Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2017 Issue

500 Children's and Illustrated Books from Aleph-Bet Books

More books for the children.

Aleph-Bet Books has released their Catalogue 115 of Children's Books & Illustrated Books. Aleph-Bet has a new selection of 500 books, or items related to books, each with a color image along with the description. If you are a collector of children's books, it is totally impossible not to find selections you like. Here are just a few examples of what can be found.


We begin with one of those "true firsts," the first appearance of a classic children's story that precedes what is generally thought of as the first edition. Long before Disney reinvented him, Pinocchio was a somewhat darker character when created by Carlo Collodi. Collodi had previously written for adults when he turned his pen toward children's books in the late 1870's. In 1881, the first children's magazine in Italy began to be published. The name was Giornale Per I Bambini, and Collodi was asked to contribute an ongoing story. He did, which at the time carried the title La Storia di un Burattino. It was enthusiastically received as, though containing a moral, it was more built around fantasy than moralisms. It continued intermittently for the next two years. The title changed the following year to the more familiar Le Avventure di Pinocchio. The first edition in book form was published in 1883, but this magazine serial is the true first. Item 112 is a set of the magazine from 1881-1883 containing all of the original Pinocchio adventures. Priced at $25,000.


Here is a book we wouldn't expect to see offered to children today. It is an alphabet book, circa 1900. In those days, it was common for companies to create ABC books for children, even when the target of the sales pitch was their parents. Item 1 is Animal Alphabet, created by Wright's Indian Vegetable Co. Also in those days, it was common for creators of phony medicines to pretend they were the creations of some wise old Indian medicine man. Each of the letters is accompanied by a rhyme related to some ailment that can be cured by one of Wright's medicines. There is Peery's Dead Shot Vermifuge that will kill worms, the type that live inside you. Here is a vocabulary lesson - a "vermifuge" is an anthelmintic medicine. What is an "anthelmintic" medicine, you might ask? An anthelmintic is something that kills parasitic worms. Moving on from today's vocabulary lesson is an item that you definitely wouldn't promote for children today – McMunn's Elixer of Opium. It cured sleeplessness and nervous irritation among other ailments. Undoubtedly. This stuff actually secured a U.S. Patent, #70,171, in 1908, and Wright's was at one time a member of the American Medical Association. $275.


Here is a piece of artwork you would love to hang on your wall. It is an original watercolor drawing of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter needs no introduction, but this drawing does. Peter had long since grown up and had hundreds of children of his own when it was drawn, circa 1925. Potter was friendly with Anne Carroll Moore, head of the children's library at the New York Public Library. After the First World War, she went to Europe, helping to replenish children's libraries devastated by the war. At one point, she met Potter, which began a friendship that continued the rest of their lives. In 1925, Moore wrote and published a children's book. She sent a copy to Potter. Potter wrote back a letter of appreciation, but noted she had no new book of her own to send in return. So, instead, she sent this original watercolor of Peter, gift flowers in hand, looking as youthful as ever. Item 376. $50,000.


"Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh, see. Oh, see Jane. Funny, funny Jane." Want more? There's lots more where this came from in Our Big Book. This is a giant size folio edition of Dick and Jane, because you can never get enough of Dick and Jane. Or Sally, or Spot, or Puff. Actually, Sally is just referred to as "Baby" here. This undated book is circa 1940, which presumably was shortly after she was born. This large edition was meant for teachers to display in the classroom, so the children could never escape their ubiquitous presence. Generations of kids learned to read from these two cliché youngsters, and a few ended up loving to read anyway. Item 137. $1,850.


Next is sort of a book. It looks like a book, but it opens into a panorama. Its title is Coronation Procession Panorama. The panorama displays a royal procession. On each page, there is a slot where the reader can insert a figure into the parade. It was published in 1952, and the Queen being honored is Queen Elizabeth. Some things never change. Item 342. $775.


Sometimes an author can get so closely associated with one book that we can forget they ever wrote anything else. Robert McCloskey wrote several award-winning children's books, yet he will forever be intimately tied to a particular one – Make Way for Ducklings. Here is one of his others: Blueberries for Sal, published in 1948. This is a first printing of the first edition of what Aleph-Bet tells us is his hardest book to find. Unlike Ducklings, which takes place in Boston, Blueberries is set down east, in Maine. It is a tale where Sal and her mother go picking blueberries. Their story is juxtaposed with that of a bear and her cub who do the same. Item 275. $4,750.


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
    Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Kerouac, Jack. Typescript scroll of The Dharma Bums. Typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, 1957, published by Viking in 1958. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. The autograph manuscript of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." [Key West, finished April 1936]. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Miller, Henry. Typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations, with a lengthy inscription to Joe Goode. 40,000 - 60,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. in our time, first edition of Hemingway’s second book. 30,000 - 50,000 USD
  • Swann
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Samuel Augustus Mitchell, A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining, Philadelphia, 1846. $3,500 to $5,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: 17th–19th-century case maps of various locations. $1,500 to $2,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Andreas Cellarius, Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri, celestial chart, Amsterdam, 1708. $2,500 to $3,500.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Vincenzo Coronelli, Set of engraved gores for Coronelli’s monumental 42-inch terrestrial globe, Venice, circa 1688–97. $18,000 to $22,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, group of four navigational charts, Antwerp, 1580s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Thomas Bros, Block Book of Berkeley, Oakland, 1920s. $800 to $1,200.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Nieuhoff & John Ogilby, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, map of China, plan of Canton, London, 1673. $1,200 to $1,800.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Frederick Sander, Reichenbachia, St. Albans, 1888-1894. $5,000 to $7,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Two early illustrated works on horsemanship and breeding, Nuremberg, early 18th century. $700 to $800.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Gould, A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. Supplement to the First Edition, London, 1834; 1855. $40,000 to $60,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Pinkerton, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World, London, 1808–14. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Oakley Hoopes Bailey, Hackensack, New Jersey, Boston, 1896. $800 to $1,200.
    Valuable Books and Manuscripts
    London auction
    13 December
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    Christie’s, Explore now
    TREW, Christoph Jacob (1695–1769). Plantae Selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortus curiosorum. [Nuremberg: 1750–1773]. £30,000–40,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623–88). Liber Organicus Astronomiae Europaeae apud Sinas restituate. [Beijing: Board of Astronomy, 1674]. £250,000–350,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALICE & NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT. Master of Jean Rolin (active 1445–65). Book of Hours, use of Paris, in Latin and French, [Paris, c.1450–1460]. £120,000–180,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    A SILVER MICROSCOPE. Probably by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), c.1700. £150,000–250,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    C.1311. £100,000–150,000
  • Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Roberts (David) & Croly (George). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. Lond. 1842 - 1843 [-49]. First Edn. €10,000 to €15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Incunabula: O'Fihily (Maurice). Duns Scotus Joannes: O'Fihely, Maurice Abp… Venice, 20th November 1497. €8,000 to €12,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: An important file of documents with provenance to G.A. Newsom, manager of the Jacob’s Factory in Dublin, occupied by insurgents during Easter Week 1916. €6,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: WILDE (Oscar), 1854-1900, playwright, aesthete and wit. A lock of Wilde’s Hair, presented by his son to the distinguished Irish actor Mícheál MacLiammóir. €6,000 to €8,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Heaney (Seamus). Bog Poems, London, 1975. Special Limited Edition, No. 33 of 150 Copies, Signed by Author. Illus. by Barrie Cooke. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Binding: Burke, Thomas O.P. (de Burgo). Hibernia Dominicana, Sive Historia Provinciae Hiberniae Ordinis Praedicatorum, ... 1762. First Edition. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: COLLINS, Michael. An important TL, 29 July 1922, addressed to GOVERNMENT on ‘suggested Proclamation warning all concerned that troops have orders to shoot prisoners found sniping, ambushing etc.’. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Scott Fitzgerald (F.) The Great Gatsby, New York (Charles Scribner's Sons) 1925, First Edn. €2,000 to €3,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Yeats (W.B.) The Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2 vols. Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949. Limited Edition, No. 46 of 375 Copies Only, Signed by W.B. Yeats. €1,500 to €2,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Description in English and French, Lg. folio London (S. Gosnell) 1803. First Edn. €1,000 to €1,500.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of Turkey, Illustrated by a Series of Engravings. Lg. folio Lond.(T. Bensley) 1802. First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Mason (Geo. Henry). The Costume of China, Illustrated with Sixty Engravings. Lg. folio London (for W. Miller) 1800. First Edn. €1,400 to €1,800
  • Sotheby’s
    Fine Books and Manuscripts
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane] — Isaac D'Israeli. Jane Austen's copy of Curiosities of Literature. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane]. A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel. 70,000 - 100,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Brontë, Charlotte. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..." 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Eliot, George. The author's magnum opus. 25,000 - 35,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Whitman, Walt. Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865. 60,000 - 80,000 USD

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