Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

Fine Books for the Fair from Donald Heald Rare Books

Healdcafair09

Some fine books for a fine fair.


By Michael Stillman

Donald Heald Rare Books printed a catalogue especially for the recent book fair in San Francisco. The collection is divided into sections on botany, ornithology and natural history, Americana and Canadiana, voyages and travels, and color-plate books. Offered is something of a who's who of books, as it is filled with names like Audubon, Cook, Jefferson, McKenney and Hall, Lewis and Clark. The catalogue's title is A Selection of Fine Books, and that it certainly is. Here are a few of them.

Item 12 is perhaps the most famous of all American illustrated books, John James Audubon's The Birds of America. Offered is a first octavo edition, published from 1840-1844. Audubon originally published his work as a double elephant folio, an item so expensive few could afford it then, let alone now. He decided to republish it in a smaller, more affordable size, so that those besides the ultra-wealthy could obtain a copy. His plan worked, as the octavo edition became a popular book and finally enabled the talented artist to actually make a few dollars. A first octavo edition of Audubon's Birds is no longer, as Audubon stated, priced so "...as to enable every student or lover of nature to place it in his Library," but at least it is still available. This copy belonged to one of the original subscribers, W.S. Lincoln of Boston. We have not been able to definitively identify this individual, but his Boston residence makes us think he could have been a distant relative to that other man with the surname "Lincoln." Priced at $115,000.

And the first shall be last... Item 13 is a copy of the final octavo edition of Audubon's Birds of America. Heald notes that this last octavo edition is actually the most difficult to obtain. It was published in 1871, and shortly after its printing, the plates were destroyed when they fell through the floor of a Philadelphia building. $30,000.

Item 36 is a copy of America's most important exploring expedition: Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean. The book is usually simply referred to by the authors' names, Lewis and Clark. These two were appointed to head up an expedition into the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase by President Jefferson. At the time, the American Northwest was one of the least known wilderness areas remaining on the globe. The expedition ran from 1804 to 1806, but this official account was not published until 1814. Offered is a first British edition, published the same year as the first American. $32,500.

The Lewis and Clark trip was clearly America's most important expedition. Here's a good candidate for number two: An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and through the western parts of Louisiana...during the years 1805, 1806 and 1807. This is Zebulon Pike's account of his journey. His first exploration was an unsuccessful attempt to find the headwaters of the Mississippi. The second trip sent him to the head of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, and this was an area still unexplored by Americans and virtually unknown. Today, it is the American Southwest, but at the time, Mexico extended much farther north than it does today. The result was that Pike and his men found themselves on the wrong side of the border, and were held for a while by Mexico. This enabled Pike to learn more about the territories of today's Texas and New Mexico. Item 40 is an 1810 first edition of Pike's account. $35,000.

Item 2 is A Monograph of the Odontoglossum. My immediate reaction was that this was about some dinosaur specie, but odontoglossum is a variety of orchid. They are unusual in that they thrive in cooler, drier climates, and at higher altitudes than we expect from orchids. It took a while for growers in author James Bateman's England to recognize that this was the reason they had so much trouble growing these flowers in hothouses. The highlight of this work is the 30 hand-colored lithograph plates by Walter Hood Fitch, "the most outstanding botanical artist of his day." Published 1867-1874. $22,500.

We cannot tell you much about this book, but it has a great title: Airy Nothings; or Scraps and Naughts, and Odd-cum-Shorts; in a Circumbendibus Hop, Step, and Jump, by Olio-Rigamaroll. Actually, it was by Michael Egerton. This is a collection of 23 hand-colored plates of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, by the humorous artist Egerton. Item 51 is an 1825 second edition. Heald notes that some of the verse is "strangely reminiscent" of Lewis Carroll, though Carroll came along fifty years later. For those lexicographally challenged souls such as I who already struggled with "odontoglossum," a "circumbendibus" is an indirect route. $3,500.

Donald Heald Rare Books may be reached at 212-744-3505 or info@donaldheald.com. You may visit their website at www.donaldheald.com.

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:</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>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions