Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2003 Issue

The Historical Auction Series No.1 The Henry C. Murphy Sale March 3-March 8, 1884

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Here’s a brief snapshot from the same auction catalogue introduction as to Mr. Murphy’s bibliophile collection(s) and his interest(s): ….[in adition to being a published author and one mentioned by Stiles, that great chronicler of Brooklyn],
“It is well to state further and more particularly that in general geography, voyages, travels, the [Murphy’s] library is unusually large, and comprises the collections of Hakluyt, Purchas, Grynaeus, Thevenot, Commelin, Abelyn, and Ternaux-Compans….Of the early editions of Ptolmey’s Cosmographia, the collection is not surpassed in the United States….Besides these are the works of other noted geographers, as Strabo, Pomponious Mela, Abulfeda, Edrisi, Aplan, Ortellus, Mercator, [and others]…New France and Canada are conspicuous…..New Netherland, embracing portions of New York and New Jersey, is probably the most complete of any department. Mr. Murphy was learned in the Dutch language and literature, and no book or pamphlet that related directly or indirectly to the Dutch and Swedish settlements in North America is not to be found in the collection.”
The introduction goes on to list many more areas in which the Murphy Sale Collection and Catalogue are complete or nearly complete, including “Works relating to New York; New England; Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Florida, and Louisiana; Indian Dictionaries and Vocabularies; early Spanish and Dutch writers; and miscellaneous subjects relating to Americana and the Americas.” (ibid.)

As for his books, they are the fitting companion to an exceptional life. Here are some of the highlights, drawn from the sales details and infused with the wistfulness and import of our modern point of view (prices are all hammer prices at the 1884 sale):

Jesuit Relations. , n.d., $3,600; DeBry, Collectiones Peregrinationum in Indian Orientalism…1540-1684, $1,785; Eliot, John, Mamusse Wunnectupanatamne…, 1685, $950; Columbus, Epistola Christofori Colom…, 1493, $850.

Today a Columbus Letter will bring close to seven figures, the Jesuit Relations $400,000+ and a complete set of DeBry a very high price for a complete set.

Because Mr. Murphy was one of the founders of the newspaper The Brooklyn Eagle, it is not surprising that the sale of his library earned day by day coverage and page one placement in that periodical. It was of course interesting news and in some sense a celebration of his life. And other newspapers covered the sale as well. The New York Times, though not yet the paper that is respected today, provided coverage as did The New York Herald Tribune. Whether his name was news or the library was the news is less certain. But the printed galleys remain to help us remember the event.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> BENNETT, Lieut. William Pyt (d. in action, 1916). AN IMPORTANT AND APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED SERIES OF GELATIN SILVER PHOTOGRAPHS OF LHASA AND TIBET TAKEN DURING THE CELEBRATED YOUNGHUSBAND MISSION OF 1904. $60,000 to $80,000
  • <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.

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