Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

101 Rare Books from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

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Catalogue III from Samuel Gedge Ltd.


By Michael Stillman

Samuel Gedge Ltd.
Has just issued their Catalogue III of rare books. There are a great many London imprints, as befitting a British bookseller, but then again there are items from as far off as Calcutta, Singapore and Macao. This is an interesting collection, covering many topics, but with a common thread of items being both rare and antiquarian. Here are a few of the 101 pieces offered.

Item 1 is a notable psalm book, Annotations upon the book of Psalms, by Henry Ainsworth. Ainsworth was associated with an English separatist church in Amsterdam in the early 17th century. Not surprisingly, his book was favored by pilgrim leaders who sailed to Plymouth. It was a copy of the 1617 second edition of this book, similar to the one here offered, that they took along on the Mayflower. Considering the ship's size, anything taken on the Mayflower must have been very well liked by the pilgrims. Priced at £3,600 (British pounds, or approximately $7,304 US dollars).

Medicine in the 17th century was certainly odd by today's standards, but this is one of the stranger of books of cures: A Late Discourse Made in a Solemne Assembly of Nobles and Learned Men at Montpellier in France; Touching the Cure of Wounds by the Powder of Sympathy... by Sir Kenelm Digby. While I question the effectiveness of his cure, it certainly led the way in pain-free medicine. Rather than treating the wound, Digby favored treating the instrument that caused the wound. It was also reported by a friend that a wound was healed by placing the bloody bandage in the proper solution. While this may sound like quackery today, medicine was quite primitive in 1658. Digby was a respected scientist of the day, a founder of the Royal Society. Item 29. £2,750 (US $5,580.

There were some amazing relics at the cathedral of San Ciarico in Ancona, Italy, around 1700. Item 6 is a broadsheet listing some of those relics: a piece of wood from the True Cross, the metal tip of the Holy Lance, and a thorn from the Crown of Thorns. Such relics are not as rare as might be expected, many churches having them, though some question their authenticity (Calvin once remarked that there were enough fragments of the True Cross to build a ship). The cathedral's inventory also included a finger of St. Thomas the Apostle and a shoulder of Rocco the Confessor. I must confess I don't know Rocco the Confessor. Was he from New Jersey? £225 (US $456).

In the days before people saw space aliens, they saw frightening ghosts. Item 7 is Fearfull apparitions or the strangest visions that ever hath been heard of. It is a spirit that constantly every night haunts one Mr. Young's yard... This ghost showed up regularly at 2:00 in the morning on Lombard Street in London, haunting poor Mr. Young. He was apparently quite noisy, clattering chains and howling like a dog, though at other times whistling and playing music (probably when he was in a better mood). The ghost appeared as an 18-foot tall black man, "with long blacke shagged haire, his eyes as bigge as two ordinary pewter dishes flaming like fire..." Presumably he has moved on, as this book was published in 1647. £550 (US $1,116).

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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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