Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

First Editions, History, Science and More from The Manhattan Rare Book Company

Manhattan07

An untitled catalogue from the Manhattan Rare Book Company.


By Michael Stillman

The Manhattan Rare Book Company
has issued a remarkable catalogue to open the new year. I have searched in vain for a title for this catalogue or even a number. I find none other than the motto: "building fine collections one book at a time." So we will skip the title and move to a description of the contents. What you will find is primarily works of literary or artistic merit, with a few items of politics and history, science, along with some children's books. The greatest concentration is in literary first editions from the best-known authors, but as noted, that is not all. Here are some samples of the 85 items in this extensively illustrated catalogue of important works.

Is there a more popular American poem than Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven? Perhaps, but it doesn't immediately come to mind. Item 37 is a copy of the first appearance of this classic, as it appeared in The American Review in 1845. Poe published under the pseudonym "Quarles," though there was no need to hide behind anonymity with works like this. Manhattan notes that it immediately became one of the most recited poems in the country, though it did little to lift Poe's ever-present financial burden. Offered is a bound volume of the issues of January-June 1845 of The American Review, which contains this poem. Priced at $3,800.

Item 6 is a notable work with a most intriguing inscription. The book is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The inscription states, "To my dearest Marion; hope you enjoy this my dear -- it was written with you in mind." Written with you in mind? In Cold Blood is the story of two criminals who senselessly murder a Kansas farmer, his wife and two children. Just what did Capote have in mind for poor "Marion?" $2,200.

We will continue this Truman Show with Mr. President, William Hillman's record of Harry Truman's presidency. It is inscribed by Mr. President himself to James E. Noland, a congressman from Indiana. Item 63. $1,800.

Galileo was pilloried and almost executed for blasphemy for claiming the Earth was not the center of the universe, but today he is about as controversial as Barney the Dinosaur. Charles Darwin was not so lucky. Some heresies are better able to stand the test of time. Item 16 is Darwin's The Descent of Man, a first edition, first issue from 1871. Darwin had first enunciated his theory of natural selection in the "Origin of the Species," but it was not until this book that he applied his theories in detail to humans. It was also in this work that he first used the "E" word to describe his theory -- evolution. $12,500.

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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions