Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2008 Issue

Spain and Hispanica from Paul Orssich

Orssich66

Catalogo 66 from Paul Orssich.


By Michael Stillman

Paul Orssich has issued his 66th catalogue, or Catalogo 66. Although a London bookseller, Orssich's specialty is Spain and Hispanica (along with some Portuguese material). As such, the catalogue is written in the Spanish language. However, the London location also plays a significant role, as a great many of the works are from Britain and are written in the English language. Many are accounts of travels, primarily from the 19th century, where Englishmen visited Spain and wrote about what they saw for the benefit of their fellows back home. Here is an admittedly scattered sample of the books available in this latest Paul Orssich catalogo.

An example of an English traveler's account is Henry Blackburn's Traveling in Spain In The Present Day. That title is a bit dated, "present day" being a century and a half ago. A critique from Public Opinion describes Blackburn as having "...genuine humour, and a light and withal graceful gossiping style..." Sounds like it might still be popular if written today. Item 12, published in 1866. Priced at £150 (or US equivalent of $295).

Item 47 is a later traveler's guide with some interesting observations. Cook's Traveller's Handbook to Spain & Portugal was written by Roy Elston and published in 1930. Among his descriptions, Elston says, "Iviza is one of those spots which can afford little justification for its existence." Perhaps the inhabitants of this small Spanish island in the Mediterranean would disagree (or maybe they feel the same). Speaking of Mahon, Elston observes, "...the chief occupation and delight of the women is cleaning houses." Undoubtedly this must have set many Englishmen off to the city to seek wives. £20 (US $39).

The year 1930 may have still been a time for such whimsy, but there would be little joy in Spain in the years ahead. The Spanish Civil War would soon tear the country apart, and end up with a Fascist takeover that would last until the 1970s. Item 72 is a pamphlet by Dolores Ibarruri and Jose Diaz entitled For the Independence of Spain. For the Republic. For Liberty. Union of All Spaniards! Ibarruri and Diaz were leaders of the Communist Party, and this item was published at a most difficult time for those who supported the Communist movement, as well as those who wished for independence and liberty from both Nazi and Soviet domination. The pamphlet was published in 1939, and before the end of that year, both authors were forced to flee to the Soviet Union. Diaz, who became seriously ill, died within a couple of years, but Ibarruri, known as the "Passion Flower," outlived Franco and finally returned to Spain to be elected to the Cortes in 1977. £40 (US $79).

H. Pemberton took A Winter Tour in Spain which he recounted in this 1868 book. His most memorable occurrences centered around his laundry. Writes Pemberton, "The two worst things in Spain are her government and her laundresses; it is hard to say which does their work worst, both are so abominably bad..." Item 103. £220 (US $433).

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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