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>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: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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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