Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2007 Issue

Sporting Books from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins99

Sporting works from James Cummins Bookseller


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue 99 from James Cummins Bookseller is now available. This is a collection of 423 sporting books and ephemeral items. These are generally more genteel sports, angling and big game hunting, rather than smash-mouth human-caged ultimate fighting. Michael Vick and his fighting dogs are nowhere to be found (though there is a book on cock fighting). However, there are some baseball and boxing items available here. Still, angling is the prime sport, but perhaps that's because books have been published on this activity for many centuries. Few currently popular sports have such a pedigree. Here are a few of the fine items you will find in this latest Cummins catalogue.

The catalogue starts with the unusually titled A Quaint Treatise on "Flees, and the Art a' Artyfichall Flee Making," By an Old Man Well Known on the Derbyshire Streams as a First-Class Fly-Fisher a Century Ago, by W.H. Aldam. Make that over two centuries ago as this is an 1875 book. Let's hope that by "flees" he meant flies, rather than fleas, as it would be very difficult to stab a hook into one of those. Cummins notes that this is the rare first issue of this scarce book, the 1876 imprint being far more common. This book includes actual samples of feathers, fishing line, thread and miniature hooks used in making hand-tied flies. Item 1 is a copy inscribed by illustrator James Poole. Priced at $15,000.

Item 109 is the book generally considered the first American book on fishing, Natural History of the Fishes by Jerome Smith, MD. This is a first edition published in 1833. $600.

Item 65 is a scrapbook of cinematographer and bass fisherman extraordinaire Jack Lamb. Lamb, of Fort Worth, Texas, was generally considered the best bass fisherman in the world during the 1930s. Perhaps some of the legends about him are...legendary, but Ripley's said he fished everyday for 17 straight years. He was said to have caught 35,000 bass between 1930-1935, which I calculate to be an average of at least 16 per day. If you think he must have been very fat as a result, he supposedly never ate a fish in his life. He threw them all back. He wrote the book "How to Catch a Game Fish" and did lecture/demonstration tours on behalf of Gulf Oil. Lamb also owned a large collection of movies about cowboys and ranch life. His scrapbook contains around 1,200 pages of clippings, letters, tickets, memorabilia, and over 800 photographs of "...all manner of fishing, ranching, hunting, car crashes, construction workers, cotton field workers and images of the crowds at his lecture and demonstration events, mostly in the Southern states." Thirteen volumes. $4,500.

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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