Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

Leaf Books from Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller

Karmioleleaf4-10

A collection of leaf books from Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

We have received our first catalogue from Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller, Inc., of Santa Monica, California. However, Karmiole is hardly a newcomer to the book trade. He has been selling rare and antiquarian books in Southern California for over three decades, and he is a major benefactor of research and education in the field. While he has handled numerous types of antiquarian books over the years, this latest catalogue is devoted to a very specific niche: A Collection of Leaf Books. Leaf books are books which feature a leaf or two from some other notably important book or leaves from some fine printer's body of work. They provide collectors with an opportunity to own a piece of some very important and very old books, many of which are either virtually unobtainable, or otherwise obtainable only to those of great wealth. Here are some of the leaf books Kenneth Karmiole is offering.

Item 13 is Stephen Booth's book about, and containing a leaf from, the greatest resource used by Shakespeare in creating his plays: The Book Called Holinshed's Chronicles. The leaf is from the 1587 second edition and is about Queen Elizabeth. Holinshed's Chronicles was the most thorough compilation of British and Irish history at the time it was first published, 1577. This second edition added to the first and this is the edition Shakespeare used for the historic events described in his plays. Booth's account of this work was published by the Book Club of California in 1968. Priced at $175.

Recorded history in California does not go back quite so far as in Britain, but here is a book and collection of material from its early days: Seventy-Five Years in California, by William Heath Davis, with a forward from the Editor, Douglas S. Watson. Published by legendary bookseller John Howell in 1929, this is an account of the state's days under Mexican rule, its quasi-military and territorial governments, and finally its early years as a state. Along with text and numerous illustrations, this edition, limited to 22 copies, comes with 22 pieces of California ephemera. Among them is a large 1853 topographic map of San Francisco, an 1857 mining journal, and the Mayor's proclamation after the San Francisco earthquake. This copy is signed by Howell and Watson. Item 20. $1,500.

Jacob Bigelow's book on American botany was notable for its information on American medicinal plants, but for book collectors it is even more important for its status as a first. It was America's first color plate book. Item 113 is American Medical Botany 1817-1821 by Richard J. Wolfe, published by Bird and Bull Press in 1979. This not only provides details on the printing and distribution of this American first, but includes two engraved plates, including one colored by hand. These plates were never used in a bound copy. Bigelow printed up a lifetime supply of them, which he bound together over the years as demand came in for his book. However, once he developed a means of printing in color, he abandoned the remainder of those plates which had been colored by hand. $300.

Here are some more pages that never saw a bindery: Ashendene Press, Original Unbound Sheets, 1923-1935. The Ashendene Press of Charles Hornby operated from 1895-1935, publishing a collection of fine press books along the way. When Hornby retired and closed the press, there were leftover sheets from various books which Glen Dawson of Dawson's Book Shop purchased from Hornby's daughter. In 1961, Dawson released this collection of sheets from six Ashendene works along with a leaf of notes in a very limited edition of 17 numbered sets. Item 21. $1,250.

Item 26 is a leaf book of biblical proportions: Original Leaves from Famous Bibles: Nine Centuries 1121-1935 A.D. It contains leaves from 60 Bibles, 4 manuscript, 56 printed. Despite the title, the first leaf is from a circa 1150 Bible, not 1135, as compiler Otto Ege misdated that one after confusing the Armenian and Gregorian calendars. This deluxe edition was published by Ege around 1950 in an edition of 100 copies. $10,000.

Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller, Inc., may be reached at 310-451-4342 or Karmbooks@aol.com.

Rare Book Monthly

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  • <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].
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    <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 Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
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