Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2017 Issue

A Visit to the California Book Fair by Bernard Quaritch Ltd.

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Books at the fair.

Bernard Quaritch Ltd. recently created a catalogue especially for The 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair. Bernard Quaritch is the storied London bookseller that has been selling books longer than California has been a state. Bernard would have required a Mexican visa to enter California in his early days, presuming he didn't enter Mexico illegally. Mr. Quartich is long gone, and his family exited the business after over a century of operation, but the firm, and Bernard Quaritch's name, remain, a reminder of a long and illustrious history. Here are a few of the books that made the trip to the "New World."

 

We begin with easily the oldest item in this catalogue, and don't be scared off by the price. Most books herein are not in this price range. It's just that if you want a book from the 13th century, it is going to be very rare and valuable, the result of much effort as it all had to be written by hand. Item 4 is an anthology of writings, including religious, philosophical, and mathematical texts, with works by Alexander de Villa Dei, Al-Khwarizmi and others. The manuscript was likely a textbook of sorts, assembled for instruction at the University of Paris during the late 13th century. There is also some marginalia of a more recent vintage – the 14th century. Item 4. Priced at $105,000.

 

If philosophy, religion and math aren't your favorite topics, here is one you will undoubtedly prefer – Il Cioccolato. No need to translate that title. It is the work of Francesco Arisi of Cremona, published in 1736. It is a poem in praise of chocolate. He recommends the right mixture of chocolate with vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and other spices. By itself it is not very tasty. He does not approve of putting it in coffee or tea, or sniffing it like snuff. It is a drink that should be enjoyed by itself. Arisi took his chocolate seriously, recommending hanging for people who messed with it. I'm guessing that was tongue in cheek, but in the 18th century, who knows? Arisi was a founder of the literary society Accademia dei Disuniti in Cremona. Item 8. $2,500.

 

Here is an interesting piece of science by the Jesuit astronomer, Jacques Grandami. He was a studied man who corresponded with other scientists of the day, but in his Jesuit role, he was called on to defend the Church's banning the Copernican heliocentric system. Galileo adopted that system and found himself under house arrest as a consequence. The idea that the sun moving though the sky was just an illusion caused by a rotating earth was biblical heresy at this time. The Jesuits had done much work with magnetism, and Grandami used it to disprove that the earth rotated on its axis. Not really, of course, but he thought he did. Experiments with spherical magnets floating in water convinced him that magnetic spheres do not rotate. Applying this to the earth, which everyone knew by then was magnetic, he concluded that it could not rotate. Therefore, the globe was stationary, the sun actually revolved around the earth, and Galileo got what was coming to him. Grandami's book is titled Nova demonstratio immobilitatis terrae petita ex virtuta magnetica. It was published in 1645. This copy is inscribed by the author. Item 40. $15,000.

 

It has been called the worst natural disaster ever to hit Europe. An earthquake struck southern Italy on December 28, 1908, at a magnitude of 7.1. The cities of Messina and Reggio Calabria were practically leveled. Over 90% of the structures in Messina were either completely destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Estimates of the death toll were in excess of 100,000, 75,000 in Messina. Thousands were crushed under falling buildings, others trapped in the rubble. If this wasn't enough, a tsunami followed, three waves, which inundated many of the destroyed structures, crashed boats upon the shore, and drowned thousands of others, including many who fled to the beach to avoid collapsing buildings. Item 29 is Messina e Reggio e dopo il terremoto del 28 Decembre 1908, published by the Societa Fotografica Italiana in 1909. It records the destruction caused by the quake in over 500 photographs. Some show the cities prior to the earthquake for a chilling comparison. This is a presentation copy, given by the President of the Italian Photographic Society to King Victor Emmanuel III. Society President Luigi Castelani has marked the limitation statement in manuscript "copy n.1." The King visited the site two days after the earthquake to lend aid. Item 29. $1,500.

 

This is not specifically an earthquake item, though it is related to one. Item 87 is Old Chinatown: a book of pictures by Arnold Genthe with text by Will Irwin.. Genthe wandered the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown, apparently becoming something of a fixture as the subjects of his photographs appear unaware of his presence. Irwin writes that Genthe was "unconsciously, all that time, the sole recorder of old Chinatown." Genthe himself notes that "the Old Chinatown, the city we loved so well, is no more." The explanation for these comments is that Genthe's photographs predated 1906. That was the year of the San Francisco earthquake, that eradicated old Chinatown from the face of the earth. On a more positive note, Genthe adds, "A new City, cleaner, better, brighter, has risen in its place." Offered is a 1913 second edition, the first having been published in 1908. Item 87. $375.

 

Here is another photo book depicting a life gone by. Item 19 is The English at Home, by German photographer Bill Brandt. This is a first American edition, published in 1936. Brandt came to England shortly before the Second World War and traveled around the country, photographing cities and countryside, rich and poor, whatever he found. Often, what is noticeable are the contrasts. In the introduction, Raymond Mortimer notes, "He seems to have wandered about England with the detached curiosity of a man investigating the customs of some remote and unfamiliar tribe." $700.

 

Bernard Quartitch Ltd. may be reached at +44 (0)20 7297 4888 or rarebooks@quaritch.com. Their website is www.quaritch.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <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.

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