• <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015, San Francisco</b>
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> MIGUEL COSTANSO. 1741-1814. The suppressed report of the portala expidition. US$ 80,000-120,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> FELIPE DE NEVE. 1724-1784. FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA. US$ 120,000-180,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JAMES O. PATTIE. c.1804-c.1850. The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie of Kentucky. US$ 30,000-50,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>KARL BODMER. 1809-1893. Pehriska-Ruhpa, Moennitarri Warrior in the Costume of the Dog Danse.<br>US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015, San Francisco</b>
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>JOEL PALMER. 1810-1881. Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains to the Mouth of the Columbia River. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b><br>JOHANN AUGUSTUS SUTTER. 1803-1880. Letter Signed ("JA Sutter").<br>US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> J. ELY SHERWOOD. California: Her Wealth and Resources... US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> [JOHN LINVILLE HALL and GEORGE G. WEBSTER.] Journal of the Hartford Union Mining and Trading Company. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JAMES A. READ and DONALD F. READ, illustrators. Journey to the Gold Diggins. By Jeremiah Saddlebags. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> WILLIAM BESCHKE. The Dreadful Sufferings and Thrilling Adventures of an Overland Party of Emigrants to California. US$ 15,000-25,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> LORENZO D. ALDRICH. 1818/1819-1851. A Journal of the Overland Route to California! US$ 25,000-35,000.
    <b>Bonhams 9 Feb 2015:</b> JOHN WOODHOUSE AUDUBON. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. US$ 80,000-120,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Gold mining boomtown collection of 23 photos<br>of Goldfield, Nevada (1905)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Columbus and New World Exploration manuscript (1512)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A. J. Russell.<br>The Great West (1869) 50 original mounted photos
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Isaac Newton. <i>Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica</i> (1687).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Shakespeare's <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies</i> (1632).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. John Rockefeller. Ambrotype, the earliest known photograph of Rockefeller.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Muybridge, <i>Animal Locomotion</i> (1887) subscriber's copy.
  • <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Latest catalogue: 50 Fine Books 2015
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> M. Catesby,<br>The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1729-77).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (London, 1811). First edition of the Austen’s first published novel.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Koronatsionniy sbornik [Album of Nicholas II's coronation] (St. Petersburg, 1899): preferred deluxe version in Russian.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> A complete set of John Gould's magnificent bird books in attractive contemporary bindings (1831-88).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Andy Warhol, Bald Eagle from Endangered Species. Screenprint in colours, 1983, signed in pencil.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: The story of Shackleton’s last expedition 1914-1917 (London, 1919).
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> J.J. Audubon, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (NY, 1845-54): The largest successful colour plate book of 19th-century America.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, The Works (Kelmscott Press, 1896). One of the finest illustrated books ever produced.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Lev Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Moscow, 1879):<br>first edition in book form of the celebrated novel.
  • <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> American History: Timed Online Auction Bidding Starts March 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> J.C. Buttre, Wartime-Published Leatherbound Portfolio of 50 Engravings. Est $1000-$1500. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Kennedy For President Campaign Poster.<br>Est $50-$100. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Albumen CDV of a Mexican couple in fancy clothing.<br>Est $100-$200. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> American History: Timed Online Auction Bidding Starts March 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Quarter Plate Daguerreotype and Enlarged<br>Painted Portrait of Same Gentleman. Est $200-$400. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Real Photo Postcards of Helena, Montana, Plus.<br>Est $100-$200. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> [Japan] Lafcadio Hearn, Life, Letters and Musings.<br>Est $50-$100. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> American History: Timed Online Auction Bidding Starts March 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> CDVs related to P.T. Barnum, Including Barnum, His Daughter, Tom Thumb, Com. Nutt.<br>Est $200-$300. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Recipe Pamphlets from the 1960s. Est $20-$40. Bidding Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Image of the Sternwheeler Washington. Est $100-$150. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> American History: Timed Online Auction Bidding Starts March 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Civil War letters from Little Family of Farmersville, New York, 94th and 105th NY Infantry. Est $150-$250.<br>Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> A Fine and Unusual American Prosthesis. Est $300-$500. Starts Mar 5th.
    <b>Cowan's Auctions: </b> Hamilton & Hoyt Stereoviews of Plains Indians and <i>Spirit Canon</i>. Est $300-$500. Starts Mar 5th.

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2009 Issue

100 American Historical Documents from the William Reese Co.

Reese270

One Hundred American Historical Manuscripts from William Reese.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued its 270th catalogue, this one entitled One Hundred American Historical Manuscripts. We always appreciate titles that succinctly describe what the catalogue contains. It makes our job easier. We will just add that these manuscripts range from those of major historical importance to those from obscure people who witnessed interesting events and changes in early American life. Here are a few of the one hundred Reese is offering.

We will start with what we consider the most significant piece in this very interesting collection. Item 52 is a letter from Thomas Jefferson, dated June 8, 1792, while he was serving as Secretary of State, to a good friend in France, Jean Antoine Gautier. It touches on important issues in both America and France. In America, we were just starting to see the split, notably between Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, which led to the two-party system that has ruled the nation to this day. Meanwhile in France, the revolution that promised to bring that nation a democratic and constitutional government similar to America, was just starting to spin out of control, and into the bloodthirsty chaos that would erupt shortly. In a stinging comment aimed at Hamilton and those who shared his federalist sympathies, Jefferson writes, "there are heads among us itching for crowns, coronets, and mitres. But I hope we shall sooner cut them off than gratify their itching." This cutting off of heads comment must have sounded harsh to Gautier for, as Reese notes, the French government had introduced the guillotine a few months earlier as the official means of execution. That device would see a lot of use in the days ahead as the revolution spun into the infamous Reign of Terror (the French King would have his head cut off less than eight months after the writing of this letter). However, it must be noted that Jefferson had no idea at the time how bad things would become in France. He was still hopeful France would adopt a constitution similar to that of America. "[O]ur constitution is a wise one, and I hope we shall be able to adhere to it," writes Jefferson. He then proffers the advice, "If your first assay is unsuccessful as ours was, make a second as we did. When you have got what is good, hold it fast as we do." Priced at $145,000.

Speaking of Alexander Hamilton, he was America's first Secretary of the Treasury, assigned the task of managing the enormous financial problems of a nation heavily in debt from the Revolution. However, in 1782, he was still a private citizen, recently resigned from the military with the Revolution effectively over, in need of money. On February 17, he sent this letter to Jeremiah Wadsworth, who had also served in the Revolution and would go on to be a major banker. Writes the cash-strapped Hamilton, "Having met with some disappointment in a sum I expected to receive, I should be much obliged of you for the loan of an hundred pounds..." Item 40. $5,000.

Item 20 is a manuscript deed/sale of 216 square miles of land in upstate New York, northwest of Albany, along the Mohawk River. The date was December 28, 1738, and the seller was the Mohawk Indians, the buyer King George II. It is signed by six Mohawk chiefs, who "...have bargained, sold released, and for ever quit claim unto our said most gracious sovereign Lord King George the Second..." One imagines the King's representatives helped the Indians with the wording. The price for the land was 180 pounds. That's about one-quarter of a cent per acre. $37,500.

Rare Book Monthly


Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions