Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2009 Issue

Rare and Antiquarian Books and Ephemera from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

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Very old books and ephemera from Samuel Gedge.


By Michael Stillman

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books has issued their Catalogue VII. Offered are books and ephemera that are rare and antiquarian, but their subjects are varied. There are many one-of-a-kind manuscript items, along with printed material that came in multiple copies, though few of those copies are still to be found. Most items are from the British Isles, as might be expected of an English bookseller, but that is not a requirement to make it to the pages of this catalogue. Here are a few of the interesting items you will find inside.

We will start with a unique item that gives us a fascinating look at Elizabethan society. Sir Philip Sidney was one of the most admired figures of the era. Born in 1554, he became a minor political figure, but was most popular as a writer and brave soldier. His notable works include the sonnets of Astrophel and Stella, and the prose work The Arcadia (later revised as The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia). While changing literary styles have dropped these works from the New York Times best-seller lists, they were very popular in their day. Sidney went off to the Netherlands to fight the Spanish and died in battle at the age of 32. Despite the respect he had earned, lineage was an all-important factor in the era. No matter how accomplished personally, having noble ancestors was essential. Around 1580, Sidney's father had Robert Cooke prepare a family genealogy. Included with that genealogy was a pedigree for Philip Sidney. That pedigree is offered as item 17. It seems that the Sidneys had a respectable set of ancestors, but Cooke went beyond the call of duty, sprucing it up with some invented forebears. He traced the family back to a William de Sidne who lived in the 12th century, or would have lived in the 12th century had he not been a fabrication of Cooke. Whether Sidney's father was a party to the fabrication, or Cooke was simply trying to please his client, is not known. It was not until research was conducted centuries later that Cooke's fabrication was revealed. Price on request.

Item 25 is a funeral notice from 1807 for a British resident of Calcutta. Such notices were a bit more blunt in those days - "The friends of the late William Townsend Jones, Esq. are hereby respectfully informed, that his corpse will be removed from his dwelling house, Rada Bazar, precisely at 5 o'clock this evening, when the favor of their company is requested to attend the funeral..." What Gedge has been able to learn about Mr. Jones is that he was listed as an "Irish attorney," and in 1789 the Calcutta Gazette reported his imprisonment for flogging to death the brother of his doorkeeper. Anger management might have helped. Priced at £250 (British pounds or roughly $416 in U.S. dollars).

Perhaps Mr. Jones could have benefited from the services of the Royal Humane Society. Formed originally as "The Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned," they had branched out to all sorts of resuscitation by 1806, hence the name change. Among the items displayed in this 1806 Annual Report of the Royal Humane Society is a set of "nostril pipes," a bellows-like device for forcing air and smoke into the lungs. It both saved and killed you at the same time. Another item was a wheelbarrow-like stretcher that emitted smoke. There is also a report on the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia, with advice on preventing its spread and avoiding "premature interment." £450 (US $750).

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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