Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2013 Issue

Literature, History and More from Raptis Rare Books


Raptis Rare Books fourth catalogue.

This month we received our first catalogue from Raptis Rare Books, of Brattleboro, Vermont. If it helps any, Brattleboro is close to southwestern New Hampshire and northwestern Massachusetts. It's also close to a lot of cows and maple trees. It's a great place to visit, particularly in the fall. Raptis Rare Books is operated by Matthew Raptis, a collector since the age of eight. No wonder children's books is among the type they offer, along with history, economics, science fiction, and most of all, literature. First editions predominate the selection, and exceptional condition is a major factor in what they carry. Exceptional service is also a major goal. Here are a few selections from Raptis Rare Books' fourth catalogue.

Since The Great Gatsby is once again the rage with the release of his latest film incarnation, we will start with the original, the first edition, first issue, published in 1925. This one is described as “a very fine copy in a very good first issue dust jacket.” Surprisingly enough, Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third novel, was not a notable success at the time. His first had been more popular, and Fitzgerald made most of his money from short stories and film adaptations. Gatsby's greater success would come in the theaters, with periodic updates, such as that recently released, bringing in new generations of audiences. However, it is that success in the theaters that undoubtedly has helped make Gatsby one of the most collectible novels of the 20th century. This copy is particularly valuable because of the first issue dust jacket. The “celestial eyes” of the jacket is perhaps the most famous of any cover art. Fitzgerald was enthralled by it, actually writing it into the novel. Priced at $160,000.

We next move a decade forward, but stay with Scott Fitzgerald. In 1925, he was a young author, a success living it up in the jazz age. By 1935, he was struggling with the expenses of a lifestyle at times beyond his means, declining income, responsibility for a child, and his wife Zelda's psychological issues that would result in her being institutionalized most of the remainder of her life. His own health was burning out as well, his heart giving out just five years later at the age of 44. It is into this darkness that he published Taps at Reveille, his last collection of short stories, or any book for that matter, published during his lifetime. This copy is inscribed to Isabell Owens, “For Isabelle Owens / Hoping we'll both be able to look back to this winter as a bleak exception, in a business way / From F. Scott (“Old Scrooge”) Fitzgerald.” Owens was Fitzgerald's personal secretary during his years in Baltimore, from 1932-1936, and part-time after he left for Hollywood until his death in 1940. She typed the drafts of Tender Is the Night, his last novel published during his lifetime, as well as handling his correspondence, accounts, dealt with creditors, ran errands, babysat daughter Scottie, and was at times a companion to Zelda. The year 1935 was something of a bleak exception “in a business way,” as once Scott moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter, his income rebounded substantially, but personally life did not improve. Both his health and Zelda's continued to deteriorate and screenwriting was not emotionally satisfying for him. $45,000.

This book may never be confused with those of Fitzgerald on a basis of literary merit, and yet it is one of the most collectible and valuable pieces of modern literature today – Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming. This is another book whose value is substantially enhanced by screen adaptations, not so much of this particular book, but of later titles in the series of James Bond thrillers. Casino Royale was the first, published in 1953, and this is the one that introduced us to Mr. Bond. Fleming's Bond novels were not an overnight success, but their popularity grew through the 1950s. However, it was not until the Bond films began to be released a decade later that secret agent 007 achieved the astronomical popularity he retains to this day. $47,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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