• <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Astronomical manuscript.- Kalendarium cum Tabulis Astronomicis; and other astronomical texts, [?Northern Italy (possibly Verona or Bologna), c.1470]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Melville (Herman). <i>Moby-Dick; or The Whale,</i> first American edition, New York, 1851. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Malta.- Binding.- Sovereign Military Order of Malta.- <i>Gli Statuti della Sacra Religione di S. Gio: Gierosolomitano…</i> Rome, Giacomo Tornieri and Giacomo Ruffinello, 1589. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Britain.- Jansson (Jan). <i>Novus atlas, sive theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> vol.4 only [Britain and Ireland], 56 double-page engraved maps, Amsterdam, 1659. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,</i> second (first published) edition, 1866; and 2 others from the series. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>Novelas Exemplares,</i> rare at auction, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1615. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). Printed programme for the New College School, Oxford, production of The Hobbit, signed by Tolkien, 1967. £4,500 to £5,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Thucydides. <i>The hystory, writtone by Thucidides the Athenyan, of the warre, whiche was betwene the Peloponesians and the Athenyans,</i> first edition in English, 1550. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Wesley (John). Autograph Letter signed "My Dear Sister [?Mary Stokes], exhorting her to write more often and dealing with her problems, 1773. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Leaf from an illuminated book of hours with the Four Evangelists, illuminated by the workshop, or a close follower of the Maître de l'Échevinage. Northern France (possibly Rouen), c.1480. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Signed Abraham Lincoln Civil War era document appointing Green Clay of Kentucky as Secretary of the Legation of the United States at St. Petersburg, Russia, July 15, 1861. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Bambi (1942) animation cel, inscribed Walt Disney's Bambi and signed Walt Disney. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Snow White animation cel, with Walt Disney signature on mat, lower right. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Civil Rights Era Archive relating to U.S. Deputy Marshal Dick Bagby (1933-2003) of Dallas, TX, including letters from President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General. $1,400 to $1,800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson autograph letter, unsigned, regarding a special presentation cane sent via General John Moore McCalla to Gov. George Breathitt of Kentucky. January 18th, 1833. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Four (4) Presidential signed 17th/18th Century Books - two signed by Millard Fillmore, and two signed by James Buchanan. $1,000 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson signed military commission document conferring on George Washington McLean the rank of Second Lieutenant of Marines. Signed January 4, 1834. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Three (3) Southern Maps, including two (2) Antonio Zatta 1778, one (1) South Carolina 1796. $600 to $800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Black Forest German Forestry Apprenticeship Certificate issued to Carl Heshel by Von Fahnenburg, the Forest Master from the Royal District, February 1, 1824. $500 to $550.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Harper Lee, <i>TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,</i> signed 40th anniversary edition. NY: HarperCollins, 1999. $300 to $350.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Archive of twenty-five (25) items related to the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Sixteen (16) 20th Century Celebrity Autographed Books, including Paul Newman, A. E. Hotcher, Leonard Bernstein, Clint Eastwood, Norman Rockwell, Groucho Marx, Johnny Cash, and more. $300 to $350.
  • <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Measure for Measure</i> (extracted from the First Folio). London, 1623. Sold for $52,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $47,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams: </b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. Sold for $43,825.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $1,912.50.
    <b><center>Bonhams<br>Consignments invited (2020)</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. Sold for $150,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. Sold for $15,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. Sold for $175,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. Sold for $131,325.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> BOOLE, GEORGE. <i>An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.</i> London, 1854. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHANNON, CLAUDE and WARREN WEAVER. <i>The Mathematical Theory of Communication.</i> Urbana, 1949. Sold for $27,575.
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> <i>Byblia in vulgar ultimamente impressa,</i> illustrated, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Milio (Agostino). <i>Nuovo dialogo delle devozioni del sacro monte della Verna,</i> FIRST and ONLY EDITION, illustrated, 4to, Stamperia Ducale, Florence, 1568. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> First English edition, NUMBER 23 OF 2000 COPIES, , 4to, Egoist Press, Paris, 1922. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Dumas (Marlene). <i>Doornrosie,</i> lithograph printed in colours, signed, 370 x 440 mm, 1989. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Japanese Culture.- Kimbei (Kusakabe). Two albums of hand tinted albumen prints, each with 50 photos, each photo c.140 x 95mm, [late 19th century]. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Miró (Joan) ARR. <i>Personnages sur Fond Noir,</i> NUMBER 38 OF 75 COPIES, lithograph, signed and dated, 305 x 445mm, 1948. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Ray (Man). Autoportrait, photolithograph, initialled and inscribed by artist, ONE of 100 COPIES, 200 x 160mm, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Wou-Ki (Zao). L'tang / The Pond, etching aquatint, number 2 of 3 only, signed by artist, 260 x 230 mm, Paris, Editions Galanis, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Autographs & Memorabilia<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> De Amicis (Edmondo). Postcards signed by Italian author and journalist Edmondo De Amicis, February 1897- August 1907. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Live Aid.- Live Aid 1985 souvenir programme, signed by Bob Geldof, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Freddie Mercury, and others, 1985-1991. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. Black and white, landscape photograph ft. all the Heads of Government of the British Commonwealth who attended the 1944 Prime Ministers' Conference in London, signed by all.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Walt Disney Production.- Dopey, original animation cel from Snow White approx. 180 x 180mm., Walt Disney Enterprises, 1937. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Liszt (Franz). Carte-de-visite photograph by J.Ganz of Brussels of Franz Liszt, signed, 10 x 6.4cm, c. 1880. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Fermi (Enrico). Autograph letter signed to Professor Tullio Levi Civita, 8vo, Florence, 9 May 1925; w/an autograph note from Professor Civita, 7 March 1934 (2). £1,800 to £2,200.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2014 Issue

Louis Mandrin vs. The Fermiers Généraux - A Political Testament

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Louis Mandrin.

Fermier Généraux

 

The King was an untouchable figure nobody dared to criticize openly. It was safer to blame those who worked for him. Thus, in the summer of discontent that eventually led to the Révolution of 1789, the Fermiers Généraux were made the scapegoats of a corrupt system about to scramble down. But who were the farmers? Most book lovers have heard about those 60 independent tax collectors—later 80 and then 40—as they financed one of the most sought-after books of the 18th century, Contes et Nouvelles en vers, by Jean de Lafontaine (1762). Why they decided to print a book, and this particular one, remains uncertain; but they sure did things properly, having the 2,000 copies—figures vary according to the sources—printed on Holland paper by Barbou in Paris. They also asked Eisen to illustrate it with some 80 engravings. The result is a set of two in-8° volumes usually bound in full morocco—of course—and sold nowadays for several thousands euros. This is a sort of Grail for bibliophilists, despite the weak contents—if you ask me, but who does? If the copies of this book are usually luxurious it is because the Fermiers were wealthy men, who wouldn’t satisfy themselves with a common binding. Appointed by the Minister of Finance—in fact, they bought their position at a very high price—they officially collected indirect taxes for the King providing that they paid a fixed amount of money—called a bail. Thus, the King knew exactly how much he would get—and when—and didn’t bother collecting the money.

 

In 1726, the historical Fermes established since the Middle Age were all brought together, and became the Ferme Générale. The Fermiers hired their own men and were very influential people—they had their own militias and their own courts of justice. “A lot has been said about their riches,” said Corinne Townley “but it was often exaggerated. In fact, their profits were regulated.” Among other taxes, they collected those regarding tobacco. And Mandrin mainly smuggled illegal tobacco—as well as sophisticated silks from England. “Everyone on the frontier was more or less smuggling goods,” laughed Corinne Townley, “but Mandrin was at the head of one of these short-lived gangs, that operated between 1730 and 1760 in a totally unprecedented way.” Riding horses, they crossed the frontier, hastily sold their illegal stuff, and then drove back to their place as soon as possible. “Just like the modern go-fast,” said Corinne Townley, referring to the criminal habit of carrying drugs from one point to another as fast as possible, using powerful cars. “But Mandrin loved to show off, and it cost him his life.”

 

The Cynical Mandrinade

 

Because of political frictions and economic interests, the Dutch gazettes gladly related Mandrin’s exploits in a positive way. His consequent troops—800 men according to the book—located in the then independent region of Piémont-Sardaigne defied and ridiculed the Crown of France; and that was all right with the Dutch. The way Mandrin operated is quite puzzling. Many times, he simply forced the employees of the Ferme to buy his goods! He fixed prices, and asked for his money at gunpoint. On December 17, 1754, he went to Seurre, in Bourgogne, and forced the Receiver General of Salt and Tobacco to buy a load of illegal tobacco from him. In Beaune, he assaulted the town, killed several soldiers, and asked for a ransom, which was paid to him. He loved provocation, too; and was known for wearing the golden-fringed hat of a Brigadier of the Ferme he had murdered in January 1754—the same hat he usually wears on his portraits. This is quite a romantic way to smuggle goods, indeed; but not enough to turn him into a hero. On the contrary, another book published in 1755, La Mandrinade, drew an excessively dark picture of him. The title page claims the book was printed at Saint-Geoirs, the native town of the villain—an obvious forgery. “This story will urge you to run away from the wicked,” warns the forewords, “and not to be one.” In this very short book—48 pages—Mandrin is depicted as a beast.

 

First, he made his pregnant mother suffer like hell even before he was born; and when he came from her womb, he was hairy like a goat! Then he was as a hater of religion, a pagan born for the despair of all mankind. One day, he asked his men to cut the throat of a little child as an oath of allegiance. They complied and collected the innocent blood: “Mandrin poured it into a bowl, and then asked his men to plunge their left hands into it; they then swore to remain faithful to their master, holding a loaded pistol in their right hands. What a devilish scene! None more terrible shall be beheld but in hell.” Now, this is too much, isn’t it? It should have been enough for the world to see Mandrin as a heartless brute for the rest of days. But then came another book, Le Testament Politique de Louis Mandrin (The Political Testament of Mandrin). And this one changed everything.

 

The Political Will of a Villain

 

Political testaments were a literary tradition born in the late 17th century that enabled some writers such as Courtilz de Sandras—author of several fake memoirs, including those of D’Artagnan—to anonymously draw bitter portraits of the powerful. Colbert, Richelieu or Louvois were among those who left their will on paper. The testament of Mandrin is very short too—48 pages. But it became a best seller if we believe the title page of the 1756 edition that reads, seventh edition! Just like any political testament, it is a fake autobiography—supposedly written in jail; and a true political pamphlet that asks a few disturbing questions in the name of Mandrin: “I’ve relieved the people of a part of the taxes that brought them down (...); I’ve seen the tears of those I allegedly terrorised—who is this criminal the whole France is crying over, and whose life would gladly be saved by so many people ready to die for him? This is a mystery that the politicians of Versailles could easily inquire about. (...) Times are crucial, the kingdom has just been through a serious crisis; the nicest of all monarchies has almost been overthrown (...). The vice is the system of the Ferme.” The author denounces the considerable profits of the Fermiers Généraux—if the taxes amounted to 40 millions, he says, they collected 60, and kept 20 for themselves. He also criticizes the courts of justice established by the Fermiers, who thus became judge and jury. A situation mentioned by Montesquieu in Spirit of Laws: “As the moneyed man is always the most powerful, the farmer renders himself arbitrary (...); he is not the legislator, but he obliges the legislator to give laws.” The author of the testament also claims that the Fermiers employed 300,000 people at the time—the modern figures are closer to 30,000. “France wonders at so many smugglers operating on its territory! Can’t you see this is due to the Ferme?” To him, it was clear: finance* was a disease that had already killed the French agriculture, and would soon destroy the rest of the country—and that was 1756! The end of the book is cunningly composed of fake letters written by some ruined labourers or fired employees of the Ferme applying for a position in Mandrin’s troops. They sum up the hardship and miseries faced by the commoners, those who suffered in the hands of the mighty Fermiers and their corrupt system. 

 

* Let’s bear in mind that France had been traumatized by the system of John Law, who introduced paper money into the kingdom in 1716. After a short honeymoon, the system collapsed, which led to a dramatic bankrupt.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>Winter in der Schweiz,</i> 1921. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Evelyn Rumsey Carey, <i>Pan American Exposition / Niagara / Buffalo,</i> 1901. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Arnost Hofbauer, <i>Topicuv Salon,</i> 1898. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Job,</i> 1896. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Georges de Feure, <i>Le Journal des Ventes,</i> 1898. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Cycles Perfecta,</i> 1897. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Edward Penfield, <i>Orient Cycles / Lead the Leaders,</i> circa 1895. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Adrien Barrère, <i>L’Ideal du Touriste,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Willem Frederick Ten Broek, <i>New York / Wereldtentoonselling / Holland – Amerika Lijn,</i> 1938. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Dwight Clark Shepler, <i>Sun Valley / Union Pacific.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Sascha Maurer, <i>Flexible Flyer Splitkein / Smuggler’s Notch,</i> circa 1935. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Louis Bonhajo, <i>Vote / League of Women Voters,</i> 1920. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> [Paine, Thomas]. Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America… Philadelphia: R. Bell, 1776. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Autograph letter signed, to Joshua Reed Giddings, 21 May 1860. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Oakley, Annie. <i>A Brief Sketch of Her Career and Notes on Shooting.</i> [N.p.]: ca. 1913, Signed. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Washington, George. One autograph letter signed & 3 letters signed to General Alexander McDougall, September 1777. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Mather, Cotton. <i>The Wonders of the Invisible World. Being an account of the tryals of several witches...</i> London: 1693. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> James, Benjamin.<i><br>A Treatise on the Management of the Teeth.</i> Boston, 1814. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Abraham Lincoln Endorsement Signed, March 16, 1865. Framed with a lithograph of Lincoln by Dwight C. Sturges.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Thomas Edison Stunning Signed Portrait.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Franz Liszt Signed Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Subscription for Portraits of the Presidents Signed by J. Q. Adams, Polk, Jackson, Buchanan, and Writers Dickens, Bryant and More!
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Vinson Supreme Court Signed Presentation Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Collection of Three Financial Items.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Rare Sigmund Freud ALS Related to Sexual Issues.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> New York Yankees team signed baseball c.1937 including Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Gomez and others.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Salvador Dali Original Drawing in <i>Dali</i> by David Larkin.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Charles Wilson Peale, Association Miniature of Dr. Ebenezer Crosby after Charles Willson Peale. Gouache on ivory miniature attributed to Peale.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> William McKinley Signed Oversize Photograph Incredible 20"x24".
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Margaret Mitchell Signed <i>Gone With The Wind</i> -- First Edition.

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