Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2010 Issue

50 Fine Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

Fifty fine books from Bernard J. Shapero.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has issued their catalogue of 50 Fine Books 2010. Shapero often publishes catalogues of "50s," thoroughly described and illustrated collections focused on 50 notable items. With over 100 pages and numerous glossy color images for such a small number of items, you can expect they will be out of the ordinary. They are. Here are some of these latest top 50 items from Shapero Rare Books.

Item 10 is an amazing set of books for any Egyptologist or person fascinated by this land with a history longer than just about any other. It is written in French, as one might expect of a work commissioned by Napoleon: Description de l'Egypte ou recueil des observations et des reserches qui ont ete faites en Egypte pendant l'expedition de Vivant Denon, 23 volumes published from 1809-1813. Vivant Denon was a pre-Republic French diplomat who managed to escape the worst of the revolution and who focused on art and archeology after the horrors of that period ended. He was engaged in a mission to Egypt on behalf of Napoleon from 1798-1801. The French Emperor planned to colonize Egypt, and as part of that plan wanted to know everything possible about the land, from its ancient history to its natural science to its current state. The result is this massive work documenting everything this four-year mission was able to learn. Napoleon's intentions for Egypt never quite worked out as planned, but the work he ordered provided history with an enormous wealth of information about the land anyway. Priced at £115,000 (British pounds, or approximately $165,686 in U.S. currency).

Item 27 is a set of four first editions from the great 19th century Arctic explorer William Parry: Journal of a voyage for the discovery of a North-West Passage... (1821) with Journal of a second voyage... (1824), with Journal of a third voyage... (1826) along with his Narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole... (1828). Strikingly, Parry failed to reach his goal in all four missions. He never found a Northwest Passage, and he never reached the North Pole. Nonetheless, he is remembered as a great and brave explorer, coming closer to reaching his goals than anyone before him, and there would be many more failed attempts before these goals were finally achieved almost a century later. Parry went as far west as he could in seeking the passage, and his farthest point west would later be viewed by a mission heading west to east, though the route was blocked by ice. It established that there was a passage unblocked by land, though it would take warmer weather to make it passable. As for his North Pole mission, while not reaching the pole, Parry traveled farther north than anyone before him nor for half a century after. £8,000 ($11,512).

Here is the collection of another explorer who completed three voyages to the same place. Well, not entirely the same place, as James Cook visited different locations on his three voyages, but each was a journey from England to the Pacific Rim and islands. Along the way he did much of the mapping of Australia, determined there was no massive southern continent, discovered Hawaii, and surveyed the west coast of North America. And, like Parry, he unsuccessfully sought to find the Northwest Passage. Offered is a set of second editions of the official accounts of the three voyages, including the illustration of Cook's death in the third volume, along with a first edition of Andrew Kippis' A voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Item 11. £37,500 (US $54,067).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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