Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

Sotheran's Celebrates 200 Years in London with 16 Special Books

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Two hundred years of bookselling.

Sotheran's (Henry Sotheran Ltd.) has released a catalogue of Highlights. Two Hundred years of bookselling in London 1816-2016. Since the firm began in London in '16 and this is the year '16, it contains only 16 items. Still, they are worth their own catalogue. Sotheran's actually isn't that young, having started in York in 1761. However, its most notable run began 200 years ago when Thomas Sotheran set up shop in London. That is Thomas Sotheran's picture on the cover of the catalogue. He passed on 150 years ago, but left heirs to continue the tradition for years to come. Here are some of the 16 books offered.

 

The first item in the catalogue is a groundbreaking work in the field of anatomy. Not to sound over the top, but Printing and the Mind of Man said, "No other work of the sixteenth century equals it." The title is De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, the author Andreas Vesalius. The anatomical beliefs of Galen, then 1,400 years old, were still accepted when this book was first published in 1543. Galen had done the best he could, but human dissection was not permitted in his time. He could only look at animals. Vesalius actually observed the anatomical features about which he wrote, overturning many of Galen's 1,400-year-old unquestioned claims. Item 1 is a copy of the second edition of the book, published in 1555. The quality of the printing and typography were improved for this edition, making it, in Sotheran's words, "the definitive version." Item 1. Priced at £90,000 (British pounds, or roughly $130,146 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next up is one of the most collectible of literary works of the twentieth century. This book is a day in the life. Item 14 is Ulysses, the first edition published in 1922. James Joyce's work was deemed obscene by English censors, forcing him to locate a printer in France, where attitudes were more liberal. Sylvia Beach and her Shakespeare and Company took on the challenge. Offered is one of 750 numbered copies on hand-made paper (out of a print run of 1,000). £39,500 (US $57,118).

 

The year 1776 was a memorable one in America, but along with the birth of a nation came the birth of modern economic theory. That year, in Scotland, Adam Smith published his economic theories in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. It was an argument for modern capitalism, not totally unrestrained, but as the basic generator of national wealth. Smith believed that the invisible hand of enlightened self-interest would result in greater prosperity for all. In his day, the free trade Smith advocated was often blocked by tariffs between nations and other governmental interference. The importance of his theories would soon come to the fore as the more developed nations would be making the transition from primarily agrarian to industrial societies. Item 7 is a first edition of Smith's work. £120,000 (US $173,619).

 

Travelogues by travelers who were tourists more than explorers would become popular books during the 19th century, but private tourists were virtually unheard of during the early 17th century. Thomas Coryate was an exception. He was employed by the court of Prince Henry, not a particularly important functionary, when he decided on his own to do a tour of Europe. Such travels without a particular purpose was then a new idea. He spent five months in Europe during 1608, and on returning home, decided to write and self-publish a book about his experiences. Published in 1611, that book is Coryats Crudities. Hastily Gobled Up in Five Moneths Trauells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia... He even managed to get commentary verses from 60 notable writers of the time, such as John Donne and Ben Jonson, to add weight to his book. That said, it must be noted that many of them were subtly ridiculing Coryate, who was seen as more of a buffoon than serious person by his contemporaries. Pforzheimer described this as "each contributor vying to mock poor Coryate with solemn ridicule." Pforzheimer goes on to say, "There probably has never been another such combination of learning and unconscious buffoonery as is here set forth... His adventures probably appeared to his contemporaries as more ridiculous than exciting..." Nevertheless, he acknowledges that the book provided an account of the cities of Europe that was at least as valuable as it was amusing. Item 2. £17,000 (US $24,657).

 

Sotheran's may be reached at 020 7439 6151 or books@sotherans.co.uk. Their website is found at www.sotherans.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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