Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2006 Issue

Learning from a Printing History We Can See


Munsell considered this of enduring significance.

I also categorize the material by subject. This is treacherous but I expect ultimately useful. Munsell's printing was decidedly local and often mundane. There are no Gutenberg Bibles here although interspersed with obsequies are such items as "Stories of the Early Settlers in the Wilderness,..." [Priest], "Report on the Phrenological Classification of J. Stanley Grimes" and "A Treatise on Roads, their History, Character and Utility..." The categories I employ are: local, science, almanac, history, education and periodical. They are not chiseled in stone.

A spreadsheet of these two decades is attached. 1830's and 1840's

The first impression that emerges is that the number of pages accurately predicts survival. There is also a rising survival rate by decade. In the 1830's, for pamphlets up to 16 pages, a single copy survives for every 500 printed and in the 1840's 1 for every 416. Pamphlets printed by Munsell in the 1830's, with from 17 to 71 pages, survive at the rate of 1 for every 232 printed. In the 1840's the survival rate improves to 1 in 172. When the page count reaches or exceeds 72 the survival rate for material printed in the 1830's is 1 in 149, in the 1840's 1 in 78. All other issues aside size is a clear predictor of survival.

Survival Rates By Page Count
1-16 pgs1 in 5041 in 419
17-71 pgs1 in 2301 in 172
72+pgs1 in 1501 in 78

Classifying material by category should be useful but isn't so far.

1830's Material By Category1840's Material By Category
1-16pgs17-71pgs72+pgs 1-16pgs17-71pgs72+pgs
local1 in 4921 in 1441 in 100 local1 in 5851 in 1201 in 118
Science1 in 10601 in 153 Science1 in 401 in 2641 in 87
Almanac 1 in 500 Almanac 1 in 2636
History 1 in 6521 in 103 History1 in 231 in 1511 in 20
Periodical 1 in 750 Periodical 1 in76
Education 0 in 2000 Education1 in 400 1 in 94
Literature Literature1 in 10001 in 2111 in 646

There are two obvious problems. The total number of items for these two decades is less than 300. Dividing into two decades and so many categories isn't practical yet. When I add the 1850's and 1860's the number of applicable items will increase to almost a thousand and the statistics should make more sense. The other issue of course is that I have certainly mischaracterized some of the material. Hence the categories will certainly change and the characterizations as well and with these changes and an increasing number of records more will be known.

For the moment this is simply a work in progress.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> MITCHELL, John (1711-1768). A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. Copperplate engraving with original hand color. London, 1755. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Brown Pelican (Standing), Plate 251. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $175,000 to $225,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: 1827-1838. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545 - 1618). <i>The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China…</i> London, 1588. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623-1688). [World Map] Kun-Yu Ch'uan-Tu. Engraved twelve sheet map with vertical sections joined to form six sheets. Korea, Seoul, c. 1860. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> SANGGI, Chong (1678-1752). Korean Atlas. Manuscript map on mulberry bark paper. C. 1750-1790. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Plate 66. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AKERMAN, Anders (1721-1778). & AKREL, Frederik (1779-1868). Pair of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Stockholm, c. 1800. 23 inch diameter, each. $60,000 to $100,000.

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