Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2017 Issue

Journeys from Douglas Stewart Fine Books

Journeys.

Douglas Stewart Fine Books has issued a catalogue entitled Journeys. Stewart is a Melbourne, Australia, bookseller, but the continent's isolation is not reflective of the books they offer. The journeys described cover the entire world. They are broken down by destination: American, Asian, Antarctic, Pacific, and World. Only a small portion pertain directly to Australia. The catalogue was prepared for the California International Book Fair, perhaps explaining its international focus. The prices listed are in American dollars, in recognition of the fair's host. Here are a few of the travels covered in this catalogue.

 

For those interested in printing history, here is an item you don't find everyday. It is an example of printing prior to Gutenberg. Say what? Wasn't Gutenberg the first? He was first when it comes to using movable type. However, there was printing from blocks in China centuries earlier. Here is one such block, a stone printing block from China, circa 1287. This was the time when Marco Polo visited China, during which he described its paper currency. The text for the currency on the block provides a notice that counterfeiters will be punished by decapitation. A person identifying a counterfeiter would get a sizable reward along with the criminal's property. Despite the dire consequences, the warning may not have been that effective. Stewart points out that this block was carved in stone, rather than bronze as normal. That is an indication that it may have been created by a forger to produce counterfeit notes, though another explanation, such as an artisan's model, is possible. Item 42. Price on Request..

 

Item 43 is an example of one of these pre-Gutenberg printings of Chinese currency. It is a 1 kuan paper note, circa 1375. It depicts ten piles of 100 copper coins each to illustrate its value. It also contains the warnings against counterfeiting and the rewards to squealers, the quotation that it is "to circulate forever," and the seals of the Office of the Superintendent of the Treasury and the Great Ming Dynasty. By the following century, inflation caused by overprinting of banknotes, led to the discontinuation of their circulation, with silver coins their replacement. $15,000.

 

Item 7 is the first part of Comentarios Reales, que tratan del Origen de los Yncas, by Garcilaso de la Vega ("El Inca"), published in 1609. It is an account of Inca life in Peru, the culture, politics, and economics of an empire that quickly disappeared after the arrival of the Spanish. De la Vega had a unique perspective on Inca culture as well as access to their oral history. His father, of the same name (hence the author being distinguished as "the Inca"), was a Spanish conquistador. His mother was from Inca royalty. He learned about Inca culture from his mother's family. De la Vega went to Spain to further his education at the age of 21 and never returned to Peru. However, he had his memories to provide insights others lacked. De la Vega later wrote a second volume covering the conquest and early colonial period. $9,500.

 

Americans are pretty keen on body art these days, but I don't know whether they are even close to matching the artwork of Pacific islanders from centuries ago. The picture on the cover of this catalogue is an example. It is one of the drawings by Sydney Parkinson, the artist taken along on Capt. James Cook's first expedition to the Pacific. Parkinson produced over 1,300 drawings and sketches on his journey, including the first of natives of Australia and New Zealand from direct observation. Unfortunately, Parkinson never made it home, dying from dysentery in Batavia (today's Jakarta). His drawings did, and in 1773 they were published by his brother, Stanfield Parkinson, in A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship the Endeavor. Faithfully Transcribed from the Papers of the Late Sydney Parkinson... It was unauthorized and an injunction placed on its publication until after the official account was released. Item 87. $12,500.

 

Item 75 is a three-volume set of facsimiles of a newspaper. Facsimiles of a newspaper may not sound exciting at first, but this was a very unusual paper, not one you could buy at a newsstand or find in a library. It was the South Polar Times, originally published in 1902-1903. There aren't many newsstands or libraries in Antarctica. It was written and published by the crew of the British National Antarctic Expedition. It was edited by Ernest Shackleton, who would later command major Antarctic expeditions, but on this one was serving under Robert Falcon Scott. The explorers would make it farther south than anyone had before, though they did not reach the Pole. Of course, there's lots of downtime on board a ship in the Antarctic – nights that go on for months and biting cold that limits outdoor activities. Crewmen on the expedition, including Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who later participated in "the worst journey in the world" with Scott, wrote literary articles and provided illustrations. The three volumes were published from 1907-1914, the first two volumes in 250 copies, the third in 350. This copy comes with the very rare subscribers' broadside. $25,000.

 

This next book provides an account of explorations in America and Asia, or specifically, in the area where those two continents almost come together. Item 40 is an Account of the Russian Discoveries between Asia and America. To which are added the Conquest of Siberia, and the History of the Transactions and Commerce between Russia and China. The author was William Coxe, an English clergyman and historian who traveled around Europe, spending much time in St. Petersburg, where he conducted research into Russian Pacific explorations. He writes about the voyages of numerous explorers whose names are better known in Russia, and then moves on to expeditions in Siberia and China trade. Of particular interest to Americana collectors are sections about contacts made between the Russians and Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. $6,000.

 

Douglas Stewart Fine Books may be reached at +61 3 9066 0200 or info@douglasstewart.com.au. Their website is found at www.douglasstewart.com.au.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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