Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2005 Issue

The Boston Antiquarian Book Fair From William Reese

R1208

William Reese at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company
issued a pamphlet of listings for the recent Boston Antiquarian Book Fair 2004. This is not a typical themed Reese catalogue. It is a collection of items which Reese evidently felt would have the broadest appeal, since it was presented to a book fair audience. These are certainly some very desirable books, and while some have likely found new homes, those not purchased at the fair are undoubtedly still available to those who did not attend. Here are just a few.

We'll start with the earliest, an incunable from 1489. It is the first Latin edition of 9th century astrologer Albumasar's Introductorium In Astronomian. Albumasar (or Albumazar, or Abu-Mashar Jafar ibn Mohammad) was one of the greatest early Islamic teachers of astronomy. Born in what is now Afghanistan and flourishing in Baghdad (those names are quite familiar today), he believed the world was created when the seven planets were in conjunction in Aries and will end when they are in Pisces. Reese does not tell us when that will be. Item 5. $40,000.

Item 81, by Thomas Palmer, is An Essay of the Meanes Hovv to Make Our Trauailes, into Forraine Countries, the More Profitable and Honourable. You know from a title like this that either this book is very old, or Palmer was a terrible speller. Fortunately, it's the former. Palmer had accompanied Cadiz on his expedition and used his experience to provide something of an early travel guide. This book was printed in London in 1606, and as early as it was, Palmer does provide some information on America and the customs of its native Indians. $7,500.

Item 3 is a most interesting piece of Americana relating to the transition from the nation's first to its second generation of leaders. It is John Quincy Adams' Oration on the Life and Character of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette... The speech was delivered on December 31, 1834, after the passing of the French hero of the American Revolution. Lafayette came to America as a wealthy young man to serve under George Washington and lead American forces to victories. While a great hero in America, after the Revolution, Lafayette would return to France and be involved in the many changing governments that nation would experience in the following decades. He would not come back to these shores again until a visit in 1824, but he would not be forgotten in his second home. At his passing, virtually all of the other leaders of the American Revolution had passed on, and even Quincy Adams, second-generation American leader, was now a former president, serving his remaining years as a member of Congress. This particular copy of his Oration is a presentation copy from Adams to George Briggs. Briggs was a fellow Massachusetts congressman and future governor of that state. $7,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.

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