Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

Maritime Books and Ephemera from Ten Pound Island Book Co.

Tenpound193

Ten Pound's post-last catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Ten Pound Island Book Company has issued its Maritime List 193, subtitled I Know, I Know... That strange title is easily explainable if you saw their last catalogue. In it, owner Greg Gibson announced that it would be their last printed catalogue. Production costs no longer justified sales, so as a result, there would be no more, only internet catalogues. That was three months ago. Now, Ten Pound is tacking 180 degrees starboard, or whatever it is nauticians say when they make a U-turn. If Mr. Gibson ever retires from bookselling, I foresee a wonderful career in politics. So here are some selections from whatever that catalogue is called which comes after the final one.

Item 27 is a humanitarian exception from the War of 1812. The U.S. had no navy to speak of to counter British shipping. To make up for it, the government licensed private ships to harass British shipping and confiscate their cargoes. This piracy with a license was known as privateering. However, two exceptions were made, and item 27 is one of those. Headed Additional Instruction, it is a broadside stating that public and private vessels of the U.S. "are not to interrupt any British unarmed vessels bound to Sable Island, and laden with supplies for the humane establishment at that place." It came by command of the President, though it is signed (in print) by Secretary of State James Monroe. Sable Island is a small Atlantic Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British had opened up a life saving station there as shipwrecks were numerous in the area. Scouts would scour the beach for survivors while providing food and medical care for them until irregularly arriving vessels could provide rescue. Evidently, President Madison considered this a sufficiently worthy cause to protect those who supplied the island. The life saving station was closed about half a century ago, and Sable Island is now noted more for its wild horses and scientific observatory. Priced at $950.

Item 1 is a useful book, A Vocabulary of Sea Phrases and Terms of Art Used in Seamanship... by "A Captain of the British Navy." We presume this is a book of terms like "keel" and "jib," rather than the four-letter varieties sailors are noted for speaking. Published in 1799. $500.

It makes sense to be firm, even tough on crime, but sometimes we can go a bit overboard, to use another nautical expression. Item 68 consists of two manuscript letters and a petition from one John Russell in 1835. The Englishman Russell had been sentenced to transportation, that is, exile in the penal colony in Australia. It was a long arduous trip followed a life sentence of isolation on the other side of the world. Russell's high crimes? He stole a fruit pie and two dishes. Russell's two letters were written to his mother and father, where he seeks their help in obtaining clemency. He points out that he is of good character, had no previous criminal record, and he thought the pie incident was part of a joke being played on a friend. His pleas were to no avail. Mr. Russell was transported. $1,750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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