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>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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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