Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

The Bookseller's Cabinet from Jeff Weber Rare Books

Weber163

A Gutenberg leaf on the cover of Jeff Weber's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Jeff Weber Rare Books has published their catalogue #163: Bookseller's Cabinet. There is much to be found on a variety of subjects in Weber's cabinet. Listed topics include early printed books, literature, Americana and the West, art and architecture, bibliography and fine printing, travel, archeology and cartography. Here are some of the titles to be found on the shelf.

We will start at the beginning of the catalogue, item 1, as it represents the beginning of books. It is a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed book, which came off the press in (or close to) 1455. The leaf can be seen on the cover of this catalogue. The printing was a mammoth undertaking that left Gutenberg broke, and would do the same for anyone who attempted to buy a complete copy today (no complete Gutenberg has been sold in over three decades). Around 180 were printed. Just under 50 are known to survive, with fewer than half of these complete. While Gutenberg and his press in Mainz, Germany, were alone in 1455, by the end of the century, there were several hundred print shops around Europe. The technology spread rapidly, changing how people communicated for over 500 years, no real alternative developing until… a few years ago? The page here offered is taken from the Book of Samuel. Priced at $85,000. By the way, a complete Gutenberg contains 636 leaves, which would imply a value of $54 million for a complete copy. Hard to know, as we are unlikely to see another copy on the market any time soon.

An inscribed first edition of Gone With The Wind is a costly item (though not like a Gutenberg), but here is a reasonable alternative. Item 46 is Eo Vento Levou, the Brazilian first edition of this classic. This first was published in 1940. It's hard to imagine what Brazilians who read this book thought typical Americans were like. This copy has been inscribed by author Margaret Mitchell to the Atlanta Historical Society. This society would be a logical recipient of a gift from Miss Mitchell as her father had once been its president, but why a copy in Portuguese is unclear. It apparently was never read. $1,750.

Item 51 is another great piece of American literature, a first edition of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939. There is no need to describe the book's contents, as you almost surely are familiar with it. Instead, we will describe its condition, or better yet, let Weber describe it: "This copy…is the finest copy anyone has ever seen… For any collector of John Steinbeck's books, this copy is the apotheosis and would be a crown jewel of their collection." Steinbeck collectors take heed! The description applies to book and dust jacket alike. $10,000.

Keeping one wife happy can be a great challenge to man. If you have 55, you are almost certain to have a few who are displeased. Probably the least happy of Brigham Young's wives was Ann Eliza Young, who two years after her divorce in 1873 published Wife No. 19, The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Expose of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy. Evidently Ann Eliza was not easy to please as she divorced her other two husbands too. The accuracy of her title is also in question, as she has also been calculated to be wife number 27 or wife number 52 (there is some question as to how many of Young's "marriages" were really considered as such). She was certainly a latter day wife, marrying him in 1869 when Young was 67 and she was 24. As this book attests, Ann Eliza became a spokesperson against polygamy and for women's rights, as well as being a vocal critic of the Mormon Church, which excommunicated her. Item 231. $225.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions