Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

Islands from Helen R. Kahn

Islands from Helen R. Kahn.


By Michael Stillman

Helen R. Kahn and Associates have released their 79th catalogue: Islands. If you are thinking tropical paradise, perhaps they are, but more often not. Many items do pertain to Caribbean and Pacific islands, though conditions were perhaps a bit less idyllic in the days before Club Med. Natives weren't always friendly, many were used to produce crops on the back of slave labor, and often these islands were the subject of fighting between European powers. This just describes the islands with the potential to be paradise. Other islands can be found in places like the Arctic, where there are no warm beaches or cocktail hours, and other islands are so heavily populated it's hard to think of them as just an island, such as Japan. Let's open the pages and take a look at where some of these islands can be found.

We will start with one of the more pleasant journeys to visit numerous South Sea islands. It is A Voyage Around the World… In the Years 1766…1769. This is a first English edition (1772) of the voyage by the French explorer "Lewis" (Louis-Antoine) de Bougainville. Bougainville was sent to first turn over possession of the chilly Falkland Islands off of South America to the Spanish, but then traveled around the Horn and off to the South Pacific. He visited many islands, including Tahiti, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands, and his account did much to create the image of the "noble savage" in Europe. Bougainville's successful journey was the first circumnavigation by a French expedition. Item 12. Priced at $8,250.

Now here is one of those thoroughly awful island voyages: The Voyage of the Jeannette, the ship and ice journals of George W. De Long. Edited by his wife, Emma De Long, a first American edition published in 1884. This was an exploration commissioned by the U.S. Navy, intended to find a route to the North Pole. It set out from San Francisco in 1879, but the ship got trapped in ice in the Bering Sea and the men had to escape in three small boats. Only one of the boats was rescued. A second was lost at sea, while the third, carrying De Long, made it to the Siberian coast. Unfortunately, there was no one there to greet them, and outside of two men sent off to find help, the men who made it Siberia all died awaiting rescue. That is why De Long's notes, when later found, had to be edited by his wife, who also used accounts of some of the survivors to present the story of this tragic journey. Item 23. $1,200.

There is a certain amount of irony to item 6: The Canary Islands. Their History, Natural History, and Scenery. An Account of an Ornithologist's Camping Trips in the Archipelago. This ornithologist's work includes much on the birdlife of the islands, which many would think quite appropriate for the "Canary" Islands. However, the islands were not named for canaries or any other sort of birds. They were named for dogs (think "canine"), which are, for whatever reason, highly esteemed on the islands. The author of this 1922 book was David Bannerman. $350.

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
  • 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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions