Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2007 Issue

Bibliography, Auction Catalogues, Reference, Etc. from Forest Books

Straw

Do "straw plants" really look like brooms? From Koops' book on paper.


Speaking of Mr. Dibdin, Thomas Frognall Dibdin's library also went up for auction, although he did not have to die first to collect the proceeds. In 1817, the cash-strapped maniacal book collector had to sell his reference library to raise funds to publish his "Bibliographical Decameron." Item 114 is the catalogue for that auction: A Catalogue of the Library of an Eminent Bibliographer... It is very scarce today. This copy was originally the possession of H. Broadley, who was nice enough to provide us with the prices and buyers' names. £2,995 (US $5,928).

Item 51 is a catalogue of an auction that never was: Catalogue of the Magnificent Series of Early Works Relating to America from the Renowned Library at Britwell Court...the Finest Collection of Americana ever Offered for Sale by Auction in this Country [England]. The auction of these 346 spectacular lots was scheduled for August 15, 1916, but before it could happen, major American collector Henry Huntington stepped in and bought the entire collection. The price was a then substantial £40,000. Huntington kept the ones he wanted, and auctioned off the rest. Some are undoubtedly in the Huntington Library to which he left much of his collection. £50 (US $99).

Item 45 is a most deadly bibliography, Biblotheca Nicotiana: A Catalogue of Books About Tobacco, privately printed in 200 numbered copies for William Bragge in 1880. Actually, the book focuses to a large extent on pipes and such, what we would today call "paraphernalia." It provides a thorough study of what Bragge describes as a "curious and interesting practice." £275 (US $554).

Item 208 is an odd papermaking book from Matthias Koops: Historical Account of the Substances which have been used to Describe Events, and to Convey Ideas, from the Earliest Date to the Invention of Paper. Printed on Paper Manufactured Solely from Straw. Koops was attempting to locate other sources for paper during the paper shortage of the early 19th century. Other editions of this book were printed on standard paper, but this 1801 issue was a straw-book. £975 (US $1,930).

Forest Books may be found online at www.forestbooks.co.uk, telephone +44 1949-842360.

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