Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2016 Issue

Legal Material Displayed at the Fair by the Lawbook Exchange

74aaebd9-b9a7-4c9d-a2c5-a3506d1d0422

Books at the fair.

The Lawbook Exchange recently published a catalogue of items to be displayed at the 2016 New York Antiquarian Book Fair. We don't know how many were sold on the spot, but we will presume some of these are still available. Offered is a wide variety of subjects and dates, with the common thread being a connection to the law. Some items are books, but others are more ephemeral in nature, such as photographs and letters. If you collect the law, there is bound to be something here of interest.

 

Going back to the earliest days of English law, we begin with Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Anglie, by Ranulf de Glanville. This is a first edition, published in 1554, but the text is much older. Glanville was a 12th century justice who served as a close advisor to King Henry II. It was believed written around 1189, and certainly no later. Henry died that year, and his son, Richard I, threw Glanville out of office and imprisoned him until he paid a ransom. Glanville soon went off with the Crusades and died the following year. This first significant legal text was not one of case law, but rather, a guide to procedures in the English courts. It was highly respected and remained in use for centuries. Item 39. Priced at $12,500.

 

From the first we go to probably the most important English legal book ever written. Item 7 is the first American edition of Commentaries on the Laws of England, In Four Books. Reprinted From the British Copy, Page for Page with the Last Edition. This first American of what is commonly known as Blackstone's Commentaries was published in Philadelphia in 1771-1772, while America was still a part of England. Prior to Blackstone, English law consisted of centuries worth of scattered cases, unorganized and impossible to understand. What Blackstone did was to organize the case law, but then he did more than just copy it. He weaved the cases into a consistent whole, explaining the principles behind the cases. This was essential for those in the field to understand how it should apply to new cases with different facts than those from the past. Blackstone's book was the essential legal guide in America well into the 19th century, and it continues to be cited in court decisions to this day. $17,500.

 

Next we have another major legal treatise, but while this is the first English edition, the author was not an English subject. Rather, it was the work of Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius. Grotius' focus was international law, of which little was recognized when he lived during the 17th century. He laid down a theory of law based on the writings of ancient and contemporary scholars, natural law, and the rights of nations in consideration with the liberties of their peoples. Grotius was also noted as an advocate for freedom of the seas, something not generally recognized by all nations at the time. What Grotius did not consider applicable to international law was church law, which got his book posted to the index of banned books. Item 45 is The Illustrious Hugo Grotius: Of the Law of Warre and Peace. It was edited by Clement Barksdale and includes memorials to Grotius who died in 1645. This first English was published in 1655. $3,500.

 

Before we had "too big to fail" we had The Curse of Bigness. That is the title of Justice Louis Brandeis' 1935 book. Brandeis had been a crusader against large, monopolistic companies during the Progressive era of Theodore Roosevelt. Brandeis felt that not only should large monopolies be broken up if they abused their power, but that the trend toward bigness was counterproductive to the economy and welfare of the nation in general. The issue in his day was not so much what would happen if a large company on which much economic activity depended failed, but what happened when they were too successful, that is, successful in furthering their own aims at the expense of the nation. This copy of Brandeis' book has been signed boldly by him on the title page. Item 10. $950.

 

This case of a Rhode Island butcher who didn't want to accept paper money became an important precedent in American law. The Rhode Island legislature had passed a law requiring the acceptance of its paper currency. However, they went farther. They legislated that those accused of not accepting the currency would be tried before judges, denying their constitutional right to a jury. Furthermore, appeals of these courts' verdicts could not be made to the higher courts of the state. John Weeden was the butcher in The Case, Trevett Against Weeden. This 1787 publication was prepared by his attorney, James Varnum, a general during the Revolution and Rhode Island representative to the Continental Congress. Varnum argued that the law was an unconstitutional violation of Weeden's rights to a trial by jury and the court agreed. This case served as precedent for one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases, Marbury v. Madison, which established the judiciary's right to rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by the legislature. Item 98. $1,000.

 

The Lawbook Exchange may be reached at 732-382-1800 or law@lawbookexchange.com. Their website is www.lawbookexchange.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions