Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2004 Issue

One Hundred Plus One<br>Rare Books from Charles Wood


Dubois de Chemant’s teeth form an almost Picasso style face.

By Michael Stillman

From Charles Wood Bookseller comes his latest catalogue, and we can already see that, years from now, people will be collecting variants of this item. On the cover it is called “One Hundred Rare Books,” but on the title page, it is “101 Rare Books.” This is an instant collectible. Those who order the catalogue based on the cover will be pleased to discover they have received a bonus, for there are 101 listings in all.

Among the topics covered in the catalogue are art, architecture, trade catalogues, printing and coloring, as well as numerous other subjects. The greatest concentration of works is from the 19th century.

Among the unusual trade catalogues is one from the Paris firm A. Biloret & C. Mora. It is filled with various electronic and manual gadgets, some with hand-colored illustrations. Among the items sold are batteries, magnets, electric clocks, electric powered model water pumps and locomotives, ear trumpets and more. All of this in 1880. Item 5. Priced at $4,000. Item 5 is a catalogue from the Atchison Furniture Company of Atchison, Kansas. It includes styles of furniture that were popular in 1880. $1,100. Item 76 is a catalogue of druggists labels. For those druggists who prepared their own potions, rather than relying on branded medicines, they could order up a bunch of professional looking labels that could compete in stature with Lydia Pinkham. $1,400. If you had a horse, and who didn’t in 1895, you would have appreciated Moseman’s illustrated guide for purchasers of horse furnishing goods, novelties and stable appointments, imported and domestic. It had saddles, muzzles, halters, boots, bits, whips, even polo goods. Everything necessary for the well-furnished horse. Item 59. $1,350.

Item 26 is A dissertation on artificial teeth in general, exposing the defects and injurious consequences of all teeth made of animal substances… This catalogue was published by Nicolas Dubois de Chemant, a French dentist who had moved to London to promote his process for producing porcelain artificial teeth. Charles Wood describes the appliances as “very sophisticated, if terrifying.” This was 1797, so it’s hard to imagine the dentistry being anything but terrifying. However, while Dubois de Chemant’s false teeth are not remembered, he ought to get credit for his artistry. If you look at the image from his catalogue to the left, you will see he was the inventor of the artistic style adopted over a century later by Pablo Picasso. $2,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions