Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2014 Issue

Binding, Printing, Selling, and the Book Arts, from Forest Books

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The book arts.

Forest Books recently released their Catalogue 113. A selection of books pertaining to the book arts, particularly relating to bookbinding, printing & bookselling history. A subheading adds, Including books from the working library of Roger Powell (1896-1990) bookbinder. Powell was at one time a partner in the firm of Cockerell & Son before setting out on his own. His reputation was that of one of the finest bookbinders of the 20th century. Here are a few items from the book arts from Forest's latest catalogue.

 

Item 21 is a catalogue of a sale with a strange tale behind it: The Valuable Library of Books, in Fonthill Abbey. It includes 20,000 books, and many other items, from Fonthill. The auction was set to run through much of September and October of 1823. Fonthill Abbey was a Gothic castle built by William Beckford during the first two decades of the 19th century. Beckford, who served for a time in Parliament, had inherited a small fortune from his father. He expended it on his mansion, filling it with books, art, furniture, and whatever else he wanted. He even built a tower to view the countryside. Unfortunately, he spent all of his money, and construction of the castle was shoddy. In 1822, he was forced to sell it all, the buyer being John Farquhar. Farquhar paid Beckford £300,000. Farquhar had little interest in books. It was just an investment. So, in 1823, it was Farquhar who put the books and other items up for sale in this massive auction. Priced at £795 (British pounds, or approximately $1,362 in U.S. dollars).

 

Let this next item serve as a warning for those who wish to publish or sell treasonous books (or, at least, treasonous in the eyes of authority). Item 324 is An Exact Narrative of the Tryal and Condemnation of John Twyn, for Printing and Dispersing a Treasonable Book. It also includes sections on the trials of bookseller Thomas Brewster and others for selling, printing, or binding seditious and scandalous pamphlets. In Twyn's case, he was brought to trial in 1664 for publishing the book A Treatise of the Execution of Justice. In it, Twyn asserted the right to revolt against an oppressive government. This was a right later claimed and exercised by the American patriots, and perhaps Twyn's case shows what would have befallen them had they not succeeded. Twyn was convicted, hanged, drawn and quartered, beheaded, and had his head put on display as a warning to others. £1,495 (US $2,561).

 

Item 262 is a first: Bibliotheca Americana; or, A Chronological Catalogue of the Most Curious and Interesting Books, Pamphlets, State Papers, &c. Upon the Subject of North and South America. Published in 1789, it is the first bibliography of works about America. It was written anonymously, attributed to various people associated with the British Library, but now believed to be the work of Leman Thomas Rede. Along with the bibliography there is an essay on the state of literature and bookselling in America. This is not the easiest bibliography to follow, and does have some errors. Joseph Sabin, the later American bibliographer, pointed out its shortcomings in his bibliography of the same name a century later. Nonetheless, it was a first, and contains 1,600 early listings pertaining to America. £795 (US $1,362).

 

If you would like to know what Members of Parliament once read, at least the common (not the lordly) ones, item 183 is a Catalogue of Books in the Library at the House of Commons. It was published in 1830. This is an important account of what was in the old library, formed in 1818. In 1834, the library was destroyed in a fire, much of the collection being lost. £125 (US $214).

 

Thomas Frognall Dibdin was one of the greatest book collectors ever. This is not because he had the greatest collection. He was not a wealthy man. It was a case of his love for books exceeding that of just about anyone else. Dibdin wrote Bibliomania and many other classic books about his love for collecting, but this isn't one of them. Before he wrote all of his books about books, he wrote this one – Poems – self-published in 1797. In hindsight, Dibdin was not impressed with his first separately published work. “I struck off 500 copies, and was glad to get rid of half of them as waste paper; the remaining half have been partly destroyed by my own hands... My one consolation is that the volume is now exceedingly rare.” It must be even rarer today. This is why Dibdin is remembered as a book collector, rather than a poet. Item 99. £575 (US $985).

 

Item 9 is a Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers in the British Isles. It was published by the ABA (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association) in 1932 (third edition). It includes descriptions of booksellers, with the facing page left blank for notes. A previous owner has added some comments. A few are quite biting - “Mostly new bindings (his own) of rather second rate quality,” “Untrustworthy,” “Large but rather dirty stock (sometimes imperfect) little real knowledge of books,” “Fakes, stolen property,” “We consider them the most reasonable and trustworthy of London dealers.” Either his standards were very high, or their standards quite low. £45 (US $77).

 

Forest Books may be reached at +44 1949-842360 or bib@forestbooks.co.uk. Their website is www.forestbooks.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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