Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2005 Issue

24 Travel and Other Items from Hordern House

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Twenty-four rare books, manuscripts and prints from Hordern House.


By Michael Stillman

Hordern House
has issued a brief, yet extensive catalogue of rare books, manuscripts and prints. It is brief in that only 24 items are offered, but each comes with a detailed description and photograph (two quarto pages for each). Naturally, these are all extraordinary items. Hordern House is an Australian bookseller, so there is a concentration of Australian and Pacific material, and most relate to various travels and voyages. However, there are always exceptions. The items range from a 1492 Florence printing of the travels of Sir John Mandeville to 1851 hand-colored lithographs of sketches of the South Sea Islands by Conway Shipley. Here are a few of the items in between.

Certainly one of the most preeminent of all voyagers was Captain James Cook. Cook undertook three voyages to the Pacific region in the 1770s. Scientific experiments along with an attempt to locate what was then believed to be a massive southern continent were foremost on his mind. Cook would go on to do much of the mapping of Australia, and his last expedition would take him to the west coast of America and the Hawaiian Islands (where he was killed by the locals). However, in his earlier days, Cook helped chart the St. Lawrence River in North America. Item 10 is a certificate of discharge from the surveying ship Pembroke for one Thomas Warren, discharged for the very logical reason that he had died. It is signed by both Cook and his mentor aboard ship, Captain John Simcoe. Priced at AU $65,000 (Australian dollars, or US equivalent $50,007).

One of the scientific instruments Cook brought along for testing on his second voyage was John Harrison's clock. A highly accurate clock was needed for determining location. Voyagers were readily able to determine their latitude by measuring the sun's angle at high noon. However, longitude was a problem. To determine longitude, they needed to know the time lapse between high noon at Greenwich and high noon at their current location. This necessitated a highly accurate timepiece to tell Greenwich time. Harrison's development of such a clock was the missing link needed to accurately inform travelers of their location. Item 11 is The Principles of Mr. Harrison's Time-Keeper... This is the first edition in French and English, from 1767, the same year as the first English edition. AU $44,000 (US $33,744).

Also present on Cook's second voyage, along with Harrison's timepiece, was George Vancouver, a boy of just 15. He next served on Cook's final voyage, and about ten years later, was placed in charge of an expedition to the west coast of North America. His legacy includes leaving his name on well-known cities and islands in Canada and Washington State. Despite his many discoveries, Vancouver faced a disciplinary action when he returned and ended his life in obscurity.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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