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

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Charles Dickens, 5 Christmas Books, 1st Eds. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.

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