Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

Polar Books and Ephemera from Aquila Books

Aquila112

Books from the polar regions.

Aquila Books has released its first catalogue of 2012, Catalogue 112 or Winter 2012. It has been a couple of years since their last, so this will be a welcome sight for those who collect all places cold. Aquila's specialty is the polar regions, places few if any humans inhabit. In other words, most of these books are about travels and voyages, as people generally reach these places strictly to explore. The common thread that runs through the expeditions is hardship, climates so unpleasant it is a wonder anyone goes there. Still, they go. Fortunately, we can read about their adventures from the warmth and safety of our homes. It is much more pleasant this way.

We will start with a trilogy of books from Arctic and polar explorer Frederick Cook, one of the more interesting individuals to trek through the ice. Cook was a brave explorer whose claims came to be questioned, and eventually just plain disbelieved. The numbers just didn't add up. We first read about Cook in the Belgian expedition of the late 19th century. Cook wrote about it in Through the First Antarctic Night 1898-1899, published in 1900. Cook was the surgeon, and he was credited with saving many lives. One of his admirers from that journey, even through troubled later times, was Roald Amundsen, who would be the first to reach the South Pole a dozen years later. Item 28 is a first British edition of Cook's account. Priced at $1,500.

We next hear of Cook in two attempts to scale Mt. McKinley in Alaska. He traveled to the area in 1903 and 1906, and claimed to have reached the top on his second expedition. He published his claims in 1908 in his book To the Top of the Continent... The First Ascent of Mt. McKinley. Few questioned the veracity of his claims at the time. That would come after a protracted dispute with Robert Peary over who first reached the North Pole. Cook's questionable claim about reaching the pole would lead to a reexamination of his claim to reaching the top of McKinley. Suffice it to say that later examinations of his photographs and maps, and statements by others on his journey, have made the basic premise of this book questionable. Item 28. $675.

Cook's veracity would come into serious question as a result of the assertions found in his 1911 book, My Attainment of the Pole. Charts, timing, and testimony by the two Inuits who accompanied him led most people to believe that Cook's claim was mistaken if not fabricated. His assertion was challenged by Robert Peary, who also claimed to be first to reach the North Pole, though his asserted date was later than that of Cook. Peary's claims are generally accepted, Cook's not, though Peary's claim has also come under serious challenge in more recent years. Item 27 is a scarce first edition of Cook's account. $950.

If Peary's claim is true, then Matthew Henson was co-first man to reach the North Pole, as he accompanied Peary all the way to the end of the trail. However, Henson, unlike Peary, was given little credit for his achievement. Nor did Henson's account, published in 1912, sell many copies. The title explains Henson's problem: A Negro Explorer at the North Pole. In 1912, few people were willing to give a black man much credit for anything, so while Peary received much adulation, Henson received almost none. Nonetheless, Henson was the one man that Peary trusted enough to accompany him all the way to the North Pole (assuming, of course, he actually reached that destination). Item 48. $4,000.

Roald Amundsen had also thought of attempting to be first to the North Pole, but after Cook and Peary's claims, he concluded he was too late. He turned south, making his assault on the South Pole. The Norwegian explorer found himself in competition with British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, but Amundsen's better preparation, and head start, enabled him to reach the South Pole first. He was careful to avoid the controversy experienced by Cook and Peary by carefully charting his route, and leaving evidence at his destination. Amundsen's account is undisputed. While it was published shortly after his return in 1912, it was not until 2010 that the first edition of his diaries was published. Item 3 is The Roald Amundsen Diaries: The South Pole Expedition 1910-1912. Amundsen kept a daily diary of his voyage to Antarctica, setting up time, and overland trip to the pole and back, making this an exciting, as it happened account. $45.

Here is a rare item that will appeal to all those who like auto travel. It is a privately printed piece pertaining to the most challenging long road in North America, the Alaska Highway. The highway, over 1,500 miles in length, was built in a rush during the Second World War. The idea was to be able to provide supplies to Alaska, thought at some risk to the Japanese, though it is hard to imagine why they would have wanted Alaska. For those who wonder why it can take years to fix a street in your town, you may be amazed by the feat of the engineers and workers in constructing this long highway through difficult terrain and a long, brutal winter in just 18 months. Of course, this was not a modern superhighway. Most was unpaved until many years later. Still it provided a connection from where the roads previously ended in British Columbia, through the Yukon and into Alaska, where it connected to other previously existing roads. Item 2 is titled Lower Post or Freeze 340th Engineer Regiment on the Alaska Military Highway 1942-1943, published in 1944. It was printed in a small number of copies for the engineering regiment, no copies being offered for sale. It is marked with a sticker, “Warning to Receiving Party Due to Censorship restrictions, this book can not be sent out of the United States.” Someone ignored this warning as it is now being sold by a Canadian bookseller. $525.

Aquila Books may be reached at 403-282-5832 or Aquila@Aquilabooks.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 47. Roosevelt, Theodore. Photograph inscribed to Morris J. Hirsch. May 7th 1918. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 178. Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York: [Printed for the author], 1955. First edition in the first issue binding. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 38. Mather, Cotton. <i>Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England.</i> London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 55. Taylor, Zachary. Autograph letter signed as President-Elect. Baton Rouge: January 15, 1849. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. Picasso, Pablo. <i>Verve</i> Vol. V, Nos. 19-20. Paris: Editions Verve, 1948. Inscribed on the title page by Picasso. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 211. Domergue, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ete a Monte Carlo. Lithographed poster, Lucien Serre & Cie, Paris, circa 1937. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 105. Manuscript Illumination attr. to Neri da Rimini. Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated. [Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 40. McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, James. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs.</i> Philadelphia: Rice, Rutter & Co., 1870. $3,00
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 222. Searle, Ronald. [Pets--a dog, cats and a parrot-- surrounded by books, and inspecting a globe, perhaps planning global domination]. Original drawing, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 inches. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 98. Faden, William; Scull, Nicholas and George Heap. A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, Survey'd by N. Scull and G. Heap. London: William Faden, 12 March 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <i>Der Sturm.</i> 1922. Sold October 2021 for € 13,000.
    Diophantus Alexandrinus, <i>Arithmeticorum libri sex.</i> 1670. Sold October 2021 for € 18,000.
    <i>Cozzani Ettore e altri, l’Eroica. Tutto il pubblicato.</i> Sold October 2021 for € 11,000.
    Newton Isaac, <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> 1714. Sold October 2021 for € 7,500.
    Manetti Saverio, <i>Storia naturale degli uccelli.</i> 1767-1776. Sold April 2021 for € 26,000.
  • <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. Carolina Parrot. Plate 26. Hand-colored aquatint and engraved plate from Audubon's <i>Birds of America.</i> $80,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Francisco Henrique Carls. [Album de Pernambuco e seus Arrabaldes]. Fifty-three chromolithographed plates of landscape, town views and more of the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Captain Thomas Davies, after. Group of 5 engraved topographical scenes of North American waterfalls. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> William R. Morley. Morley's Map of New Mexico. Large lithographed pocket map with original hand-color in outline. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Frederick William Beechey, et al. <i>The Zoology of Captain Beechey's Voyage; Compiled from the Collections and Notes Made by Captain Beechey…</i> $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> ZUDA ROKASHI (Priest Hotan.) Nansenbushu Bankoku Shoka No Zu. Woodblock wall map of the world on 16 sheets joined. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> Latin Book of Hours, Langres around 1490. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>T. Livius, <i>Römische Historien,</i> 1533. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>G. Mendel, <i>Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden,</i> 1865-66. Est: €30,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>A. Verard, Book of Hours, around 1488. Est: €30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>A. Ortelius, <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1601. Est: €80,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br><i>Der Sturm,</i> 1910-1916. Est: €16,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> <i>Cronica van der hilliger Stat Coellen,</i> 1499. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>M. Catesby, <i>Piscium serpentum insectorum,</i> 1777. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>W. Grohmann, <i>Das Werk Ernst Ludwig Kirchners,</i> 1926. Est: €20,000
    <b><center> Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on November 29th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>P. Borgo, <i>Aritmetica mercantile,</i> 1491. Est: €16,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b><br>D. Roberts, <i>Egypt and Nubia,</i> 1846-49. Est: €8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, Nov. 29:</b> <i>Estampes,</i> with the suite by P. Picasso, 1950. Est: €15,000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Zang Tumb Tuuum:<br>la révolution futuriste<br>Online Auction<br>30 November – 7 December</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 18:</b> The "Official Edition" of the United States Constitution and the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution, 1787. $15,000,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. I Paroliberi Futuristi. 1914-1915. 8 p. Unique corrected proofs, for an anthology that remained unpublished. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Studenti in Lettere. Università. 1915. Seminal work, featured in 3 historical futurist exhibitions. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Chiaro di luna. Circa 1915. Collage and gouache on paper. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Manicure. Faire les ongles à l'Italie. Circa 1915. A fantastic parody of an advertising poster. €20,000 to €30,000.

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