise I should with pleasure have taken your offer of service into consideration," responds the legendary explorer. The following year, Livingstone left on his last African journey. Item 23 is a retained copy of Wills note and Livingstone's handwritten reply. £850 (US $1,670).

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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