Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2008 Issue

Antiquarian Books from Samuel Gedge Rare Books

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Catalogue IV from Samuel Gedge Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue IV was recently published by British bookseller Samuel Gedge Rare Books. This catalogue includes a majority of English items, although a substantial portion of them come from the continent. There are even a few items of Americana. Numerous European languages are represented. Everything here can suitably be described as "antiquarian," as dates range from 13th century manuscripts through 19th century books. Topics are diverse, though most can be described as nonfiction (although sometimes the truth is bent to serve the writer's beliefs). These are interesting works - books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, with an occasional item of ephemera, such as an 18th century wallet or pocket sundial thrown in. Here are a few.

Item 18 is a manuscript report which includes a mention of a stop on an important scientific journey. The report comes from the small North Atlantic island of Madeira. It came from the wine-shipping firm of William Bolton & Co. to London merchant Robert Heysham. Dated February 4, 1699, it mentions the brief stop of Admiral Benbow and his four men-of-war. The newsletter notes that Benbow, off to hunt down pirates in the West Indies, did not even stop long enough for a glass of wine. Benbow was accompanying, and protecting, the Paramore, which was off for the South Atlantic under the command of astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley, of comet fame. Halley was out to map variations in compass readings from true north. The report notes that Benbow was accompanied by "...Mr. Hally the mathematician bound to the coast of Brazil and to the southward of the Cape, his designe is to observe the variation of the compass..." Priced at £600 (or approximately $1,185 in U.S. dollars).

Here is an even more impressive manuscript. It is an Arabic-French dictionary consisting of over 300 pages. Someone put a lot of effort into this. While its specific background cannot be ascertained, it is evidently the work of a French-speaker with a solid grasp of Arabic. It was most likely created early in the 19th century, and probably in Egypt. Many French remained there engaged in trade after Napoleon's unsuccessful invasion in 1801. Item 9. £2,000 (US $3,952).

Item 67 recounts an obscure, but obviously bitter and festering dispute between a merchant and a shipper. Shipper Charles Delegal was hired by Peter Milberg in 1816 to carry some goods from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. Obviously, Milberg was not pleased by his performance, though it took him long enough to say so. In 1828, Milberg published his pamphlet, Correspondence relating to an adventure made in the year 1816, from Hamburg to Buenos Ayres, per the Carolina...under the management of Mr. Charles Delegal... Milberg accused Delegal of all sorts of inappropriate activities, including embezzlement, abusive language, and spreading false information. Delegal was none too prompt to respond, but in 1835, now almost 20 years after the incident, he published Reply to a malignant and libelous pamphlet, clandestinely circulated by Mr. Peter August Milberg... Delegal set about to refute Milberg's claims in his reply. Both of these pamphlets are very rare, as they were likely printed in very small runs. The pair is priced at £550 (US $1,087).

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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