Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2020 Issue

Peter Luke: a resourceful dealer


Material sent to me by Peter Luke

There are many ways for dealers and customers to connect.  For dealers, shows have been for years important, even vital.  This category of sales however is being battered by limitations based on health concerns.  So what can a dealer do?


Here is an example of how a resourceful dealer, Peter Luke, is addressing this challenge.


By scouring his shop he found and organized an assortment of material related to the seven counties of the New York mid-Hudson Valley I collect.  Then he converted this material into 39 lots and offered to send them for inspection with the understanding that all lots would be individually priced and purchased at a 20% discount, as well, if all material is purchased, then the entire group would be subject to a 30% discount.


I will say the pricing is random but such lot groupings that have been posted to me over the past 10 years have often been sufficiently appealing to buy everything.  Hence when Peter wondered if he should put together a package I said certainly.  They are always interesting.


Altogether there are about 250 items that break out into 7 categories:


  1.  Transportation including material relating to the Delaware Plank Road
    1. Letters and documents and one image


  1.  Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County:  5 lots


  1. Image of the Old Dutch Church, Fishkill.
  2. The Poughkeepsie National Union.  An Announcement.  2nd of Jan. 1878.  Announcing a school of the highest order.
  3. New Discoveries of the Millennium.  There were speculation that the calendar should/would be recalibrated because of the impending New Millennium.  Others nearby wore out their nibs writing on this subject.
  4. The Boston & Albany Railroad Company.  Albany Division:  From Hudson to Kinderhook.  Schedule for June 15, 1890.
  5. Regimental Orders.  Poughkeepsie, August 5th, 1844. Printed in 2 point.  “Officers and musicians of the 84th Regiment to rendezvous for the purpose of training, disciplining and improving in Martial Exercise.”


  1. The Hudson River including Hudson, New York:  9 lots


  1. Hudson Directory 1851-2 by Parmenter & Van Antwerp:  Hudson, 1851.  This is actually a Munsell imprint, one of the rarer ones, identified by the J. Munsell advertisements on the last printed page.  In Munselliana this is Muns-567.
  2. An advertising card:  42nd  Season of the People’s Evening Line.  With an image of the Drew.
  3. Firemen’s Home of the State of New York.  1912.  30 pages, many images.
  4. The Hudson River published by the Hudson River Day Line.  Nicely engraved on 24 sheets. 10” x 8”
  5. The Confession of Faith and Covenant of the First Presbyterian Church, Hudson, N. Y.  8 pages with printed covers.  J. Wilbur, Printer, Hudson. [n.d], I assume circa 1834
  6. City of Hudson-N-Y.  1785 Sesquicentennial 1935.  A lush celebration. 6.75” x 10”.  36pp.
  7. Sermon delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. Benjamin Franklin Stanton, in the City of Hudson, January 9, 1817.  31pg. Disbound.


  1. Business Records within the 7 county area are useful because business details often provide a sense of the struggle to build or maintain viable enterprises:  5 lots


  1. Records for Hudson, N.Y. firms; many nicely illustrated. 27 examples.
  2. Illustrated Catalogue of Machines and Parts manufactured by the American Raveller Co:  Sewing Machines
  3. Gifford-Wood Co.  Elevating and Conveying Machinery Ice Tools.  At Rondout, N.Y., ice was a major export to New York City in the later 1900th century.
  4. Detachable Umbrella Covers for sale by Luckey, Platt & Co, Poughkeepsie.
  5. E. P. H. Capron’s Improved Turbine Water Wheel, Hudson, N.Y.  Illustrated.


  1. The Catskill Mountains:  5


  1. The Scenery of the Catskill Mountains as described by various luminaries.  1876 including appealing woodcut illustrations.
  2. Hotel Reed, Liberty, Sullivan Co.  4 pages and cover.  Severe:  $7.00-$10.00 with references.
  3. The Catskill of “The Yesterdays”.  18 pages illustrated with a focus on history.
  4. Views of the Laurel House and Kauterskill Falls.  Internally perfect:  12 panels.


  1. Greene and Columbia County:  8


  1. The Journal of Materia Medica devoted to Materia Medica, Pharmacy and Chemistry.  Vol. XV, April 1876.  No. 4.  The field of natural solutions found many adherents no doubt  because of the list of diseases this publication affirms to resolve.  Such publications were given when concoctions were ordered.
  2. R. F. Livingston, at Lake Copake, would provide a brief property survey in this printed form to which he would diagram and describe a property in an efficient way.  This is an example.  Dated September, 1844.
  3. An 1817 deed signed by John King, Sheriff of Columbia County, later a Congressman.  A foreclosure document.
  4. A handwritten statement of a Constable at Catskill on February 9th, 1835, who brought to jail various parties and provided a detailed invoice for meals provided to the incarcerated.  The jail appears to have been busy.
  5. Columbia County Circuit Court and Supreme Court Calendar.  Listing 156 cases for October 1855.  It appears about half the population were lawyers or crooks and a few to be in both categories.
  6. A Sketch of Lebanon Springs including a wonderful image of Columbia Hall.
  7. 19 letters of/about the Harden family during the period 1840-1860.  Involving Union College and various businesses they conducted.
  8. Columbia County legal documents.  15 examples of the quick and the dead, some left wondering who was better off.


  1. Ulster County:  6


  1. 1896.  Summer Resorts among the Catskills, via Saugerties & New York Steamboat Company [illustrated].  Including a wealth of information.
  2. Soldiers’ Reunion at Maxwell Hall for various addresses.  Saugerties, April 27th, 1881.  Broadside.
  3. To-Night!  The Ideal Entertainers at The Hall, Palenville.  Aug. 11.  Eight Acts, prices 15 & 25 cents.  Broadside
  4. The Delaware-Hudson Canal, lot of papers 1850-1851.  Relating to construction, improvements and a petition for funding.  An unsigned copy.  12 sheets.
  5. An account book of a person or persons extending terms for necessities, some that would have been shipped on the D & H Canal during the period 1839-1842.  On laid paper with a leather wrapper.  One reference to Mohonk.
  6. Ulster County, New York.  Lot of 74 legal documents, 1845-1853 that relate to land and property transfers, dam construction relating to the D & H Canal and other misc. matters.  Included with a photograph postcard of an old gate on one of the local plank roads.


  1. Misc:
    1. Stereoscopic Image of West Point from Phillipstown.


The price:  $2,450.


In this way the 7 counties database will in time possibly include 100,000 items.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.

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