Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2008 Issue

Booking Diversity

Chinared

The East is Red specializes in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.


By Karen Wright

Diversity! It's a word that is bandied about all the time nowadays in regards to people, music, and food. In February, at the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print and Paper Fair, it was the name of the game in books. In our eighteen years in the book business, I don't believe we have seen a more diverse or interesting conglomeration of books and booksellers.

Where to start, where to start? The weather was so perfect that it was hard to go indoors, but once we did, we began with Booth 100, PBA Galleries, to see if my pal, Justine Berkeley, was there. She was out, so we trekked on. There were booksellers from Tokyo, Japan, Oxford, England, Hay on Wye, UK, Amsterdam, China, and pretty much everywhere in between, including, of course, lots of California book dealers. There were manuscripts that were hundreds of years old adjacent to wonderful, tawdry, pulp fiction paperbacks. There were books on modern thought and philosophy next door to botany and cooking. I saw books about cowboys, Indians, and bad guys keeping company with Judaica, House at Pooh Corner, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, natural history and science, and beautifully illustrated kiddie lit. Alaskan and Native American art books were snugged up with science fiction and French manuscripts, and Victorian fashions were hand-in-glove with illuminated religious texts, historic photographs, and books as art. There seemed no end to the diversity of it all. If you can think of a type of book you like, it was probably there.

It would take a lot of space to name and talk about all the great folks we met and the books we saw, so I will give you some highlights. My husband and I were first attracted to the booths that had books of the type we sell in our store, but we are also very visually-oriented people, so next we most enjoyed booths with lots of color or proprietors who had taken the time to make them attractive or eye-catching. The prize, to my way of thinking this time, went to The East is Red. Dwight McWethy, "The Chairman", has lived in China for many years and has been collecting Mao-phenalia since right after the Mao takeover, or as he put it, "We specialize in rare and collectible books, posters and other artifacts from the Chinese Cultural Revolution (c. 1966-1976.)" The poster of two Mongolian ponies and their riders was truly a work of art. I wanted it SO much!

Another really nifty bookstore was Handsome Books. They specialize in elaborate, decorative publisher's bindings and Press Books from the 19th and early 20th centuries with lots of Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Arts and Crafts tomes. Similarly, John Windle of San Francisco had some amazing color plate books and children's books. Oh, dang, I wish I were really, really rich!

Because I was a botany major in college I carry a lot of books related to that subject in my own store. I was fascinated by the various botanical books and prints we found in many of the booths, but most particularly those of Robert Berg Antiquariat from Regensburg, Germany, and Eugene Vigil of Antiquariat Botanicum from Lynden, Washington. The exquisite, colorful plates made me want to go in debt up to my ears, but I knew I would never have the heart to resell them, so I slapped my hands and continued to wend my way up and down aisles until I had seen most of the 200 booths and chatted with some of the booksellers. I found several really nice western history bargains for my store at Eric Stetson Books from Flagstaff, Arizona, but more than anything else I just feasted my eyes on the delicious selections.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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