Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

Fine Examples of the Book Arts from the Veatchs

Veatchs

Books concerning the book arts from the Veatchs.


By Michael Stillman

The Veatchs Arts of the Book has released Catalogue 60: Recent Acquisitions. While the title of the catalogue might not leave much hint as to what is inside, the bookseller's name explains it well. Offered is a collection of works from fine presses, books about the book arts such as papermaking, printing, and marbling, specimens, leaf books, and more. There are 151 items in all for your consideration. Here are some.

Item 17 is an unusual copy of America's first color plate book, American Medical Botany, by Jacob Bigelow. Bigelow was both a doctor and a botanist, explaining this book combining the fields. He had intended it, like other books of the day, to be colored by hand, but when this proved impractical, he devised a system for color printing. This was a six-part, three-volume set, published from 1817-1820. However, this copy, with all volumes bound in one, is unusual in that the first part is done in a contemporary manuscript facsimile with ten hand colored plates. It is accompanied by a letter from Richard J. Wolfe, author of a book about Bigelow's first American color plate book. He explains that Bigelow continued to put together copies of the book for many years, and when he ran out of sheets for the first part, he made books by using the facsimiles plus the old hand colored plates he had earlier produced but never used. Wolfe estimates this copy was assembled in the 1840s or 1850s. Priced at $6,750.

I don't ever recall seeing a book about fleurons before, but here is one: Fleurons, Their Place in History and in Print. Fleurons are those little flowery ornaments printers use to dress up a page. Mark Arman published his book on these designs in 1988, this being one of 170 signed and numbered copies, hand printed on goatskin parchment paper. Item 7. $150.

For those fascinated by dictionaries, here is a chance to own a piece of two of the most important ones ever printed. Item 70 is Dr. Johnson and Noah Webster. Two Men and Their Dictionaries. Samuel Johnson produced the first truly comprehensive dictionary, while Webster created what is still the greatest American one. This account of these two men and their dictionaries was written by David Littlejohn and published in 1971. Tipped in are leaves from the letter "A" from each of these men's dictionaries - Johnson's 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language, and Webster's 1828 An American Dictionary of the English Language. $300.

Here is a book that makes very fast reading. It is actually a joke from Henry Morris of Bird and Bull Press, entitled Forty Years of Bird and Bull, 1958-1998. Comprising the Accumulated Knowledge Gained from Four Decades of Practical Experience in Running One of America's Successful Private Presses. It consists of a title, half title, colophon, and about 80 blank leaves. Only 14 copies were made, inscribed by Morris and given away. Item 25. $600.

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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