• <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Black Sun Press] Proust, Marcel, 47 Unpublished Letters from Marcel Proust to Walter Berry, Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1930. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Williams, William Carlos (1883-1963), <i>Spring and All,</i> first edition, Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Washington, George (1732-1799), Autograph Letter Signed. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849), Autograph Letter Signed. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862), Autograph Manuscript. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Paris Commnue], Photograph album. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Fleming, Ian (1908-1964), <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, London: Jonathan Cape, 1953. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Audubon, John James and the Rev. John Bachman, <i>The Quadrupeds of North America,</i> New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849, 1851, 1854. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Lewis, C.S. (1898-1963), <i>The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,</i> first edition, London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1952. $600 to $800.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Bhagavad Gita] Wilkins, Charles, trans., <i>The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon…,</i> first edition, London: Printed for C. Nourse, 1785. $700 to $1,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, <i>Faust: Eine Tragodie von Goethe,</i> Hammersmith: Printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson & Emery Walker at the Doves Press, 1906-1910. $800 to $1,200.
  • <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Thomas Paine ALS Confirming Christmas Eve Attack Likely Based on Anti-Christianity, “The account you heard of a man firing into my house is true.” $24,000 to $35,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Washington Gives a Horse and Guns to His Loyal Guard 10 Days Before Resigning as Commander-in-Chief. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> John Hancock ALS, “General Howe is bent on coming here” - Troops, Martha Washington, & 1777 Continental Congress, to Wife Dolly! $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Abraham Lincoln Boldly and Fully Signs Appointment of Consul Who Would Facilitate Bond Sales in Europe Financing Civil War. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> The Rarest of Dual Signed Kennedy Items! 1963 Christmas Card with "Blessed Christmas" Removed at the Last Minute for Kennedy's Jewish Friends. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Gershwin Signed Contract for 1st Production of <i>Porgy and Bess,</i> Also Signed by Dubose Heyward & Ira Gershwin, Historic! $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Einstein Signed, “Two years after the fall of the German Goyim” 1st Ed. of <i>Mein Weltbild.</i> $12,000 to $14,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Walt Disney <i>Fantasia</i>-Era Boldly Signed TLS Re: "Special Effects Department," PSA Certified Authentic & With Phil Sears COA. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> 1996-97 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls Home Game-Worn Jersey Showcasing "Light" Evident Use, MEARS A5. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Wayne Gretzky’s 1994 All-Star Used Game Jersey, Inscribed to Former MLB Player! $4,500 to $5,500.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> <i>The Astronauts</i> Signed by All 7 Mercury Astronauts! $4,000 to $5,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Fabulous Edison, Firestone, Burroughs Signed Journal With 44 Original Photos, Very Rare. $4,000 to $5,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2019 Issue

Le Gentil de la Barbinais, Too Gentle a Circumnavigator

86213980-216a-4c29-93c6-4fc1723e55e9

Le Gentil de la Barbinais is the alleged first French circumnavigator. He left Cherbourg, France, in 1714, and came back 4 years later with a detailed relation, Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris, 1725). Mostly focusing on China, it is a lively and exciting reading, richly illustrated, and quite sought-after by travel books connoisseurs. Yet, French history doesn’t recount his name but Bougainville’s, a much more prestigious hero. Our author was probably too “gentle”...

 

Too Gentle For Your Own Good 

 

Had I accomplished this beautiful voyage sixty years earlier,” Le Gentil de la Barbinais (not to be mistaken with the physician Le Gentil de la Galaisière) wrote in his book, “the newspapers would have surely mentioned my name—I might even have ended up in LeMercure Galant*, who knows? Some people would have paid to see me at the fair of St-Germain, as a rare animal from faraway lands; unfortunately, everybody goes around the globe nowadays.” Actually, he was the first French to do so, 200 years after Magellan and 60 years before the renown Louis-Antoine de Bougainville! He published the relation of his travel in 1725, Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris), with 18 engravings and maps. It was reprinted two years later (Chez Flahaut, 1727) and then one year later (Chez Briasson, 1728), and was then pirated by Dutch printers, including Pierre Mortier, in Amsterdam (1728, 1729, 1731, 1734, 1746, 1747). Yet, history doesn’t remember his name but the flamboyant Bougainville’s. A mere commercial trip, Le Gentil’s travel was probably not glorious enough, and his personality too common. Our “gentle” (Gentil means nice, in French) writer was “no stuff of which heroes are made”, Francis Bergerac writes in Escales Maritimes (2014): “When he came back to France, he found out that the investors had gone bankrupt and all the merchandise was seized. He didn’t like quarrels, and he followed, as he says, the commandment of the Bible by giving away his coat. This is probably the reason why our proud nation forgot about him”—also because, giving few maritime details, he made his account suspicious to some, especially since many fake travel books—booksellers nowadays call them apocryphal—came out at the time. 

 

A Scarce Edition

 

Le Gentil’s book is expensive— the auction house Pierre Bergé sold a very nice copy of the 1738 edition for $1,400 in 2010—, so I was surprised to find a very affordable copy for sale the other day. In fact, this copy features the allegorical frontispiece by D. Redinger only—no other illustration. Furthermore, this is no first edition, but a 1747 one (Amsterdam, Pierre Mortier), and it comes in 3 in-12 volumes with bindings “à la Bradel”, meaning with contemporary—here, yellowish—boards instead of a more luxurious leather binding. These bindings were originally invented in Germany and imported to France by François-Paul Bradel in the 1770s, probably as a way to circumvent the privilege of binders; it means our copy was bound at least a few decades after it was published. In fact, maybe a little bit later. Indeed, the title tags on the back read “Voyage par Gentil”. The words are fully written, which almost never happens on the tags of the 18th century, and the preposition “par/by” is surprisingly unusual. Was this copy bound at the turn of the 19th century? First editions are usually more expensive than reprints (no copy of the first edition was for sale on the Internet at the time this article was written), especially Dutch reprints, usually of a lesser quality as far as engravings and typography are concerned —our copy is full of misprints like frayer instead of frayeur, page 44, ne pouvaient. Ils point, instead of ne pouvaient-ils point, page 45, etc. Yet, this 1747 edition appears to be scarcer than the first one, as I could not find any copy listed anywhere—idref.fr only lists the 1746 one (Amsterdam, P. Mortier). In fact, upon examining the latter on googlebooks.com, I realized that the two editions are identical, with the same missing spots in the “Y” of VOYAGE (title pages) and the same aforementioned misprints—the year alone was changed from title pages. The 1746 edition features no illustrations either—except for the same frontispiece. The commercial mention “Adorned with several plans, views and perspectives from the principal cities and ports of Peru, Chili, Brazil and China” that appears on the title pages of all editions being absent from both the 1746 and 1747 ones, they seem to be complete as such—apparently, the 1731 edition (Mortier) also came without engravings. Pierre Mortier was known for his cheaper pirate books. C. A. Walckenaer writes (La Fontaine, Paris, 1827): “Some counterfeit editions of La Fontaine’s works were printed without illustrations, sold for a small price; such was the one given by Pierre Mortier, in Amsterdam in 1687.” Anyway, the original engravings—made from the author’s own drawings—are sadly missed since, according the French bookseller Edition-Original, “through the frontispiece (...) and the various maps and plans, the author develops a true visual rhetoric.” Fortunately, the text itself is quite fascinating.

 

Chinese Will Be Chinese

 

Le Gentil’s relation mainly concerns China, but he first goes to Arica, Chili, and Lima, Peru, “populated with traitors, thieves and murderers”, giving interesting details before eventually reaching China. Several years before the authoritative work of Du Halde (Description... de la Chine..., Paris, 1735), Le Gentil gives an intriguing description of a then ill-known country. He learnt a little bit of Chinese but was mainly informed by Father Lauréati, an Italian Jesuit, who had been living there for several years. Le Gentil appears like an ordinary man speaking genuinely his mind: “When you’ve never seen but the top of your little church,” he says, “everything appears wonderful to you!” He notices that the Chinese eat “even dogs”, that they cripple their daughter’s feet, who “can hardly walk”, that “they have no clear idea of a superior spirit, or any word to describe it.

 

Not impressed at their philosophy, he nonetheless refuses to see them as barbarians: “There’s hardly one people with better laws or wiser precepts.” He adds: “Their ways are different from ours, but all usages were born out of man’s caprices. Raised in a certain environment, with certain values, we convince ourselves that our happiness and duty rely on them. We all reason from what we’ve learnt, and what we’ve always seen around us; everything that differs from our usages looks weird to us.” Le Gentil yet considers the Chinese as “definitely inferior to Europeans.” He also gives a precise description of their system, based on Mandarins—Chinese officials. Le Gentil and his associates are taken for a ride for months before being able to buy goods under very disadvantageous conditions. In 1717, they reach the Bourbon Island (La Réunion), passed the Cape of Good Hope, touched Brazil, and then arrived in France. Le Gentil’s circumnavigation took him several years, and at the end of the day, he was ripped off all his money. Despite tremendous cultural gaps and huge distances, the world this man toured in 1714 was quite the same as it is today. Men being treacherous, avaricious, surprising, fascinating, forcing social rules upon themselves, and then spending their lives trying to break them for the sake of personal interest. From 1714 to 2019, from China to France, whether sailing boats or riding planes, men will be men, for the best—and the worst.

 

* Le Mercure Galant, a famous French newspaper.

 

Thibault Ehrengardt

 

Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde par Mr Le Gentil

 

Avec une description de l’Empire de la Chine, beaucoup plus ample & circonstanciée que celles qui ont paru jusqu’à présent; où il est traité des mœurs, religion, politique, éducation & commerce des peuples de cet empire.

 

A Amsterdam, chez Pierre Mortier, 1747. 3 volumes in-12.

1: Frontispice, page de titre, 2pp (épître), 314pp, 5pp (tables).

2: page de titre, 5pp (table), 227 pp.

3: page de titre, 192pp, 1pp (table).

 

 

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> BLAEU, Joannes and Martinus MARTINI - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Novus Atlas. Pars sexta. Novus Altas Sinensis.</i> Amsterdam: Blaeu, 1655. €8.000 to €12.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> ORTELIUS, Abraham - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum.. Nomenclator ptolemaicus.</i> Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1579. €10.000 to €15.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista - <i>Carceri d'invenzione.</i> [Rome: G.B. Piranesi, second half of the 18th century]. €20.000 to €30.000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair

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