Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2010 Issue

From The Seattle Fair by Kevin F. Kelly, Bookseller

Kellyseattle2009

Kevin F. Kelly at the Seattle Book Fair.


By Michael Stillman

Kevin F. Kelly, Bookseller, issued a recent catalogue for The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair and Book Arts Show. What he brought to the show was a varied lot. You can find anything from ancient children's fables to tales of mutiny and piracy. His booth must have been an enticing place, but since the show is now over, we will have to look at the catalogue instead. Here are a few of the books and ephemera it describes.

Item 65 is Liber chronicarum, what is more commonly known as the Nuremberg Chronicle. This was a massive 15th century undertaking by physician Hartmann Schedel. It is an account of the history of the world, from creation through its year of publication, 1493. Even more notable than its extensive text are the voluminous number of illustrations, 1,809 woodblocks in all. They were created by Michael Wohlgemuth and Wilhelm Pleydenwurif, though some undoubtedly were designed by Albrecht Durer, who was an apprentice to Wohlgemuth at the time. The illustrations include kings and bishops, along with biblical and historic scenes, and numerous city views (sometimes repeated for different towns). It also contains an important world and European map. The world map depicts the world as it was known when Columbus set sail. A note in the Latin edition may imply that Martin Behaim of Nuremberg and James Canus of Portugal had discovered the New World a decade earlier, but if this is the implication, it was likely an attempt to discredit Columbus rather than an accurate portrayal of their African journey. Offered is a copy of the first issue, first edition, from July 12, 1493, published in Latin (a German edition was published later that year). Priced at $98,000.

Item 8 is an item fit for a queen: Romances mises en musique par S.M.L.R.H. (Her Royal Majesty Queen of Holland). Hortense de Beauharnais was born in 1783, the unwanted daughter of a military man who soon divorced her mother and was executed during the French Revolution. She seemed destined for an obscure life, but all of that changed when her mother, Josephine, remarried a little French guy named Napoleon. There was a man Hortense loved, but when her step-father became Emperor, diplomacy forced her in a different direction. It was determined that she should marry the childless Napoleon's brother, Louis Bonaparte, thereby creating the opportunity for issue with the bloodlines of both Napoleon and his wife. Napoleon set up his brother as King of Holland, making Hortense the Queen. She was miserable, having no love for her husband, a feeling that was reciprocated. So she amused herself with other activities, from having a lover to writing this book of romantic musical poems. The copy offered belonged to the Queen herself. Circa 1810. $19,500.

Item 50 is an 1803 letter from President Thomas Jefferson to Maryland Congressman Joseph Nicholson. The topic is the war with the Barbary pirates, a subject that tore at Jefferson's thinking. The United States had paid the leaders of the North African, Barbary states tribute to stop them from pirating American vessels in the Mediterranean. It was a practical policy, but one that Jefferson could not stomach on principle. So, he sent American naval vessels to battle the pirates. However, Jefferson did not like a standing military, believing in local militias that could be called up in time of crisis. Jefferson reassures Nicholson that the conflict was limited and the U.S. would soon be able to reduce its presence in the Mediterranean. The President proved to be wrong, as the Barbary leaders upped the level of conflict and it took several more years for the U.S. to subdue the pirates. $50,000.

Of course, America had her pirates too, but they served a more noble cause. Item 18 is the History of the American Privateers, and Letters-of-Marque, during our War with England in the years 1812, '13, and '14. This is an 1856 book by George Coggeshall. Unlike the British, America had no real navy during the War of 1812, so the nation turned to private ships, enabling them to operate like pirates against British shipping interests. $750.

Kevin F. Kelly, Bookseller, may be reached at 646-895-9858 or books@kevinkellybookseller.com. The website is www.kevinkellybookseller.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>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
  • <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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