• <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Music, Continental Books and Medieval Manuscripts<br>Online Auction 7-14 July
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Isaac Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> £280,000 to £350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Johann Sebastian Bach. Two early editions: Fantaisie pour le Clavecin. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Mozart. Early edition, in parts, of the Concerto in A for piano and orchestra. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Music, Continental Books and Medieval Manuscripts<br>Online Auction 7-14 July
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Beethoven. First edition, second issue of the Ninth Symphony op.125. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Cervantes. <i>Don Quixote,</i> Barcelona, 1617. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Johann Sebastian Bach. Three first and early editions of music for organ. £1,200 to £1,500.
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> O'Fihely, Maurice Abp. <i>Questiones subtilissme Scoti in metaphysicam Aristotelis</i>, Venice (Octavianus Scoti) 20th November 1497. 8,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Pococke (Richard). <i>A Description of the East and some other Countries,</i> 3 vols. in 2, L. (W. Bowyer) 1743. 2,250 to 3,500 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Keogh (John). <i>Botanalogia Universalis Hibernica, or A General Irish Herbal Calculated for this Kingdom, giving an account of the Herbs, Scrubs…</i>, Corke (George Harrison) 1735. 1,000 to 1,500 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Perry (Charles). <i>A View of the Levant particularly of Constantinople, Syria, Egypt and Greece,</i> L. (T. Woodward) 1743. 800 to 1,200 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Shaw (Thomas). <i>Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant,</i>, Oxford (The Theatre) 1738. 600 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> [French (Nicholas) Bishop of Ferns] Attributed, <i>Recit Exact et Fidele de la Vente et Partage du Roiaume d'Irlande Fait Sous Charles II…,</i> Milan (Chez Charles Joseph Quinto) 1724. 500 to 700 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> [French (V. Rev.Dr. Nicholas, Bp of Ferns.)] <i>The Unkinde Desertor of Loyall Men and True Frinds,</i> 12mo, n.p. 1676. 500 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Yeats (W.B.) <i>Plays and Controversies,</i>, N.Y. (The MacMillan Company) 1924, Signed Limited Edn. 500 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Barrie (J.M.) & Thomson (Hugh) illus. <i>Quality Street, a Comedy in Four Acts,</i> L. (Hodder and Stoughton) 1901, Limited Edition, signed by the artist. 500 to 700 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Molyneaux (William). <i>The Case of Ireland's being bound by Acts of Parliament in England Stated,</i> [London 1719]. 200 to 300 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Johnston's (W. & A.) Map of South Africa, to illustrate the Military Operations 1900. 100 to 150 €
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>N.C. Wyeth, <i>The Black Arrow,</i> oil on canvas, for the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1916. $150,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Laurent de Brunhoff, mixed media color study for <i>Babar’s World Tour,</i> 2005. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Hilary Knight, <i>Eloise with Valentine,</i> watercolor, ink & pencil, 2015. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Howard Pyle, <i>It was a Comrade from His Own Regiment,</i> oil on canvas, for <i>Harper’s Monthly Magazine,</i> 1909. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Coby Whitmore, <i>‘Poor baby! You want me so much,’ she said,</i> acrylic, for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1968. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Al Hirschfeld, <i>Charley’s Aunt,</i> pen & ink, for the Broadway revival, <i>The New York Times,</i> 1940. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Erté, <i>Décor de Laideronnette,</i> gouache set design for third movement of <i>Mother Goose,</i> 1949. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Vince McIndoe, <i>Villainous Last Supper, DC Comics,</i> oil on canvas, 2016. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Arthur Getz, <i>Rooftop Party,</i> casein tempera, cover illustration for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1970. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 1. Albertus Magnus, De Natura Locorum, 2nd edn, 1515. £3000 to £4000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 22. George Cooke, Scenery of the East India Islands, 1811-13. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 23. J.M. Crozet, Nouveau vouage a la Mer du Sud, 1st edn, 1783. £4000 to £6000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 27. J.P.J.Du Bois, Vies des Gouverneurs Generaux, 1st edn, 1763. £1200 to £1800.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 28. Wm Ellis, Authentic Narrative...Captain Cook, 1st edn, 1782. £2500 to £3500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 31. Thomas Forrest, Voyage to New Guinea, 1st edn, 1779. £1500 to £2000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 32. Forster & Forster, Voyage round the World, 1st edn, 1777-78. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 38. Gianetti, Elogy of Captain James Cook, 1st edn, 1785. £2500 to £3500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 46. Otto von Kotzebue, Entdeckungs Reise, 1st edn, 1821. £3500 to £4500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 52. Alejandro Malaspina, Viaje politico-scientifico, 1st edn, 1885. £2000 to £3000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 60. Sydney Parkinson, Journal of Voyage to the South Seas, large paper, 1773. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 64. Nathaniel Portlock, A Voyage round the World, 1st edn, 1789. £4000 to £6000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2020 Issue

Binging on Bibliography

2048b0ea-1fbc-4201-af95-45ac10d415f6

Stuck inside for a couple of months during the Covid crisis? Try brushing up on bibliography and literary biography.

Back in March at the beginning of the global pandemic lockdown it was Katy-Bar-the-Door in Hawaii. Along with thousands of others I went into self-isolation. With my 77th birthday right around the corner, and the news turning darker every day, I had a sneaky feeling I’d be spending more time alone in the foreseeable future. That premonition turned out to be accurate, as now, ten weeks later, I am still sheltering in place.

 

Everybody needs a plan B. So as the drama unfolded I took the opportunity to buy 120 issues of Firsts - The Book Collector’s Magazine (published mostly between 2000 and 2011) and binge read my way through them for bibliography, literary bio, and odd bits of bookish information that I hoped would make me smarter and richer if ever we returned to “normal.”

 

Surprisingly, reading about unfamiliar authors of books I’d never seen and prices that seem simultaneously extravagant and plausible is quite an enjoyable pursuit. While the content of FIRSTS aren’t quite as diverse as the old Antiquarian Bookman (AB), there is indeed lots of valuable and interesting information.

 

The writers in FIRSTS like fiction and high points. The articles often focus on authors like Alcott, Twain and Dickens, whose books are still being read and sold going into their second century. FIRSTS also does a good job with genres like mystery and science fiction; fields with established collectible authors and stories that translate well into film and other media.

 

It’s not exactly an accident that I have a soft spot for bibliography. My dad, the late great Morton (Jock) Netzorg, was a bibliographer, and by that I do not mean a casual pedant who cataloged a volume or two. I mean a hard core pedal-to-the-metal completist who made it his life's work to produce the most comprehensive bibliography on the Philippines in World War II ever compiled. (Netzorg, Cornell, 1st edition 1977, followed by the massively updated and annotated two volume set with thousands of entries, was published by Cellar Book in 1995, shortly before his death.) https://tinyurl.com/y85ec2nw

 

Back in those days we didn’t hear much about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but even though OCD didn’t have a name yet, there was never a time my dad didn’t want that obscure pamphlet, that secret stash of Japanese propaganda leaflets written in English dropped on Manila during the war, the photo album, the song book, the travel guide, the topographic map, and any other oddball items, not to mention buttons, proclamations, or political diatribes.

 

For those who get a heavy dose of bibliography at an early age it never leaves you. You believe it is possible to have everything and know everything, and identify everything in a certain subject and that includes the missing quotation marks on page 62, or the original selling price on the dust wrapper, not to mention the pirated editions and reproductions from photo copied plates on cheap paper made in Taiwan.

 

My dad would sit there in his bathrobe, with all his little “slips” - small pieces of paper - usually of a light green or pale yellow card stock covered with his hand written notes on the edition, when it passed through his hands, how many times he had sold it, to whom and for how much, as well as any interesting little tidbits he’d found in the process. Though my father died over 20 years ago I am still coming across things he’d penciled in the margin in his small clear hand, disputing the point, arguing about the date or correcting the spelling and punctuation.

 

Though I am not nearly the bibliographer my father was, I share his love for detail, for a good story and for at least trying to get all the particulars squared away. Bibliography can be a long slow grind, but over the years becoming a skillful cataloger, and being able to tell with specificity what makes a book important, or a fake, or a later printing, or a first appearance by a rare and collectible author, really does turn out to be a useful (and often financially rewarding) skill.

 

I should add that hard core bibliographers are a strange breed. It should be noted that they are not above making up bogus citations and throwing them in just to keep things interesting. Most of my father’s tendencies in this direction were influenced by James Branch Cabell, and related to things that could have been true - but weren’t (like islands that were supposed to exist but didn’t).

 

I see that this practice is still alive and well. Today I read a post by MacDonnell’s Rare Books in Austin, Texas citing a rumored but unseen work: The Screw of the Tern, reputedly a novel by Henry James said to be about the rape of a seabird. The cataloger reported that no copies had been found as yet.

 

But I digress. Let’s go back to FIRSTS, should you find this enthusiastic plug for recreational bibliography of interest (and just in case the health emergency lasts longer than perhaps you anticipated) let me steer you to the issues and articles I found particularly enlightening.

 

At the moment many of these are available from the publisher directly at firstsmagazine.com and I also have some of them still in stock.

 

Kudos to Robin and Kathyrn Smiley respectively publisher and editor of FIRSTS, who have done an excellent job, especially to Robin whose byline appears frequently.

 

Here are some of my favorites so far listed in chronological order:

 

April 2000 - Collecting Raymond Chandler/Philip Marlow by William F. Nolan with a checklist of first editions by Robin H. Smiley. This is a fascinating read even if you’re not a Chandler fan. The issue also contains an article titled Not Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes Pastiches” by Gary Lovisi covering books that take characters, themes or style from Sherlock Holmes and rework them in modern editions by contemporary writers.

 

September 2000 - Trash Collecting by Robin H. Smileyan interesting discussion of popular fiction of the mid-20th century, i.e trashy books with a collectible edge such as Forever Amber, Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls, the Exorcist, etc. Even the Godfather made this list. It’s an unusual premise with a detailed criteria for inclusion in the “trash” category.

 

November 2000 -Collecting Dashiell Hammett by William Nolan with a brief checklist of firsts. A good read should you be so fortunate as to come across any of the titles discussed.

 

January 2001 - The Black Expatriate Experience in 1920s Paris by David Gregor.

This issue is a detailed and fascinating companion to the two prior special issues about Paris in the 20s. (Those two came out in 2000 and covered the more standard high spot authors like Fitzgerald and Henry Miller, as well as other notable American writers and their circle of friends.)

 

April 2001 -  DELL Mapbacks by Robin H. Smiley.

A detailed report on vintage paperbacks with nifty graphics on the back. The article has many pictures of small books with an enduring appeal, truly a niche genre.

 

January & February 2002 - Collecting W.R. Burnett both by Robin H. Smiley.

Two complete issues are devoted to the life and work of the author of Little Ceasar who invented the gangster genre and had a long career writing for motion pictures.

 

May 2002 - Apacheria by Robin H. Smiley; an introduction to collecting fiction and non-fiction about Apache Indians with an annotated checklist sorted by historical figures and periods.

 

June 2002 - Collecting WPA Guides by Michael Wormser. The article is long and detailed with a good selection of photos.

 

January 2003 - Collecting P.G. Wodehouse by Kathryn Smiley. Everybody wants a P.G. Wodehouse collection, but alas it’s out of reach for most. Here’s a toe-in-the-water read about pricey books and their engaging author. The article contains much biographical info, an extensive checklist of firsts and their values at the time this magazine was published.

 

December 2004 - Collecting Louisa May Alcott by Valerie E. Weich. There is so much written about Louisa May Alcott that it’s hard to know where to start. This issue hits the high spots of her life and works. Though you may never be able to afford to buy and sell these books, this is a solid intro with good biographical information and substantial bibliography, plus many photos.

 

February 2005 - Collecting Non-Fiction Books on Space Flight by Anthony and Emily Springer together with a checklist of first editions. One of the better articles about modern non-fiction published by FIRSTS.

 

November 2006 - Robert A. Heinlein Special Issue by Bill Patterson, checklist by Robin H. Smiley - very informative. Lots of info packed into 64 pages.

 

Sept 2008 - Collecting Joel Chandler Harris & Uncle Remus by Robin H. Smiley.

Like many things from the 19th century, Joel Chandler Harris and his dialect Uncle Remus stories are enjoying significant new interest, especially by collectors of Black Americana. This is an easy way to come up to speed on Harris and his works. This same issue has a long and detailed article on the publication history of Gone with the Wind and the making of the movie of the same name, also by Robin H. Smiley.

 

Sept. 2010 - Collecting George Amstrong Custer by Tim Tytle. This is a speedy intro to Custer and his period with a checklist of other reference and related materials. It's an interesting read on a period that is still relevant and undergoing extensive re-examination. One of the best of the bunch.

 

May 2010 - What’s the Deal about Sylvia Plath together with Who Cares about Olive Higgins Prouty, both by Robin H. Smiley. Looks like Sylvia Plath is going to have a following well into the 21st century, the guide you’ll need to buy wisely.

 

January 2011 - Collecting Eugene O’Neill by Bill Hanrahan. A great deal of biographical and bibliographical info and plenty of theatrical and film notes too. A fast and painless immersion into the works of this celebrated playwright.

 

And last but not least everything on NOIR in books and films with lots of photos:

  • Nov. 2003 - Some tough Noirs by Kevin Johnson; films based on hardboiled crime books.

  • March 2011 - Nine Neglected Noirs - the films and the books that gave rise to them immediately after WWII by Robin H. Smiley.

  • June 2011 -  Neglected Noirs of the 1950s by Robin H. Smiley.



Firsts Magazine, Inc.

P.O. Box 65166

Tucson, AZ 85728

Telephone: (520) 529-1355

firstsmagazine.com

 

Reach me, your faithful but isolated pandemic bibliography fan, at wailukusue@gmail.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript<br>Online Auction 8-15 July
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Elizabeth I. Early letter signed, to Edward North, First Baron North 1560. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Catherine II. Empress of Russia Letter signed to Prince Grigori Aleksandrovich [Potemkin] 1784. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Nelson. Autograph letter signed, to Captains of Egyptian Club, 3 August 1798. £12,000 to £18,000,
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript<br>Online Auction 8-15 July
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Charles Darwin. Photograph signed, c.1871 by Oscar Gustave Rejlander. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> T.E. Lawrence. Autograph letter signed, to Major Littleton, 14 October 1918. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s:</b> Napoleon. Letter signed, ordering General Desaix to sail to Malta, prior to the Egyptian Expedition, 1798. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Ptolomaeus (Claudius). <i>Cosmographia,</i> first edition, Vicenza, Hermann Liechtenstein, 13 September 1475. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Schoener (Johann). <i>Opera mathematica,</i> 3 parts in 1, first edition,The Honeyman copy in contemporary binding, Nuremberg, J. Montanus and U. Neuber, 1551. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Lucian of Samosata. <i>Dialogoi, editio princeps,</i> with fine illuminated title-page, Florence, Lorenzo de Alopa, 1496. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Pian (Jean Baptiste de). [Architectural Alphabet], 26 chromolithographs by Leopold Muller after Pian, Vienna, 1842-44. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Rogers (Bruce).- Holy Bible (The)..., one of 200 copies on handmade paper, designed by Bruce Rogers, bound in modern crimson morocco, gilt, Oxford, 1935. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Jenner (Edward). <i>An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae…,</i> first edition, Printed for the Author, by Sampson Low, 1798. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Voyages.- Cook (Capt. James).- Parkinson (Sydney). <i>A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in his Majesty's Ship the Endeavour,</i> second edition, Charles Dilly...& James Phillips, 1784. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> [Clemens (Samuel Langhorne)] "Mark Twain". <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,</i> first edition, first state, New York, Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> [Voight (Hans Henning)], "Alastair". Herod, for 'Salome: Drame en un Acte', original drawing in red & black ink over pencil, [c.1922]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> James (M.R.) <i>Ghost Stories of an Antiquary,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to A.C. Benson, 1904. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Remarque (Erich Maria). <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1929. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Ashendene Press.- More (Sir Thomas). <i>A Fruteful and Pleasaunt Worke...Utopia,</i> one of 100 copies, bound in black goatskin by J.Franklin Mowery, Ashendene Press, 1906. £3,000 to £4,000.

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