Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2011 Issue

The First Catalogue from Matthew David Jones, Antiquarian Bookseller

The first catalogue from Matthew David Jones.

This month we review the first catalogue from Matthew David Jones, Antiquarian Bookseller. It is appropriately named Catalog #1, Summer 2011.

This is the first venture into cataloguing for the San Francisco based bookseller and it is a welcome addition. In an era when fewer and fewer dealers ever use the printed word to sell the printed word, the traditional catalogue is a reminder of what it is that still makes books something more than digital impulses. It shares a heritage with printed books to a common ancestor - Johannes Gutenberg.

 

Jones describes his specialties as Greek and Latin classics, along with scholarly editions. These fields are well represented in the catalogue, but there is also a smattering of works from various unrelated fields to be found, including African-American literature, poetry, children's books, and even a history of the game of chess. In terms of era, there are no limits, with books offered that range from the 21st century all the way back to the early 16th. Here are a few of the items we found in this first catalogue of books from Matthew David Jones.

 

Item 54 is an early edition of what was for centuries probably the most popular work of ancient Rome, Dictorum et factorum memorabilium libri novem (Memorable deeds and words). The author was Valerius Maximus, and if his name and work don't instantly ignite widespread recognition, it is because later scholars have trashed the once extremely popular and respected writings of this otherwise obscure Roman. Valerius wrote during the first half of the first century. He was born of a poor family, but managed to obtain the patronage of a Roman diplomat. At some point along the way, he began writing his stories. They were essentially morality plays based primarily on Roman history, although some used events from ancient Greece and elsewhere. As is typical of writers of every age, right up to the present, he criticizes the debased values of the "modern" generation as compared to earlier ones. These stories were probably quite popular during Valerius' time, but perhaps their greatest recognition came many centuries later. There were more manuscript copies of his writings floating around the monasteries of Europe during the Middle Ages than there were of any other Roman writer. Even as printing turned the Dark Ages into the Era of Enlightenment, Valerius remained very popular. However, his reputation has not survived the scrutiny of later scholarship very well. Deeper examination of his writing finds that he fabricated part of his history, and was at times inconsistent. He was like Parson Weems and George Washington's cherry tree - making stuff up to make a moral point. Meanwhile, the quality of his writing also has been criticized, Jones noting it has been described as "shallow, sententious, and bombastic, full of the boldest metaphor and rhetorical devices of the Silver Age." "Tedious," "careless," "unintelligent," "ideological," and "sycophant" (towards higher officials) are other words that have been used to describe Valerius' writings. Nonetheless, his influence was widespread and significant for many centuries, and for that he remains an important if not scholarly figure. Item 54 is the third Aldine edition of his one and only work, published in 1514. Priced at $6,750.

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
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • 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

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