Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2004 Issue

More from the Library of H.P. Kraus<br>At Oak Knoll Books

Part two of The Reference Library of H.P. Kraus.


By Michael Stillman

Oak Knoll Books
has just issued the second part of its catalogue "From the Reference Library of H.P. Kraus." H.P. Kraus was the legendary New York bookseller who developed one of the largest private reference libraries ever assembled, many times the stock of the books he actually had for sale. Mr. Kraus died in 1988, and after his wife passed away last year, his inventory and reference material was put up for sale at auction. Oak Knoll, being a specialist in reference and bibliography, bought a large part of that material, which it is now offering for sale.

Not all of the items in this catalogue came from the H.P. Kraus library, as Oak Knoll has augmented the collection with related titles. However, books from the Kraus library do include a loose bookplate indicating the provenance. There are many works in French and German as well as English as Kraus always had an orientation to his native Europe. As the collection offered is quite extensive, with almost a thousand titles in this second part of the catalogue alone, we will limit our examples to one very targeted subject alone. What better topic to focus on than Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press and the world's first publisher?

The first book Gutenberg printed was hardly new, its age already being measured in millennia when it rolled off his press in 1454 or 1455. We use the terms "rolled off" loosely as it took several years to complete the printing and production of 180 bibles, but even that was about 180 times the speed of the average scribe. It is believed that around 50 of those copies survive complete or substantially complete.

When George Hibbert, a successful British merchant retired to live in the country in 1829, he put his huge collection up for sale at auction. There were 8,726 items in total, including a paper copy of the Gutenberg Bible. The auction lasted 42 days, and when completed, brought in a total of around £23,000. Item 903 is the Catalogue of the Library of George Hibbert, a copy with admitted faults. Priced at $95.

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
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
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    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Starting 10AM CST
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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