Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2017 Issue

Obscure Paper and Books from Long Ago Offered by Samuel Gedge, Ltd.

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XXIV.

Samuel Gedge Ltd. has issued their Catalogue XXIV. There is no further title nor description and I think I understand why. These items are very hard to describe. There are many centuries-old documents and ephemeral items that make you wonder how did this piece ever survive? Papers representing business and personal transactions, rules, personal notes, posters, items rare if not unique when they were first created so long ago. Gedge has somehow managed to find them. That is not to say there are no books here. Gedge also has some 18th and 19th century novels, books long forgotten but appealing to readers of another era. There is even a 1770 French translation of an English novel, The Point of Honor, of which the French version appears to be the only one that has survived. This is certainly an eclectic mix of material and a fascinating look at times of the distance past. Here are a few examples.

 

We begin with a land grant that will entitle you to 30 acres in the "Poyaisian Republic." Good luck finding the place. It is one of many such grants created by one of the greatest confidence schemes in history. It is dated April 5, 1834, and signed by Gregor MacGregor. MacGregor had served in the British army, then joined the fight for independence in Venezuela, earning himself friends in Latin America. His scheme began with supposedly securing 8 million acres of land along the Mosquito Coast of Honduras from King Frederick Augustus. Frederick Augustus was a native "king," but with no power. Nevertheless, MacGregor used this grant to sell parcels of land that he described as idyllic, but were little more than swamps and jungle over which he had no control. A lot of Englishmen went for it, some investing their life savings. Some even went to settle their lands, many dying from disease before the others returned. Still, MacGregor was able to continue the scheme for many years, at one time moving on to France when sales declined. It would not be until 1838, 18 years after it all started, that MacGregor hightailed it to Venezuela, where he was still regarded as a hero. Item 65. Priced at £450 (British pounds, or about $574 in U.S. dollars).

 

Item 1 is Rules and Regulations to be Observed in the Convict Establishment. The "convict establishment" was the prison hulks, old ships at port that were used to house Britain's overflowing prison population. Most of the convicts inhabiting these hulks were destined for transportation out of country, to Australia or other places where the English would no longer have to deal with them. These rules were promulgated in 1840 by John Henry Clapper, then the Superintendent. The rules cover all aspects of prison life, covering the roles of various personnel, daily routines, transfers, visitation, and timing of watch staff. A volvelle (one of those spinning paper dials) enables each numbered watch to determine its duties on that day. Hulks were used from 1776 until 1857 to house prisoners. £2,500 (US $3,192).

 

Item 72 is a printed souvenir in German for Clara, a touring rhinoceros. It would have come from 1746-48 when Clara toured Germany, one of many European countries she visited from 1741-1758. Clara was adopted by a Dutch East India Co. executive after her mother was killed by a hunter, and taken to the Netherlands in 1741. Rhinoceroses were a rarity in Europe in those days, not something found in zoos, so crowds would come out to see such a strange looking animal. This broadside contains a large picture of Clara along with some German copy. Clara died in London in 1758, approximate age 20. £950 (US $1,211).

 

Item 108 is a touching broadside poem To The People Of America from the children of the Wigton School in Cumberland, England, circa 1830. By this time, slavery was long since outlawed in England and was about to be ended in all of its colonies. The emotional words, directed toward the southern states where slavery still reigned, would seemingly touch any human heart. The poem begins:

 

Ye people of America,

So far beyond the wave,

O listen to our earnest prayer,

and liberate the slave!

 

It goes on to speak of the "torturing lash," women's cries of fear, blood mingled with the soil, families torn apart in human auction sales. Sadly, America did not listen to these British schoolchildren's prayer, and paid a heavy price for it. £350 (US $446).

 

Item 41 provides a look at what it was like traveling around Britain in the late 18th and early 19th century. It is a collection of 20 printed bills from various inns dated 1784-1830. Many provide lists of food and drink offered, services available. Some drinks would be hard to find today, such as negus (Gedge tells us it's a mixture of port, hot water, and spices) and bumbo (rum, water, sugar and nutmeg). Services available included "horses hay and corn," "carriage greasing," "paper, cards and postage," "pipes and tobacco," and "servants eating and ale." The fact that offerings were available to servants, and we will presume the quality was not the same as that offered guests, indicates that these were places for travelers of means. No Motel 6's here. £2,500 (US $3,189).

 

Item 12 is a scroll consisting of two conjoined sheets To The Honorable Sir John Shore Bart, from 1798. Bart was leaving his job as Governor-General of Bengal in India and 198 residents of Calcutta wanted to thank him and wish him well. It is a who's who of the most important people of Calcutta at the time, and each has signed the note. While the text describes them as "British inhabitants of Calcutta," there are signatures of several notable foreigners on the list too. £2,750 (US $3,509).

 

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or rarebooks@samuelgedge.com. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 €
  • <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.
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    <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.

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