Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

Old West Books from Old West Books


Two books about Tiburcio Vasquez.

Item 12 is a biography of Custer, but not George Armstrong: Elizabeth. A Biography of the Girl Who Married General George Armstrong Custer… Ruth Painter Randall's book was published in 1966. Elizabeth Custer was a remarkable woman. Devoted beyond the call of duty to her man, she spent her 50+ years of widowhood restoring the good name of her husband, which had been severely damaged by that altercation at Little Big Horn. $50.

Some thought of him as a Robin Hood, though it's not clear that he gave much of his bounty to the poor. Item 219 is the Life and Career of Tiburcio Vasquez The Bandit and Murderer… by Eugene Sawyer, published in 1875. Young Jose Lopez had been involved in the death of a constable when he was 18 years old. He escaped to California's mountains, where he changed his name to Tiburcio Vasquez and took up stealing horses. He was caught and imprisoned several times, but always got out, either through escape or serving his time. However, in time he moved up to more serious crimes, such as robbing stagecoaches, until one day, three bystanders were killed in one of his robberies. Vasquez was off to the hills again, and he might have survived his crimes, but could not survive his indiscretions. One of the members of his gang caught Vasquez messing around with his wife and turned him in. For nine days, Vasquez held court in the local jail, receiving perhaps hundreds of visitors. A play was written about him. However, celebrity status didn't do him much good for long. He was shipped north for trial, convicted, and hanged. Sawyer was a local journalist who interviewed Vasquez extensively as well as relatives and other acquaintances. $3,500.

Item 169 is another book about Vasquez, perhaps embellished with a bit more fiction, by San Francisco Chronicle reporter George Beers who accompanied the posse that tracked the criminal down: Vasquez or the Hunted Bandits of the San Joaquin, published in 1875. $4,500.

Old West Books may be reached at 719-260-6030 or oldwestbooks@earthlink.net. Their website is www.oldwestbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

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