Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

Outstanding Items from Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller

Harrington69

Peter Harrington offers a selection of important works.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review our first catalogue from Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller of London. For Harrington, this is Catalogue 69. Peter Harrington needs little introduction to those familiar with the rare book trade, but we will provide a brief one anyway. Mr. Harrington began selling books in 1969 at the Chelsea Antiques Market, moving to their current Fulham Road location in London's Chelsea area in 1997. Peter Harrington died in 2003, but the firm continues under the management of his son, Pom Harrington. Harrington trades in the upper tier of books in numerous subject areas. Among those they have handled was a first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, which recently sold for the highest price ever for a 20th century first edition ($442,900), the publisher's copy and first copy bound of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, a Shakespeare first folio, and recently purchased a first edition of Champlain's Les Voyages, the most expensive item sold at the recent de Orbe Novo (Bruce McKinney) sale ($758,000). Here are a few of the special items being offered in this latest Harrington catalogue.

James Joyce published his book of poetry, Chamber Music, as an unknown writer in 1907. When the printing was complete, Joyce remained an unknown writer. His later novels would lead many to consider Joyce the greatest writer of the 20th century, but this work, though achieving some critical approval, hardly rose to that level. Rather, it is a collection of love poems that were decent, but not revolutionary as his later works would be. Nonetheless, it does provide a portrait of the writer as a young man. The print run for this book was 509, but only around 200 were compiled in this first issue. A recording was made of the poems in this book set to music by various modern musicians just last year, and it seems to have been received similarly to the text version a century ago - some modest critical recognition and not a whole lot of sales. Item 103. Priced at £6,500 (British pounds, or about U.S. $9,728).

Item 5 is a copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, the first published edition from 1866 (Carroll demanded the first printed edition be recalled because of quality problems). It comes with a letter from the author, presumably to Edith Mary Alice Berkeley, which is filled with Carroll's humor. He jokingly chides her for failing to provide the full name of a friend so he could send her a copy of the book. He jokes that anyone else guilty of such conduct "would have been shut up in a prison, or in a lunatic asylum, or, worse still, in a young ladies' school." He then asks what good are young ladies if they don't make themselves useful. "Far better have a set of really useful fire-screens, or wheel-barrows." He has signed the letter as "Lewis Carroll," rather than his real name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, or his commonly used "the author." £45,000 (US $67,302).

Item 118 was the first account of one of the most important journeys of the age of discovery: Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, in 1772...1775. The author was anonymous but is now known to be John Marra, a gunner's mate whose writing skills probably required some serious help from an editor. Marra violated the rules by publishing his account in 1775, prior to the release of the official report by the mission's leader, Captain James Cook. The voyage of the Resolution is best known for being the first to penetrate the Antarctic Circle, and disprove the then widely held belief that the region was covered by an enormous southern continent. Marra's account also provides some interesting information left out of the official version, including the reason why naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, who had participated in Cook's first journey, bowed out of this one at the last minute. £9,750 (US $14,658).

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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