Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2013 Issue

A Winter Miscellany from James Cummins Bookseller

Not even a personal poem could cheer up Franz Muller.

Item 88 is an advertising mock-up for Hunter Baltimore Rye, circa 1935. In business since around 1870 under the management of William Lanahan and Sons, the popular Baltimore distillery was forced to shut down with Prohibition. It never returned as it was, but a new firm was formed after Prohibition which bought up the rights to the Hunter name. Hunter was back, and to reassure old customers that the rye was as good as ever, this advertisement claimed “Better Than Pre-War.” Actually, they were quoting Mr. Waugh Glascock, a fox hunter. Fox hunters evidently exuded upper-crust English class, a good image for fine rye whiskey, and what better than a fox hunter for a brand named “Hunter?” Not in this advertisement was their image of a horse jumping over the beams of a wooden fence with the logo “first over the bars,” another double entendre. Ultimately, this new Hunter Baltimore Rye didn't turn out so well. Over the Prohibition years, America lost its taste for rye whiskey. In the early 1940s, the brand was sold to Seagrams, which converted it to a Kentucky Bourbon for awhile, still using the horse and “first over the bars” motto. By the way, one of those Lanahan sons married Scottie Fitzgerald, the only child of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. There's an added touch for book collectors. $500.

Item 21 is one of those tasteless, by today's standards, poems celebrating the execution of some criminal. This one is a broadside Lamentation, Confession, and Execution of Muller. That was one Franz Muller, who murdered Thomas Briggs on a North London Railway train in 1864. Cummins informs us this was the first murder committed on a train, and I will just have to take their word for it. Muller took the next boat to America only to be greeted in New York by detectives from Scotland Yard. His must have been on a slow boat. He had Briggs' gold watch and was wearing Briggs' hat. The German native Muller was returned to England, tried, and despite a plea from Kaiser Bill, was hanged, reportedly in front of 50,000 spectators. Another tasteless thing about 19th century executions. This broadside tells the sad tale of Franz Muller in verse. $1,250. We will conclude this review with a few appropriate lines from this heartrending poem:

Farewell vain world, I must quickly go,

Among the worms in the shades below.

James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or info@jamescumminsbookseller.com. Their website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Toronto Book Auctions
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    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
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    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
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    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [THE NOTABLE TRAILS LIBRARY]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: THE TRIAL OF DR. X; ROE V. WADE; THE GALILEO AFFAIR; THE TRIAL OF BERNHARD GOETZ… CA$300 – 500
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.
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    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
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