Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2004 Issue

50 Giants Of Western Civilization<br>From The 19th Century Shop


50 Giants of Western Civilization

By Michael Stillman

The 19th Century Shop
celebrates its 100th catalogue with a short list of titles that truly lives up to its name: “50 Giants of Western Civilization.” The names you will find in this catalogue include Shakespeare, Washington, Galileo, Einstein, Darwin, Lincoln, Rousseau, Spinoza, Melville, Plutarch, Whitman, Joyce, and more. There’s an early King James Bible, first printing of a portion of the Book of Mormon, an 11th century Exodus scroll and Herzl’s first call for a Jewish state. For those of a nonreligious mind, there’s Marx’s Das Kapital. For map collectors, there’s Apianus’ map from 1520, the earliest obtainable map including the name “America.”

The 19th Century Shop treats these giants with the respect they deserve. This is a 116-page 9” x 12 1/2” profusely illustrated catalogue devoted to just 50 works. Here are a few samplings from this catalogue which is a work itself.

We’ll start with music. There is a first edition of what may be the most famous piece of music ever, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Everyone knows at least the first four notes of this masterpiece. This is a very rare copy in its original wrappers and the 19th Century Shop estimates that this “is likely the finest copy in private hands.” Priced at $35,000.

Timothy Pickering was a close advisor of George Washington during the Revolutionary War, whom America’s first president would later appoint to three cabinet posts: postmaster general, secretary of war, and secretary of state. Despite the praise and confidence in him shown by Washington, Pickering was not the hero-worshiper of his benefactor the way so many others were of the nation’s first leader. Offered here is a 42-page unpublished manuscript written by Pickering to a friend in 1824. In it, he speaks of Washington’s caution and slow decision-making as a general and attributes much of his success as a general to the advice of others. Some may look at this less worshipful view of Washington as diminishing the general’s image, but I don’t think so. What I see is a man willing to listen carefully to others, even if their opinions differed, and more interested in adopting the right choices for his country than proving his own opinions to be right. If anything, Pickering’s comments confirm the willingness of this man to place his own ego and assumptions behind the needs of his country. Can this be said of most of today’s politicians? It may not have been his intent, but Pickering seems to confirm the greatness of this truly unique man who gave his country the gift of freedom. $90,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

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