• <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.
  • <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

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2022 Issue

Lost, Stolen, Forgotten Books Find Their Way Home

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Paddy Riordan returns the copy of Red Deer borrowed 84 years ago by his grandfather (Earlsdon Library Instagram photo).

There have been several stories of books that have disappeared from a collection finally making their way home recently. Those are happy ending stories, and these days, we all need some cheer. So here we go, and welcome back.

 

First up is a story of an overdue library book being returned. We hear about these cases occasionally but this one was seriously overdue, very, extremely, extraordinarily overdue. The book was Red Deer by Richard Jefferies. You may not know Jefferies but he was a popular 19th century writer of rural, animal, and nature tales. Red Deer was first published in 1884 and that edition is worth around $350 today, but it's unlikely the Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library of Coventry, U.K., had a first edition in 1938. That's when Captain William Humphries borrowed their copy of Red Deer. He borrowed the book for his daughter, Anne. The book was due on October 11, 1938, but neither the Captain nor his daughter returned it. It remained in her possession and the responsibility to return the book finally fell to the Captain's grandson and Anne's son, Paddy Riordan. He did what his ancestors failed to do and returned the book. As he explained to the BBC, “I feel I have expunged my grandfather's crime.” He said that jokingly, of course.

 

Mr. Riordan went a step further. He paid the fine. Not all of it, naturally. That would have amounted to something like $9,000. Fines build up over 84 years. Rather, he paid the library approximately $20, which would have covered the fines through the 1930s. Apparently all was forgiven and the library is not holding out for the remaining $8,980.

 

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A 400-year-old book has made its way back to the museum that once owned it, but it wasn't overdue or stolen. It had simply been sold years ago as not relevant to the institution's collection. The book is L’Histoire et Chronique de Provence, a history of Provence in France, written by César de Nostredame, son of the Nostradamus we all know. He could have foreseen this happening (it's probably written in his book somewhere if you know how to interpret it). The book was published in Lyon in 1614, the first edition.

 

You might think the owner was some library in France, but that's not even close. It's less than intuitive home is the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History. That is Danville, Virginia, U.S.A. What was it doing there? That is evidently what an earlier curator was thinking when they sold the book for $800. However, there is a story as to why it was there in the first place. The book was originally brought to Danville by two educators at Stratford College, Mabel Kennedy, college dean, and Ann Carrington Revell, the music teacher. They put together a major collection of antiquities from Europe which they gave to Stratford. They were assisted by Kennedy's brother, Hoffman (Henry) Kennedy, a New York and Paris antique dealer, in building their collection. Ms. Kennedy was dean from from 1930 until 1969, when she died, so the purchase was likely made during this time or a little before.

 

In 1974, enrollment declining, Stratford closed. At that time, some 1,000 items from Stratford's arts collection were given to the Danville Museum. Sometime after that, a decision was made to sell the book. Recently, Tina Cornely, the museum's Director, noticed a copy of the book was being offered by a bookseller in New York. She recognized it as being the Danville copy by a stain on the title page. The decision was made to buy it back, the price now being $1,900. The dealer had purchased it at a Connecticut estate auction but no more is known about where it was in the years after it left Danville. But, now it's back home and on display at the Danville museum.

 

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Here is another return of a book, but this time it is one that was stolen. A “tiny but valuable antiquarian book” that once belonged to Sir Walter Scott has been returned to the Abbotsford Library. Abbottsford was the home of Scott and is now a historic site open to the public. The book is Herman und Dorothea von Goethe by Benjamin Fischer, published in 1822. It was a gift to Sir Walter.

 

It went missing from the Abbotsford Library in 1997 or earlier. Its whereabouts was unknown until appearing in a used book store where it was sold for a fraction of its value. It was then taken to an auction house as part of an estate sale where its listing was noticed by The Rt. Hon. James Wolffe, former Lord Advocate and Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and Chairman of the Abbotsford Trust. The Advocates is a group of distinguished lawyers in Scotland.

 

Neil Mackenzie, Keeper of the Advocates Library, wrote to the auction house requesting the book be returned. According to the Advocates website, he explained, “At the beginning of this month the eagle-eyed James Wolffe KC spotted the title in a Lyon & Turnbull auction catalogue. The 200-year-old book has a handwritten addition on the flyleaf indicating that the book belonged to the Abbotsford Library, which is owned and operated by the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust. When it was pointed out to the auction house that the Trust remained the owner of the book, Lyon & Turnbull moved swiftly to withdraw it from the sale and returned it without quibble.

 

“The Trust is most grateful to Mr Wolffe, to Lyon & Turnbull, and to the executors. It is wonderful that a cultural treasure has been restored to its rightful home.”

 

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Finally, we have a story that turned out to be a false alarm. Questions arose when French President Emmanuel Macron gifted Pope Francis a first French edition of Immanuel Kant's 1796 book, On Eternal Peace. What generated the concern was a library stamp on the title page. It bore the stamp of the Academic Reading Room in Lviv. Lviv is a city in Ukraine, but prior to the Second World War it was part of Poland.

 

The concern was that the book had been looted from the then Polish library. When the Nazis invaded Poland, they took all sorts of loot, including valuable books from Polish libraries. The Russians also took took books from Poland after they invaded. Was this one of them that therefore still belonged to Lviv or Poland? The Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying, “the very fact of giving the Pope by the President of France a book with a seal indicating its origin from the collection of a pre-war Polish organisation should be preceded by detailed provenance research, excluding that the object may constitute a war loss.”

 

A detailed provenance search was made and it revealed that the book had been in France well before Germany invaded Poland. The book had been sold by Parisian bookseller Patrick Hatchuel for 2,500€. Hatchuel said it had a label from an earlier French bookseller, Lucien Bodin, who was in business in Paris roughly from 1880-1910. Hatchuel said he purchased it from the son of a collector who owned it for half a century. Libraries do at times deaccession books or will sell or trade duplicates with other libraries. That is a far less problematic explanation. Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski confirmed the legitimacy of the transaction, saying in a “tweet,” that the book “is not a Polish war loss. Contrary to some media claims ... Everything indicates the book was in France at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.”


Posted On: 2022-12-01 16:54
User Name: davereis

If there were a worldwide database of missing/stolen books and manuscripts, it would serve the antiquarian field well. Like a worldcat of missing items. Otherwise, a seller at times has no idea what they are getting themselves into.


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.

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