Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

50 Fine Books from Shapero Rare Books

50 Fine Books.

Shapero Rare Books has released 50 Fine Books Winter 2014. These are special books, important, elegant, and in exceptional condition. Most are notable for their illustrations, often comparable to printed works of art. When we speak of books with art quality illustrations, the subject that always seems to come up is birds. Somehow, the beauty of what we now know to be miniature dinosaurs captured the imagination of skilled artists and illustrators. Of course there is Audubon and Gould, but there were many others, and several of their books are among these 50. Other animals and plants are also to be found. Then there is scenery, both beautiful natural views, and spectacular architectural designs. There are even some people, in their various costumes of the world. You will certainly have a fine time with these fine books. These are a few.

 

We will start with some of those pretty birds. Shapero describes this book as “the finest ornithological work published in the United States by the finest bird artist in America after Audubon.” Daniel Giraud Elliot set out to produce a continuation of the work of Audubon and Alexander Wilson before him. This book came 25 years after Audubon, and Elliot was filling in species discovered since the works of his predecessors. His contribution to the species is The New and Heretofore Unfigured Species of Birds of North America, printed in two volumes, 1866-1869. It contains 73 hand-colored lithographs. This copy came from the collection of H. Bradley Martin, heir to a steel fortune and one of the most important collectors of the 20th century. Item 16. Priced at £30,000 (British pounds, or about US $48,558).

 

Here is another book dedicated to some beautiful, American flying creatures, but they are not birds. Item 1 is The Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia. “Lepidopterous insects” is an ugly synonym for butterflies. This is an early work on American fauna, being published in 1797. It was authored by John Abbott and Sir James Edward Smith. Abbott did the leg work. An Englishman, he traveled to Georgia in 1775 and spent much of his life recording birds and insects he found there. However, he needed help in publishing the work back home in London where Smith, the first President of the Linnean Society and a man impressed by Abbott's work, complied. The book not only illustrated and described its subject as adults, but also as youngsters in their caterpillar stage, and shows the plants on which they feed. £40,000 (US $64,555).

 

Next we have a look inside ourselves – literally. Item 3 is Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body... published in 1749. This is a first English edition of a work originally published in Latin. The book's author is Bernard Albinus, with illustrations from Jan Wandelaar. Not only are the illustrations of the the skeletons exceptional, the artist placed them in front of ornamental backgrounds to give them added vitality. The most famous, and very unusual plate, puts a skeleton in front of a grazing rhinoceros (the rhinoceros is eating grass, not the poor human who became a skeleton). Wanderlaar sketched this from the first rhinoceros brought to Europe, which arrived at the Amsterdam zoo in 1741. £12,500 (US $20,145).

 

Item 27 is the privately printed Cranwell edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a Triumph, by T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. It was published in 1926 in a limited edition of 170 copies. It was expensive even then. Lawrence seemed rather dismissive of book collectors, in a letter saying “I hate bibliophiles,” and thereby building in confusion between copies and not releasing the now-known print run. He claimed, “I'm aiming at a public that will pay but not read...” However, his account of war in the Middle East in which he was so deeply involved became recognized as one of the great books, assuring this edition would grow in value regardless of whether anyone ever read its pages. £58,500 (US $94,348).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000
  • Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000

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