Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

Unusual and Obscure Pamphlets and Brochures from Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller

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Marc Selvaggio's annex to catalogue 128.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received from Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller, Catalogue Number 128 The Annex. Not long ago we reviewed his Catalogue 128, but as he explains, these are "pamphlets, brochures and catalogues that didn't fit into Catalogue 128." Turns out there were a lot that didn't fit, as there are 467 items in this annex. What we have here is a collection of 18th and 19th century pamphlets and the like, under the headings of entertainment, business, advertising, by or about women, cookery, religion, medicine, politics, tourism, and miscellaneous. Selvaggio describes this material as "bargain basement," "economically-priced," and finally just "cheaper stuff." But, don't be fooled into thinking cheaper means lesser. This is fascinating material, and much of it rarer than some of the most sought after rare books. This is the type of material that will fit into many niche collections, along with some broader ones, and for the collector who doesn't have thousands to spend on printed works, this catalogue is filled with material in the $15-$45 range. This is a great place to buy in troubled economic times such as today.

Item 128 is an investment letter that will be of interest to the many people who collect railroads. It is a letter from the banking house of Fisk and Hatch of New York, promoting bonds of the Central Pacific Railroad on September 2, 1867. The Central Pacific was one of the two railroads laying tracks for the transcontinental railroad, their meeting at Promontory, Utah, still two years away. The letter reports on the railroad's progress, and points to a federal guarantee of the bonds - a "FIRST CLASS INVESTMENT." Priced at $45.

E. Haldeman-Julius was a radical reformer and socialist of the first half of the 20th century. He went into the printing business in Kansas where he began turning out cheap pamphlets in large numbers. His series of "Little Blue Books" sold in the millions of copies for prices around a nickel, mainly selling to people who couldn't afford much more. He was described as the "Henry Ford of books." However, his radical views ran him afoul of J. Edgar Hoover, the notorious head of the FBI, whose personal files on just about every government official kept them in his fear. That was not the case with Haldeman-Julius, who in the height of Hoover's power in 1948 published The F.B.I. - The Basis of an American Police State. The Alarming Methods of J. Edgar Hoover, by Clifton Bennett. It was a career mistake to take on the all-powerful blackmailer, but Haldeman-Julius was not a man to be afraid. Hoover denounced him as some sort of enemy of the country, and finally managed to get him convicted of tax evasion in 1951. Later that year, Haldeman-Julius mysteriously drowned in a swimming pool, with some holding suspicions that the illustrious F.B.I. Director was involved. Item 312. $25.

Item 291 is a report on Imported Adulterated Drugs, Medicines, &c. This was published in 1848 by the 30th Congress. The report was written by Dr. Thomas Edwards, a one-term Whig congressman who served only during this session. That gives him something in common with another one-term Whig Congressman who served only in this session - Abraham Lincoln. As a physician, Edwards was the man who attended to former President and Congressman John Quincy Adams when he suffered a stroke on the House floor, and was with him when he died two days later. $35.

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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <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. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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