Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

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

F9e0c118-cf22-44f8-902e-5ffeef84ceae

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

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions