Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

First Contact from Shapero Rare Books

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First Contact from Shapero Rare Books.

Shapero Rare Books has printed a compact catalogue of First Contact. Rather than Shapero's usual large and highly detailed catalogues, this twelvemo size selection contains photographs and only brief descriptions. However, it is filled with many of history's pioneering accounts of travel and exploration (hence the title First Contact). This is a handy guide to some of the most significant material in the field presently available at Shapero Rare Books. Here are a few of these selections.

 

The oldest item offered comes from 1483, at the dawn of the Age of Discovery. It is the first edition of Macrobius' In Somnium Scipionis Exposito to contain a world map. Macrobius was a Roman writer from the early fifth century. What is most interesting is the map, which depicts what was known of the world before Columbus, and even the somewhat earlier Portuguese explorers. Europe is rather narrow, Italy and England identifiable. The continent connects to Asia and goes as far east as India, marginally identifiable. Across the Mediterranean is a narrow band of land named Aphrica. Just below that is more open sea, followed by the antipodes, described as an unknown balancing land. The lower portion is labeled "frigida," a frigid place establishing that the bottom of the Earth, like the top, is cold. What we know today as Russia is also labeled "frigida." East Asia and the Western Hemisphere are unknown, and no speculation is offered. Priced at $140,000.

 

Here is someone who could have told us more about Asia in 1483... maybe. Tractato bellisimo... is a 1492 Florence edition of John Mandeville's travels. Mandeville was supposedly an English knight from the 14th century who visited Asia, Arabia, and parts of northeastern Africa. At least, that's what his account, which was circulated in numerous manuscripts before the age of printing, claimed. By the 1480s, his account became the most well-read travelogue printed, with numerous editions appearing. However, it is dubious whether Mandeville even existed. It seems more likely that he was a European who wrote his account based on what he learned from others. Certainly some of it is pure fantasy, but along with Marco Polo, Europeans did not have much else to go on for learning about the world outside of their limited horizons. $52,500.

 

Next we have one of the earlier and better collections of travels and voyages. The title is Delle navigationi et viaggi and its author was Giovannni Battista Ramusio. It contains three volumes. First published in the mid-16th century, these are volumes from 1613, 1606, and 1606. They were the last editions and thereby contain the most complete text. Volume 1 covers, Africa, volume 2 Asia, and volume 3 America. Ramusio's work is highly respected, with even John Locke describing it as the "most perfect work of that nature in any language whatsoever." $110,000.

 

William Broughton first traveled to the Northwest coast of North America with Vancouver in 1791. In 1795, he returned, in command of his own ship. He was to meet up with Vancouver, but was not successful. However, he spent four years exploring. Much of his time was spent around Japan and Russia on the other side of the Pacific, and Hawaii and various islands in between. However, it is his time along the North American coast that is most notable. He sailed along Alaska, visited Nootka Sound, and traveled up the Columbia River (earlier, with Vancouver, they explored the mouth of the river but did not go farther inland). It was Broughton's explorations along the Columbia that led to Britain's later claim to Oregon, eventually resolved by treaty with the United States. He also visited California, but received no more than a chilly reception from the Spanish. The title of Broughton's book is A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean... published in 1804, and it is not only one of the most notable of Pacific Northwest exploration books, but one of the rarest as well. $31,500.

 

This next book does not come from a ship's captain, but from a common seaman. It was a terrible trip, but Archibald Campbell tells us all about it. What's more, he gives us a very thorough look at Hawaii in the early 19th century. The book is titled A Voyage round the World; from 1806 to 1812, in which Japan, Kamschatka, the Aleutian Islands, and the Sandwich Islands, Were Visited, published in 1816. Those were the days when the British still called Hawaii the Sandwich Islands. The bad part came when their ship was wrecked off the coast of Alaska. The men were able to make it to shore, but the journey overland to the nearest settlement in Campbell's waterlogged and frozen boots resulted in severe frostbite. Both of Campbell's feet had to be amputated, along with a couple of fingers. He was sent to Hawaii to recuperate, where he stayed over a year. It gave him an opportunity to become very familiar with life there, resulting in a description that reads more like that of a resident than a visitor. On returning to England, Campbell could no longer sail, so he became an organ grinder on the streets. An editor heard of Campbell's plight, and listening to his story, decided to publish his tale to help him raise funds to pay for his needs. $9,000.

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or jeffrey@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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