Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2007 Issue

Antiquarian Books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Livres

The latest from Librairie Thomas-Scheler.


By Michael Stillman

Recently published is the 33rd catalogue of Livres Anciens (or Old Books) from Librairie Thomas-Scheler of Paris. This catalogue is written in the French language, as are the great majority of books offered therein. However, that does not mean that the works themselves are only of interest to collectors of French works. Topics go well beyond the borders of France itself. We will focus on a few books that are of particular interest to American or English collectors since there is no way we can do justice to works of primarily French interest with our lack of fluency in the language. We will simply recommend that those well-versed in the language and who collect French books obtain a copy of this catalogue as soon as possible. For those whose primary tongue is English, here are some titles that may well belong in your collections despite their not being written in your first language.

Item 21 is Nouveaux voyages aux Indes Occidentales...by Jean Bernard Bossu. Published in 1768, it relates Bossu's travels up the Mississippi River (he preferred to call it the "St. Louis River"). The book is taken from letters Bossu wrote home during his journeys between 1751 and 1762. Bossu traveled from Alabama to the east as far north as Illinois. Along with relaying then current information about the people who lived in the area, primarily local Indians, he was also able to gather historic reports of the earliest settlers, as memories of those days were still relatively fresh. Among the earlier events recounted was the death of La Salle. The book was banned for a while due to criticism of government and religious figures. Bossu's account provides one of the better looks at the Louisiana Territory while still under French authority. Priced at €2,500 (Euros, or approximate U.S. equivalent of $3,240).

Item 44 is an Italian title, published in Venice in 1789, Storia delle California, opera postuma (History of California, posthumous work). The author was Francesco Clavigero, a Jesuit father who spent thirty years in lower California before the Order was expelled. He died in 1787, two years before this book was published. It focuses primarily on the settlements and natives of Baja California, but also covered is the founding of the mission at San Francisco and missions in what is now Arizona. €5,000 (US $6,467).

Item 39 is Voyage en Californie pour l'observation du passage de Venus... (Voyage to California to observe the transit of Venus) from Jean-Baptiste Chappe d'Auteroche, published in 1772. Chappe d'Auteroche was sent by the French to the Pacific for much the same reason as Captain Cook was sent by the British, to observe the transit of Venus in front of the sun. This information could be used to calculate the then unknown size of the solar system. Chappe d'Auteroche's story is the tale of a race against time to reach the Baja part of California where the transit was to be observed. He would reach his goal just in time to make the mission a success. Sadly, Chappe d'Auteroche contracted an illness two days later and died. This work, like the last, was published posthumously. €10,000 (US $12,937).

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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