Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2009 Issue

Travel from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books

Bestebreurtje139

Poster on Bestebreurtje's cover celebrates emancipation from slavery.


By Michael Stillman

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 139 Travel. Bestebreurtje is located in the Netherlands, but nevertheless this catalogue contains much material related to America and England. Dutch, English and French are the languages that predominate. Those, like this writer, who speak English but not much else, will have no problems here as the descriptions are written in English (even for the Dutch works). Along with travel, the catalogue includes sections on ephemera and historical prints. We will focus primarily on those items with a connection to America, but there are lots of items pertaining to travels to the Middle East, India and Asia, including the longtime Dutch colony in Indonesia.

Item 120 is one of two great works from a man who was as remarkable as he was unfortunate. Georgius Rumphius sailed to Batavia (in today's Indonesia) as a midshipman for the Dutch East India Company in 1653. However, within a few years, he transferred to Ambon Island where he began undertaking massive studies of the area's natural history. He would produce this book, D'Amboinsche rariteitkamer... and another, but it would be a long, arduous project he would not live to see completed. In 1670, Rumphius became blind, but with the help of an assistant, he pushed on. In 1674, his wife and child were killed in an earthquake, yet he persevered. Then, in 1687, his manuscript and drawings were destroyed in a fire, requiring him to start over. When his book was finally reproduced and sent back to the Netherlands, the ship sank. Fortunately, he kept a copy. However, publication was delayed because the Dutch East India Company found some information sensitive. It was finally published in 1705. Unfortunately, Rumphius died in 1702. Offered is a copy of the 1740 edition of this book. Priced at €3,450 (euros, or approximately $5,051 is U.S. dollars).

Item 1 is Henry Ward Beecher: a sketch of his career, by Lyman Abbott and S.B. Halliday. It was published in 1887, the year in which the popular American preacher died. Write the authors, "It cannot be questioned that no man has exerted so wide and profound an influence on the progress of thought - moral, political and religious - in this country for the past fifty years, as has Mr. Beecher." Perhaps no man, but it could be argued his sister, Harriett Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, was more influential. Nevertheless, the fiery New York abolitionist preacher and defender of various progressive causes was a major American figure in the 19th century. €125 (US $183).

Obviously, not everyone shared Beecher's vehemently anti-slavery beliefs. Here is a book by a notable English soldier who was favorably inclined toward the practice: Transatlantic Sketches: comprising visits to the most Interesting Scenes in North & South America & West Indies. With notes on negro slavery and Canadian emigration. Author James Edward Alexander served in numerous wars and expeditions in the British military through over a half century of service, retiring as a major-general. In 1833, he published this book on his visit to America. Alexander offers his observations on life on many of the islands of the West Indies, the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Valleys, and the eastern part of the U.S. He opposes sudden emancipation and argues that the plantation owners have not been given a fair hearing. Item 4. €975 (US $1,426).

However, a different opinion on slavery is expressed in the print shown on the cover of this catalogue. Printed in London in 1853, it depicts a group of former slaves celebrating their freedom. It includes the wording, To the Friends of Negro Emancipation, This Print Is Inscribed. Item 42. €495 (US $723).

Item 193 is The American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, published in London in 1876. This includes 32 engravings on 11 leaves that were published in The Graphic, a London weekly newspaper noted for its illustrations. This contains illustrations from America's first major exposition, celebrating the 100th birthday of the Declaration of Independence. An estimated 10 million people attended. Numerous scenes inside the fair are shown. €295 (US $431).

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books may be reached at +31 (0)347 322 548 or info@gertjanbestebreurtje.com. Their website is www.gertjanbestebreurtje.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000
  • <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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