Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2011 Issue

Travels and Voyages from Maggs Bros.

Maggs1444

Travels & Voyages from Maggs Bros.

Maggs Bros. Ltd. of London has issued the latest in their long-running series of catalogues, number 1444, entitled Travels & Voyages. These are accounts mostly of 17th to 19th century voyages, from the Age of Discovery. With a few exceptions (such as America's Wilkes expedition) they emanated from Europe, and from there spread around the world. Maggs has divided the catalogue by destination, ranging from the Americas to Africa, Near and Far East, Australia and the Pacific, and the Arctic and Antarctica. These are the books that informed people at home about what lay beyond the horizon at a time when knowledge and understanding of far off places was limited at best. Here are some of the 227 items being offered.

 

One of the great mysteries for Europeans began at the other side of the Mediterranean - the source of the river Nile. Everyone knew where it ended, but it took centuries for Europeans to discern where it began. John Speke and an unbelieving Richard Burton would find it in the 1860s, but the most significant attempt prior to that came almost a century earlier. That adventure is described by explorer James Bruce in Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768...1773, published in 1790. Bruce did make his way up to the source of the Blue Nile, but most people regard the White Nile as the true source of the river, hence it taking another century to answer the mystery. £4,500 (British pounds or roughly $7,000 in U.S. dollars).

 

Item 128 is a letter from Lord Joseph Banks to Lord Monbaddo concerning the 18th century English curiosity "Peter the Wild Boy." Peter was not from far away. He was discovered in the woods of Germany and taken back to England. Peter walked on all fours, ate vegetation found in the woods, and did not speak a word in any language. Indeed, he was brought back to England in 1726 and survived to the age of about 70 without ever learning to speak. By the time of this letter, 1782, Europe had become fascinated with the concept of the "noble savage" from far off lands - people uneducated but filled with great insights and values. Peter was none of this. He had no great thoughts, and introduction to "civilization" brought out no inner depth. However, Monboddo, one of the early pre-evolutionists, was fascinated by Peter. Monboddo believed that language was the key to a sort of intellectual evolution of humans. He believed humans started more ape-like, but language enabled them to develop. Peter might be something of an example of an earlier stage. Banks, who had traveled to far off lands on Cook's first journey, was having none of this, at least with regards to Peter. He thought Peter was just some idiot child whose parents had dumped in the woods because he was difficult to handle. Nonetheless, he here tries to help Monboddo with his research. Still, his cynicism towards stories about Peter comes through as he comments, "No extract from newspapers however carefully written will induce me to believe that a human being can exist at all upon leaves & moss while the anatomical structure of the stomack & digestive organs teach me to consider it as impossible…" Priced at £2,500 (US $3,900).

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions