Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2008 Issue

Books About Books and Bibliography from Oak Knoll

Oak287

Catalogue 287 from Oak Knoll Books.


By Michael Stillman

Oak Knoll Books has issued its Catalogue 287 featuring "books about books" and bibliography. These are great catalogues for those who are interested in information about books or who collect within the field of the book arts. However, there is also an occasional first edition classic thrown in, so once in awhile, you may be surprised by what you find. Nonetheless, if you are looking for artistic books, bibliographies, limited editions and such works as usually carry the "books about books" moniker, this is the place. Here are a few.

Item 35 is an example of a thorough review of a very targeted subject: The Craftsman's Guide to Edge Decoration, by John Mitchell, published in 1993. Edge decoration is a major feature of books as art, ranging from simple coloring all the way to fore-edge paintings, but there aren't too many books about it. This one covers equipment and techniques of edge decoration, along with coloring, marbling, gold, gilding, painting, and more. Priced at $225.

Item 408 takes a look at early American children's books: A Bibliography of American Children's Books Printed Prior to 1821. This bibliography is found within six volumes of the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society from 1963-1967. Compiled by D'Alte Welch, Oak Knoll notes that there are more entries in the listings within the Proceedings than appeared in the book form issued later. Over 1,000 complete descriptions are present. $350.

Here is a book which would have appeared in that bibliography had it been published just 141 years earlier. It is one of the classics of children's literature: James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl. This is a first edition, published in 1961. While Dahl was British, this counts as an American work, as the first edition, published in New York, preceded the first British edition by six years. Item 64. $5,000.

It's always nice to hear from Mom, but perhaps there is a point where she should leave you alone. Item 180 is Letters from the Marchioness de Sevigne to Her Daughter the Countess de Grignan. There are ten volumes of these letters, published in 1927. Oak Knoll describes this as "one of the most celebrated correspondence in French literature," which surely it must be as who else could write so many letters? $100.

Item 282 is an oddly titled limited edition (249 copies) from the Black Cat Press: Oriental Encounters, Two Essays in Bad Taste. Indeed, the title is appropriate for the two subjects discussed, eunuchs and "honeycarts." The latter refers to those carts that collected human waste in the days before indoor plumbing. You think you have a tough job. This book, published in 1938, is inscribed by author Vincent Starrett to Mrs. Charles Phelan, "for furtive reading." $135.

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.

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