Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

Peter Harrington's Books for Display at Masterpiece 2018

14d0abef-25ba-416c-979a-ce96b6730df2

Masterpiece 2018.

Peter Harrington has prepared a catalogue of Items Displayed at Masterpiece 2018 London. Masterpiece is an annual show of the most desirable of material, primarily works of art. It takes a very healthy budget to take something home with you. Fortunately, books generally don't reach the astronomical prices of art, but nonetheless, you will need to be able to buy the best if you attend Masterpiece. That is all you will find. The fair began on June 28, but continues through July 4. Here are a few of the items you will see if you stop by Harrington's display (Stand D4).

 

When asked who is the greatest writer in the English language, my guess is the name that will most be spoken is that of William Shakespeare. His plays are as popular, if not more so, today than when they were written in the early 17th century. However, many of them would have been lost, as they were not published during his lifetime. Thankfully, a few years after he died, some of his friends gathered them up and published the book that would assure they survived, Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. The first four editions are generally referred to now as the "folios," distinguished by their number, and published through the 17th century. The first was published in 1623 and is now practically unobtainable. The earliest still reasonably available is this, the Second Folio, published in 1632. This edition was actually published by five different publishers as each had rights to certain plays, and were released at different dates, but we will leave these complex variations to the experts. This copy comes in a mid-19th century red crushed morroco binding by Hayday. Priced at £275,000 (British pounds, or approximately $365,230 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have one of the great works of fantasy, with the popularity to match its reputation. This is a true first edition from 1726 (with the points to differentiate it from two similar editions of the the same year) of Travels into Several Nations of the World. Like the Shakespeare folios, nobody refers to it by its actual title. This book is known as Gulliver's Travels. It was stated as written by Lemuel Gulliver, but he was no more real than his fantastic adventures. The author was Jonathan Swift. The fantastic lands and beings Gulliver visited have entertained readers of all ages ever since. At the time it was written, explorers were still discovering unknown lands and reporting back to the European public, so the premise was believable, even if the findings were so extreme as not to be. Gulliver was actually more than mere fantasy. There were all sorts of political references to the day, but that has mostly been lost, and few readers would recognize it today. £150,000 (US $199,186).

 

This is an important book in American history combined with an interesting provenance and a couple of notable signatures. The book is A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, by John Adams. Concerning various state and foreign constitutions, it was published in 1787, just as the new country was preparing to write its own constitution. In it, Adams describes that state constitutions and promotes a system of checks and balances, a chief executive, a two-house legislature, and an independent judiciary. The book was influential in both America and Europe. This copy is inscribed by Adams to Richard Henry Lee, with a request that Lee return any comments he had to Adams. Richard Henry Lee was a delegate to the Continental Congress and the initiator of a resolution of independence in June of 1776. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was part of the powerful Lee family of Virginia, many of whom would serve in government offices. His great-grandfather was the first Lee to emigrate to America from England and through him Richard Henry was related to George Washington confidant "Light-Horse Harry Lee" and his son, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. When Lee died, this copy passed to his son Ludwell, who died in 1836. Written and dated in it is the statement "John Strohm's Book" 1846. Above that, and below John Adam's signature, is that of his son and fellow President, John Quincy Adams. Strohm served in Congress with Quincy Adams from 1847-1848 when the latter died. That is likely when it was signed as it is a shaky signature of an aged man. Adams was 80 years old at that time. £110,000 (US $145,904).

 

Here is a book that is much closer to Gulliver than Adams, a work of fantasy, although of a different sort. This one is a children's book, naturally enough for the genre, featuring anthropomorphic animals. Try that word out on the kids. It is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. This is a true first edition, one of the 250 copies Potter had privately printed in 1901. She was unable to find a publisher, but she had enough confidence in her book to publish it herself. She was right. Its popularity was such that Potter did a second private printing and the following year, publisher Frederick Warne picked it up. The rest is history there is no need repeating. £75,000 (US $99,519).

 

We conclude with an amazing archive of material related to John F. Kennedy. The material ranges from Kennedy's first congressional race in 1946 up to his election to the presidency in 1960. The archive was compiled by David Powers, who was a close personal confidant of JFK from that first congressional run until his assassination in 1963. Powers was riding in the Secret Service car behind Kennedy at that tragic moment. Harrington describes Powers as "Kennedy's most intimate friend, advisor, and personal 'fixer.'" JFK's Michael Cohen? With all due respect to Mr. Cohen, Powers was a very different sort of "fixer," just as Kennedy was a different sort of President. The archive contains manuscript drafts, reading copies, related notes and other mementos. Much of it has never been published. There is also an inscribed copy of Kennedy's inaugural address. The reason there are no drafts and notes after the election is that the Presidential Libraries Act encouraged the preservation of presidential records for government collections. This would be mandated in 1978 by the Presidential Records Act, but Kennedy already followed the spirit of the act. Powers was Kennedy's Special Assistant during his presidential years, and later served as Curator of the Kennedy Presidential Library until his retirement in 1994. £375,000 (US $497,759).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions