Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2012 Issue

Books with Important Provenance from the William Reese Company

Provenance from the William Reese Company.

The William Reese Company has released their Bulletin 24: Provenance. Provenance refers to a book's history, not the book in general, but the specific copy. Primarily, it traces who has owned the book since it began its journey off the press. For most books, provenance is unknown, and probably wouldn't make much difference if it was. For a few books, however, particularly important ones, it can be traced. If the provenance is significant, the previous owners important, it can make a book more valuable, particularly if that owner's signature, or at least a bookplate, can be found. Occasionally, the one-time owner may have a particular connection to the book, in which case the provenance can add even further to its value.

Reese notes that there are two categories of provenance to be found in this collection. One is that of persons who lived contemporaneously with the publication of the book, perhaps presented the copy or were the recipients of a presentation. The other relates to the collectors who owned it, not people connected to its publication, but great collectors who once possessed the book. Reese specializes in Americana, the field of many of these books, and herein you find the past ownership of major names, presidents and other great American leaders, and notable collectors such as Streeter, Brinley, Siebert, and Estelle Doheny. Here, then, are a few of these books, including their provenance.

Item 7 is a copy of The History and Practice of Aerostation, a 1785 book by Tiberius Cavallo, and its provenance includes two notable names. This is an account of early aeronautical studies, including the earliest balloon flights. It is no surprise that this book would have been of great interest to Benjamin Franklin, the great scientist, American diplomat, printer, and anything else he chose to be. He served as American ambassador to France during the American Revolution and early days of independence, and while there made the acquaintance of Pierre Samuel DuPont. DuPont held several posts under Louis XVI, and participated in the negotiations for the Treaty of Paris, whereby England officially recognized America's independence. Though serving under the King, DuPont was an economic liberal, writer of the book Physiocracy, which attributed national wealth to agricultural labor. It was at this time that Franklin inscribed this book to Dupont, “To Mr. DuPont de Nemours from his obliged and obedt. Servt. B. Franklin.” Much of the material in this book covers the first balloon flights by the Montgolfier Brothers in France that Franklin witnessed. A few years later, DuPont would go on to be an initial supporter of the French Revolution, but like so many others, he would get caught up in its excesses and be condemned to the guillotine. Fortunately, Robespierre would meet his fate before DuPont met his, the latter being spared. However, when his family was caught up in later rioting, they moved to the United States. DuPont became friendly with Thomas Jefferson, and served as an informal diplomat during the era of Napoleon and a supporter of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1799, he inscribed and gave this book to a cousin in Carolina as a souvenir of “BonHomme Richard.” While Pierre Samuel may not be that well known today, his last name, DuPont, is quite familiar. It was his son who founded the DuPont chemical company, one of America's largest companies today. Priced at $55,000.

Item 1 ties two of America's early presidents together with one book. The title is The Duplicate Letters, the Fisheries and the Mississippi, Documents Relating to Transactions at the Negotiation in Ghent. It was a gift from future President John Quincy Adams to past President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson and Adams' father, John Adams, had been major rivals while each served as president, but by the time this book was produced, in 1822, they had long since buried the hatchet. The younger Adams had served as a diplomat under Jefferson's successor, James Madison, and had been called back from his post in Russia to negotiate the Treaty of Ghent, the subject of this book. That was the treaty which ended the War of 1812, the last physical dispute between England and her former colonies. After receiving this gift, Jefferson wrote back to Adams expressing both his thanks and praise for the book. $65,000.

Item 32 is a Discourse, Delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1820, in Commemoration of the First Settlement of New England, and like the previous item, it too connects first and second generation American leaders. The speaker was Daniel Webster, recently elected a Congressman from Massachusetts, though already a former Congressman from New Hampshire and well-regarded lawyer. Webster would go on to be one of the giants of the senate, one of the great if not the greatest orator of his era. This speech honored the pilgrims, but even more those who participated in the American Revolution. One of those singled out for praise was John Adams. The 85-year-old Adams would read the speech and write Webster an emotional letter of praise and thanks. This copy of the speech was inscribed by Webster to Ward Boylston, a cousin of John Adams. $62,500.

Rare Book Monthly

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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
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    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Part IX
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    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.
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    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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    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.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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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.
  • Sotheby’s
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    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
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