Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2016 Issue

50 Important Books and Manuscripts from Peter Harrington

50 books and manuscripts.

Peter Harrington has released a new catalogue in their "50" series, this one being Fifty Books and Manuscripts. These are not just any 50 books and manuscripts (mostly books). These are some of the most important books written. They cover diverse categories from fiction, poetry, history, religion, even children's books. It is their significance and desirability that is the common thread. Here are a few examples of what we mean.

 

We begin with an account of the real pirates of the Caribbean by one of the few of them who actually wrote a book (most pirates weren't particularly literate). Alexandre Exquemelin made his way to the Caribbean as an indentured servant. His second master was generous, teaching him the trade of what today sounds like an odd combination – barber/surgeon. They both use scissors. Exquemelin used his skills to serve on a privateering ship, state sanctioned piracy. Eventually, he served one of the most notorious of all pirates, Henry Morgan, when he sacked Panama. He finally returned to Europe, studied medicine in Amsterdam, and wrote this book about pirates. It has to be taken with a bit of salt as he adjusted his account for various audiences, the book being published in several languages. Nonetheless, it gives us the best firsthand look at piracy in the 17th century, including the brutal behavior that often came with it. Exquemelin later became a surgeon on legitimate ships, made his way back to America, and disappeared from history. Item 8 is the first English edition of his account, Bucaniers of America: or, a true Account of the Most remarkable Assaults Committed of late Years upon the Coast of the West-Indies... published in 1684. It comes with Basil Ringrose's 1685 Bucaniers of America, The Second Volume... about the piracy of Bartholomew Sharp. Priced at £12,500 (British pounds, or approximately $18,005 U.S. dollars).

 

Next up is an amazing copy of what is already one of the most collectible books – a first edition of The Great Gatsby, published in 1925. This copy is inscribed by author F. Scott Fitzgerald to his friend Harold Goldman, with the most interesting comment: "For Harold Goldman. The original "Gatsby" of this story, with thanks for letting me reveal these secrets of his past." Goldman worked with Fitzgerald as a screenwriter in Hollywood in the late 1930's, long after the book was published, so we will assume the comment is tongue-in-cheek. Whether they had a friendship predating this is unclear, though some family history indicates there may have been. Fitzgerald signs the location as "Alcatraz Cell Block 17," a reference to his office at MGM. He didn't like working there. This reference means the book was inscribed many years after it was published. Item 36. £275,000 (US $396,123).

 

From a signed book we go to a signed photograph. The image is of the then (and to some extent still) controversial scientist Charles Darwin. It was taken by Julia Margaret Cameron while Darwin was vacationing on the Isle of Wight. It was one of Darwin's favorite photographs of himself. It was taken in 1868, a decade after revealing his theory of evolution. Darwin was 59 years old at the time, but with his full white beard you might guess he was older. Item 18. £22,500 (US $32,410).

 

Item 39 is a signed typescript by Winston Churchill, who would be leading England through its most difficult time by the end of the decade. It was written for the Hearst newspapers, published on January 11, 1931. The title of the article was The United States of Europe. It was an argument for something that came about many decades later – the European Union. Churchill noted that Europe once had been united if you go back to Roman times. He thought Europeans would look at America, united with no borders coast to coast, and be envious. Of course, terrible splits and horrible regimes were beginning to appear in parts of the continent, but Churchill thought "the horrors of Armageddon are our present guarantee of peace." Not exactly. However, while being sympathetic to a European union, Britain would not be a participant. He saw England being connected to the English-speaking world. £30,000 (US $43,213).

 

We conclude with the final item in the catalogue, and a fitting way to close this book. This past month, well after the catalogue was printed, Harper Lee passed on at age 89. After half a century of literary silence, her long buried second novel recently was "discovered" and published. Its reviews were less than exciting, but her first novel remains an American masterpiece and classic. Item 50 is To Kill A Mockingbird, published in 1960. This is a first edition with the first issue dust jacket in unusually good condition. It is a legacy that will remain for generations to come. £25,000 (US $36,011).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharringtonbooks.com. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk or www.peterharringtonbooks.com (for U.S. customers).

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
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: SIGNED. LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [THE NOTABLE TRAILS LIBRARY]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: THE TRIAL OF DR. X; ROE V. WADE; THE GALILEO AFFAIR; THE TRIAL OF BERNHARD GOETZ… CA$300 – 500
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, photo-postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.

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