• <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> John Adams Signed Ship's Passport, partly printed DS as president, signed “John Adams.”
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Extremely Rare James Garfield DS as President Appointing Revenue Service Agent.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Babe Ruth 1939 Cooperstown cover boldly signed — with photo.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Incredible Harry S. Truman Kansas City Auto Club sales ledger maintained by Truman!
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Important Herbert Hoover 4 pg ALS about Chinese Gold Mining.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Rare Calvin Coolidge ALS as President.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Appointment.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Ironic John Kennedy Jr. Handwritten report on why he is accident report form when he attended Collegiate School in 1975.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Katherine Bates Signed -“America! America! God shed his grace on thee.”
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Apollo 11 - Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Amassed Over Four Decades, an impressive 1100+ piece collection of entertainment and notables.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens Signed Letter and Card.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2022 Issue

Anachronistic Tormenting Little Devils, or the choice of anecdotes


Mysteries surrounding old books are little devils dedicated to tormenting us. One of them has been nagging me for a while. It emanates from a particular book (Choix d’anecdotes Américaines..., Paris) with an anachronistic title page. That’s anecdotal, of course. But you know—those little devils will drive you mad.


This is an anonymous book from the late 18th century entitled Choix d’anecdotes américaines... It is a chronological history of the New World compiled from authoritative authors like Solis, Herrera etc. My copy was apparently printed in Paris, where it was available at “all booksellers’”—which is unusual. There’s no date of printing either. To tell you the truth, there’s something fishy about this title page. Actually, it doesn’t look like an 18th century title page, but rather like a 19th century one. I held it in front of my window, and it confirmed that it was printed on laid paper—so, possibly from the 18th century. But the bold letters used by the printer do not fit in—and there’s this sub-title, reading “depuis sa découverte” (since its discovery, referring to the New World). Depuis Sa découverte? With a modern “s” instead of the obsolete “f ”? This orthographical sign disappeared at the end of the 18th century, not before. And a quick research confirmed that this book was printed in 1776. And that it was, according the record of a Catawiki sale listed on Rarebookhub.com, the “first and only edition”. While researching for the date of printing, I came across another copy of my book with the same anachronistic title page. But I also came across several other copies with a regular 18th century title page! The title itself is different, Anecdotes américaines... Plus, this other anachronistic copy comes, just like mine, with a later binding—early 19th century.


As the regular title page teaches us, Anecdotes américaines... was printed in 1776 by Philippe Vincent, a printer-bookseller located Rue des Mathurins, in Paris. He was the heir of Jacques Vincent (1671-1760), who retired in 1750 after he sold his printing house and his stock of books to his son Philippe. The sub-titles on regular copies are the same, but written as required: “depuis fa découverte”. And it mentions an “approbation and a privilege”. The rest of the book is strictly identical—same letters, same slight printing defects. It features 782 pages and it was part of a greater project that started with the success of Anecdotes françaises... (Paris, 1769). It came out anonymously but a description on Bibliorare states: “Barbier (178-179) attributes this book to Antoine Hornot.” Also known as Déjean (a nom de plume), Hornot is an obscure writer. Even the BNF website doesn’t know much about him: “The often anonymous author of various dictionaries or compilations of historical anecdotes.” Nonetheless, this is quite an entertaining book, and a cheap one if you’re fine with modest bindings.

This anachronistic title page must have been placed at the head of unsold 1776 copies at the turn of the 19th century. The BNF writes that Vincent “sold his printing house around March 30, 1779. Allegedly retired shortly afterwards. Died in Paris, April 1790.” The bookseller who bought the remaining stock probably had a new title page printed after the Révolution (1789). There was no need now to get a privilege, and the book could be sold at “all booksellers’”. Guess the printer thought that “Choix d’anecdotes américaines...” (Choice of anecdotes) was catchier than the original and simpler Anecdotes américaines... But who was he? My little research came to a dead end at this point. Have to admit that a lot of things are lost in the course of time. But sometimes, someone tries to build bridges. For instance, an anonymous reader added a moving note in my copy. He did it in the margin of the last anecdote from 1776: “On July 4, 1776, the United States proclaimed and declared their independence. These states formed a perpetual confederation on October 4, 1776. Great Britain recognized their independence in October 1782.” Just like the title page, this is a hard to date note—this is an old note, for sure. The writer writes the number “7” in an old-fashioned way (for a French, that is—he didn’t ad the transversal bar to it, just like the English do nowadays). He clearly used old dark ink with a feather. But—part of the note was originally written with a paper pencil, and then rewritten with ink. The modern version of paper pencils was invented around 1792-1795 in Europe. Unfortunately, there’s not a single sounding “s” in his note—impossible thus, to know if he was still using the obsolete ‘f’. So it could be a contemporary note. Or not, a little devil giggles.

From a dubious “s” to the invention of pencil paper, those little devils are really making fun of us. But is finding out about those details that frivolous? Maybe, especially since any little answer comes with ten more questions. But after all—and Hornot would probably agree—, isn’t the great history of mankind made of little anecdotes?

Thibault Ehrengardt

Posted On: 2022-09-01 11:14
User Name: zibi

Change of shape of the letter "s" from obsolete "?" to modern "s" probably happened earlier than stated above, at least in Germany. It can be seen on the map DUCATUS SILESIAE TABULA GEOGRAPHICA PRIMA INFERIOREM EIUS PARTEM, in the word "seu" beginning the 4th line in the title area. The map was printed in Nurnberg by Homann Heirs from plate A (with "?" in "seu") and plate B (with "s"), both dated 1745. See map no. S18-111 in Paprotny Z., Mappae Silesiae. Cartobibliography of the printed maps of Silesia 1544-1800, s.l., 2022, p.242 (the book is in Polish).
Zbigniew Paprotny

Posted On: 2022-09-01 11:20
User Name: zibi

Please note that when submitting my comment the original obsolete character resembling "f" was replaced above with the question mark.

Posted On: 2022-09-04 10:44

Hi Zibi, thanks for sharing this piece of information, which is news to me. In the vast majority of French books, the "F" seems to have disappeared around the said period... but the old books field is so vast!

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Conquest of Peru.- Cieza De León (Pedro de). <i>Parte primera de la chronica del Peru,</i> first edition, Seville, Martín de Montesdoca, 1553. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Mandeville (Sir John). <i>Tractato bellissimo delle piu maravigliose cose & piu motabile che sitrovino nelle parte delmondo,</i> Florence, [Lorenzo Morgiani], 1496-99. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Bible leaf, Latin. Single leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, [Mainz], [Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust], [c.1454/55]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Publicius (Jacobus). <i>Ars oratoria. Ars epistolandi. Ars memorativa,</i> first edition, Venice, Erhard Ratdolt, 1482. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Biblia Pauperum.- Single leaf from a blockbook Biblia Pauperum in Latin, from the Wiblingen copy of Schreiber's edition III, Netherlands, 1465. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Brazil.- Steinmann (Johan Jacob). <i>Souvenirs de Rio de Janeiro,</i> Paris, chez Rittner & Goupil, 1837. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Polo (Marco). <i>In cui si tratta le meravigliose cose del mondo per lui vedute,</i> Venice, Matteo Pagano, 1555. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Sir Joshua Reynolds' copy.- Donne (John). <i>Poems, by J.D. With elegies on the authors death,</i> the Joshua Reynolds-Philip Bliss copy of the first edition, Printed by M[iles]. F[lesher]. for Iohn Marriot, 1633. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Gilbert (William). <i>De Magnete,</i> first edition, Peter Short, 1600. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Audubon (John James). <i>The Birds of America,</i> 8 vol., New York, George R. Lockwood, [c.1889]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Pratchett (Terry). <i>The Colour of Magic,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1983. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Flaubert (Gustave). <i>Trois Contes,</i> first edition, one of 100 copies on papier de Hollande, Paris, Charpentier, 1877. £5,000 to £7,000.

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