Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

Children's Books from Aleph-Bet Books

Children's and Illustrated Books.

Aleph-Bet Books has released their Catalogue 112 of Children's Books & Illustrated Books. Aleph-Bet's catalogues are always a treat. Every item, and there are over 500, is illustrated in color, and most of the books are filled with fun and wonder. A few convey some truly ugly prejudices of their time, but those are the fault of adults, not the children who received them. While most children's books do not survive the years well, because, after all, they were handled by children, these are almost universally in excellent shape. Here are a few of them.

 

We will begin with a book written for some of the youngest of readers, but don't let the little ones get their dirty hands on this copy. Item 314 is a first edition of the first Pooh book, When We Were Very Young. This is from a limited run of 100 copies that were signed by both author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard. Each actually had names, but preferred to use their initials. However, Shepard did sign this book as "Ernest." The limited edition was printed on hand-made paper to sharpen the quality of Shepard's drawings. Priced at $16,000.

 

Here is another classic first, the rare first edition, first issue of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. This is the "Beginner Books" issue with the sticker "50 word vocabulary" applied to the front of the dust jacket. This is an exceptional copy. Yes, Sam, it is. Item 451. $4,750.

 

H. A. Rey will forever be most associated with Curious George, but he wrote many other books. This one is a beginner's guide to astronomy, The Stars: A New Way To See Them, published in 1952. It includes numerous illustrations of the stars and constellations, also done by Rey. The dust jacket is a double folded chart which when opened displays the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. This being a presidential year, Rey's inscription is most timely – "To Adlai Stevenson. May his star rise!" Stevenson was the Democratic nominee for President in 1952 and 1956, who had the misfortune of having to run against World War II hero Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. Rey dated his inscription November 30, 1952, so hopefully it cheered up Stevenson a bit from his loss a few weeks earlier in his first presidential campaign. Item 422. $1,750.

 

The image on the cover of this catalogue comes from the Hebrew children's book Sefer Hadvarim (book of things). It contains 16 poems by Hayim Bialik and illustrations by Tom Seidmann-Freud. "Tom" was Martha Gertrude, but adopted the name "Tom." She was also the niece of Sigmund Freud. Together with Bialik and her husband, Jankew Seidmann, they formed the publisher Ophir, which published this book in 1922. Their books, this one in particular, are hard to find. They would be banned by the Nazis. The ending was tragic as Ophir went bankrupt, Jankew Seidmann took his own life, and Tom Freud became deeply depressed and died of an overdose of sleeping pills. These were bad times in Germany. Item 207. $4,000.

 

Next up is a book of humorous verses, Tails with a Twist, "verse by a Belgian Hare," published in 1898. The Belgian Hare was Lord Alfred Douglas, better known for his tragic relationship with a much better writer than was he. Douglas was the lover of Oscar Wilde. Wilde was attacked by Douglas' father, the Marquess of Queensberry, and sued for libel. Wilde lost big time, was sent to prison for two years, and emerged a broken man, dying three years later in exile from his native England. Douglas himself would end up in a libel suit for claims made about Winston Churchill, no less, years later and spent time in prison himself. However, while not the nicest of characters, his verses are mildly amusing, such as – "Few birds or beasts are more unpleasant / Or more malicious than a pheasant." Item 345. $200.

 

Here is an odd tale that must have given some kids nightmares. The title is The Story of Little Degchie Head, published in 1903. It's about the strange experiences of little Mary. Aleph-Bet explains, "When she accidentally burned off her head, the houseboy Domingo replaced it with a pot (called a degchie in India) painted with a face." It evidently was not much of a face, so Santa supplied her with a doll's head as a replacement, a step up. The author of this odd tale was Helen Bannerman, better known for her controversial (today) character of Sambo. Item 43. $600.

 

Item 106 contains the first appearance in book form of the best known Christmas poem (in English, anyway). It also is the first printing to identify its author. Item 106 is The New York Book of Poetry. It was published, fittingly, in New York in 1837. One of the poems is A Visit from St. Nicholas. It had been printed before in a newspaper and almanacs, but anonymously at the time. The author is herein identified as Clement Moore. The poem remains popular today, though it is now usually referred to as The Night Before Christmas, its opening line. Item 106. $2,000.

 

Aleph-Bet Books may be reached at 914-764-7410 or Helen@alephbet.com. Their website is found at www.alephbet.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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