Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2013 Issue

Western Americana from the William Reese Company

Western Americana.

The William Reese Company has published their 299th catalogue, Western Americana. Reese describes the theme of this catalogue as “the exploration, settlement, and development of the trans-Mississippi West.” Material ranges from the 16th to the early 20th century. Along with printed items it offers manuscripts, maps, and visual items. The American West remains a topic of fascination, not just to Americans but Europeans and others around the world. It is a land of legends, and many tall tales too, but there is something about the wild frontier that appeals to all of us (just as it did to Davy Crockett). Here are few items that take us back to these wondrous times.

The most important exploration of the American West, and of any internal explorations of America, was conducted by Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806. Having recently completed the Louisiana Purchase, a vast territory he knew next to nothing about, President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark out to survey what he had purchased. Though they returned in 1806, it was another eight years before the official account was published, various factors delaying its publication. There was some information announced by Jefferson, and Patrick Gass, a member of the expedition, published an account in 1807. Still, there was much more the public wanted to know, and there were unscrupulous individuals ready to fill that void, even if they were no more knowledgeable than anyone else. Item 107 is The Travels of Capts. Lewis & Clarke... published in 1809, the so-called “apocrypha edition.” It was patched together using information provided by others, notably Jefferson and Gass, along with reports about Indians from totally unrelated sources, such as Carver and Mackenzie, the idea being that earlier accounts of eastern Indians would undoubtedly be acceptable descriptions of Indians of the West. The book even uses an illustration of the Indians Lewis and Clark supposedly encountered from Bartram's earlier work. Nonetheless, the book was very popular and accepted, being reprinted for several decades, even long after the official account was published. One positive is the map, and though not much based on Lewis and Clark, it was based on the latest information from various sources available at the time. Priced at $13,500.

Item 9 is one of the earliest obtainable imprints from Texas, a certificate of admission to Stephen F. Austin's colony. The date was 1829, when Texas was still part of Mexico, so naturally the certificate is headed in Spanish, El Ciudadano Estevan F. Austin. Mexico, much to their later great regret, was allowing Americans to colonize parts of this outer province of the nation. In time, they would become suspicious of these American immigrants, but by then it would be too late. Even the then-cooperative Austin would turn against Santa Anna. This certificate was issued to a widow named Frances Manifee. It was the first step to gaining admission to Austin's colony. $25,000.

Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, but it was not the only future U.S. state to do so that year. Less well known is that California declared its independence in 1836 too. The circumstances were very different. It was not a case of American immigrants trying to throw off rule that seemed foreign to them, even though they were the immigrants. This was more of an intramural squabble between local Mexican authorities and those back in Mexico City. Juan Albarado (Alvarado) was upset by Mexican attempts to assert greater central authority. He and his associates responded by declaring independence. This broadside, En el Puerto de Monterrey de la Alta California... announces California's independence. It was printed by Santiago Aguilar, using Augustin Zamorano's press. Zamorano had been forced into exile three days earlier by Alvarado. Eventually, the rebels and central authorities would resolve their dispute and the abortive independence of California would end. However, Alvarado would again be serving as California Governor at the time of the Bear Flag Revolt and seizure of the state by General Fremont, when Mexican rule truly was overthrown. This copy is signed in both print and ink by Alvardo and his associates. Item 27. $75,000.

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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