Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2012 Issue

Exceptional Material from Donald Heald Rare Books

Fine Books and Mansucripts.

Donald Heald Rare Books has issued A Selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts. These truly are fine books, a catalogue of 100 items filled with works of importance. The catalogue is divided into five sections – Colour Plate and Illustrated, Natural History, Travel and Voyages, Americana, and Literature and Miscellany. Whichever the category, these are all very special books. Here are a few.

We start with a perfect item for butterfly collectors, or at least, butterfly book collectors: The Natural History of the rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia. For some reason, “butterflies” sounds prettier than “lepidopterous insects.” Those Georgians sure have a funny way of saying things. This two-volume set by John Abbot and Sir James Edward Smith is the earliest illustrated monograph on North American butterflies. It was Abbot who did the field work in Georgia and produced the illustrations, while Smith, first president of the Linnaean Society of London, having recognized Abbot's talents, agreed to edit the work. This book was first published in 1797, but while the text volume has paper watermarked 1794, the paper for the plates is watermarked 1817-1821, indicating the later (circa 1822) issue. Item 21. Priced at $67,500.

Next we have a book about another flying creature, and it is one of the most notable American natural history books ever published: The Birds of America. John James Audubon needs no introduction. He spent a decade in the field drawing American birds, published huge (double-elephant folio) illustrations to be bound in a book, and found the cost of producing these so expensive he could not make any money. Of course, if he had a few copies of this original edition around today, he (or his heirs) could make a great fortune, since it sells for around $10 million. A little later, Audubon realized he needed to publish his work in a more affordable format, so from 1840-44 he issued the seven volumes offered as item 24, the first octavo edition of The Birds of America. It was a great success. $85,000.

From fauna we go to flora, Vol XVII. Botany, from the United States Exploring Expedition. During the years 1838...1842. This was the Wilkes Expedition, and due to various impediments, it took a long time for all of the volumes of the official report to be released. This botany volume, edited by Asa Gray, finally made it to print in 1872. The Wilkes Expedition brought back voluminous quantities of data, most notably about Antarctica, and put the United States on the map as a serious scientific power, but this much later volume was apparently only printed in 100 copies, most undistributed, so it is quite rare. Item 43. $6,500.

Item 73 is The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, containing the portraits and biographical sketches of twenty-four of the most eminent citizens of the American Republic, since the death of Washington. It contains photographic portraits by noted photographer Matthew Brady and biographical descriptions edited by Charles Edward Lester of 12 notable Americans (actually, only 11 Brady photographs and one painting). If 12 portraits and essays conflicts with the title, which says 24, it is evident Brady intended a second volume, but reluctantly had to give it up. This book gives us an idea of who was considered important post-Washington by Americans in 1850. The list includes President Zachary Taylor, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Silas Wright, Henry Clay, John C. Fremont, John James Audubon, William Hickling Prescott, Winfield Scott, President Millard Fillmore, William Ellery Channing, and Lewis Cass. Most have stood the test of time, but I will admit, I had to look three of them up. Wright was a Governor and Senator from New York, Prescott a historian, and Channing was a prominent preacher man. $22,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • 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

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