Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2010 Issue

Some Interesting Items Appear At Auction

Floydrisvold1932

Floyd Risvold in 1932.


One of his items was an absolutely fascinating, and telling letter from John Adams to Vice-President Elbridge Gerry. Written in response to Gerry's inquiry about the office, Adams let loose with a tirade. It's interesting, as the letter was written in 1813, after Adams had rekindled his friendship with Jefferson and we thought he had become a bit more mellow.

Adams particularly goes after France, and those who were enamored of its revolution in the early days. He speaks of the French Revolution as "a gigantic Infant begotten by Folly, midwife into the world by Madness, nurtured by Atheism, Deism, and every Species of Vice and Wickedness." An interesting take, since many at the time considered Jefferson a Deist. He claims that Antifederalists labeled him a "MONARCHIST," and then goes on to say of his rivals, "Hamilton, Knox, Jefferson, Madison Duer &c were jealous of too close an Intimacy between Washington and me. We were watched by green Eyed Jealousy on every side." However, he goes on to relay a story where Washington, apparently tilting toward a treaty with the French, takes Adams for a private walk in New York to solicit his views. Adams responds with a lengthy eight-point explanation of why America should not sign a treaty with France. From Washington, all he gets is a brief thanks for his advice and as they walk past a spot, Washington comments, "Here is the place where they peppered Us" (referring to the Battle of Haarlem Heights during the Revolution). Even after all of these years from power, the anger and hurt still burned within Adams, a complicated and conflicted man, a great patriot who made a few terrible errors. His letter sold for $184,100.

Risvold had numerous Mormon-related pieces in his collection, including this letter from Olive Grey Frost to her uncle, Col. Joshua Grey. Frost and most of her immediate family were followers of the Mormon Church, and she was a plural wife to both Joseph Smith and (after he died) Brigham Young. Both marriages were very short, to Smith because he was killed a few months later, and to Young because she died a few months after the marriage at age 28. The letter is written from Nauvoo, Illinois, where the followers lived at the time (March, 1844). Frost is clearly earnest in her beliefs, though she understands her uncle may be skeptical. Writes Frost, "...you will perhaps say that we are all a deluded people and our Prophet a false Prophet. But dear uncle it is not so, this is the work of God... Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I also sent you a Book of Mormon. A coppy from the records that Joseph Smith found which were hid up by a people who peopled this continant years before it were discovered by Columbus and Christ appeared to this and that Book is a record of that people. We read in palmns that truth should spring out of the Earth &c &c This may seem strong to you but I ashour you it is the truth of heaven." The letter sold for $69,100.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rackham (Arthur). The Old Hag Standing Outside a Cottage, original drawing, signed by the artist, [c.1909]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first printing, signed by the author, original pictorial wrappers, 1997. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Castiglione (Giuseppe, after). Twelve plates from <i>Twenty views of the European Palaces of the Yuanming yuan,</i> 1783-1786. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Antiphonal.- Antiphonal manuscript, [Spain], ca. 1650. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Almanach de Gotha.- Almost complete run 1769 to 1945, 12mo & 8vo, Gotha, C.W. Ettinger [- Justus Perthes]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Bible, Greek.- New Testament [Greek], Novum Iesu Christi D.N. testamentum, ex bibliotheca regia, 2 parts in one, Robert Estienne, Paris, 1550. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Lithgow (William). <i>The Total Discourse of the rare Adventures… from Scotland, to the most famous kingdoms in Europe, Asia, and Affrica…,</i> woodcut illustrations, 4to, I. Oakes, 1640. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Interest.-16th -18th Century. Large collection of letters related to prominent members of the Spanish court and clergymen,; v.s., late 16th-mid 18th century. £1,800 to £2,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Darwin (Charles). <i>The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex,</i> 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, first issue8vo, John Murray, 1871. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Loewy (Raymond) ARR. Mickey Mouse, original gouache and air brush illustration of Mickey Mouse, signed by artist., n.p. [1946]. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Potter (Beatrix) & Sendak (Maurice). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> NUMBER 2 OF 250 SIGNED COPIES, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY SENDAK, New York, 1995. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Wolstenholm (Jonathan) ARR. Books on Books, original watercolor, signed and dated by the artist, 2005.
  • <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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