Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2019 Issue

A Melbourne Fair Catalogue from Douglas Stewart Fine Books

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Melbourne 2018.

Douglas Stewart Fine Books published a catalogue for Melbourne 2018. That was the book fair recently held in Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, there is much that would be of interest to an Australian collector, but this is not a catalogue of Australian material. Historic material covers a wider range, mainly Asia and the Pacific. Other items, particularly in the arts, extend to Europe and America (such as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol). This is a varied and fascinating catalogue, one easy to appreciate. Here are a few selections.

 

We begin with one of the earliest European travelers to Asia. Marco Polo headed east from his home in Venice with his father and uncle in 1271. He did not return until 24 years later. Item 2 is the third Spanish edition of his travels, Libro del famoso Marco Polo Veneciano... published in 1529. His travels took him through Arabia, the Holy Land, Turkey, Persia, China and Tibet. His account, for the first almost two centuries available only in manuscript form, was for years the only reasonably reliable source of information for Europeans on this part of the world. Conflicts on the Italian peninsula led to Polo being imprisoned until 1299, affording him time to write his account. This edition was translated by Rodrigo Fernandez de Santaella, who has included the account of 15th century traveler Nicolo Conti, who visited some of the same lands. It also contains Santaellas Cosmographia. Santaella had concluded very early on that the East and West Indies were separate lands, not the same one approached from different sides. He so concluded based on differences between natural resources and the environment of the two places. He also believed that "Antilla" was a corruption of "Antindia," meaning the opposite of India. Priced at AU $220,000 (Australian dollars, or approximately $157,840 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have a study of the fruit that led to the most famous sea mutiny in history. It was not the breadfruit's fault. Item 9 is Vom Brodbaum (on the breadfruit) by Georg Forster, published in 1784. Forster and his father were naturalists on Captain James Cook's second voyage. The breadfruit was a food staple on the Pacific islands, and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks had brought samples back to Britain on Cook's first voyage. This is a first edition, printed for private distribution in Kassel (Cassel, Germany) where Forster was a professor of natural science. As such, it is quite uncommon. Back in England, Banks had concluded that the large breadfruit would be a great source of food for the slaves in the Caribbean. Banks successfully promoted a mission by the Royal Navy to gather some breadfruit trees in Tahiti and transport them to the Caribbean. Placed in charge of that mission was William Bligh, commander of the not so good ship Bounty. You know the rest. AU $8,500 (US $6,106).

 

Talk about mutinies, this one made the one on the Bounty look like fun. Technically, this was not a sea mutiny. It occurred on land, after the shipwreck of the Batavia. It did result in the publishing of the first images of Australia, but the price was hardly worth it. Here is the terrible story. The Batavia was headed for Batavia (today Jakarta), but was off course when it was wrecked off the western Australian coast in 1629. Forty of the passengers drowned, but around 300 made it to the shore of a couple of islands. It was an inhospitable site, with little fresh water available. Commander Francois Pelsaert and a few of his men headed for the Australian coast, hoping to find water. They found a dry desert. Realizing the potential for disaster, Pelsaert decided to take the longboat and head for Batavia. It took them 33 days, but the commander was able to secure a rescue ship, with which he rushed back to the location where the survivors were stranded. What Pelsaert found when he returned was beyond shocking. The man he had left in charge, Jeronimus Cornelisz, and his band of mutineers, had initiated a reign of terror on their fellow survivors. Over 110 men, women, and children had been murdered by the mutineers, the women made into sex slaves. Cornelisz quickly killed anyone he feared might be a threat to his rule. Fortunately, when Pelsaert returned, a few of the survivors, left on an island to die, reached him first and told the commander the grisly news. Justice prevailed. The worst of the mutineers were tried, tortured, and executed on the spot. Cornelisz had his arms cut off with a hammer and chisel before being hanged. Two of the mutineers were dumped off on the Australian mainland, never to be heard from again. Others were returned to Batavia for trial. Pelsaert's book, Ongeluckige voyagie, van't schip Batavia, nae de Oost-Indien, not only recounts this horrific tale, but includes drawings of the west Australian coast, the first European images of Australia. This is an extremely rare first edition, published in 1647. Item 4. AU $400,000 (US $287,360).

 

Item 36 is a photograph album from the maiden voyage of the German warship SMS Bismarck in 1879-1880. The photographs document visits to Patagonia, Samoa, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Tonga, Fiji, Sydney, Peru, and the Falkland Islands. The photographer was Claus Franzen, and while Stewart has been able to locate many others of his photographs, they have not found a comparable portfolio to this. This one was given to Chancellor Bismarck himself, possibly by the ship's captain when he personally visited with Bismarck on December 26, 1880. The Bismarck was primarily employed during the 1880s during the colonization of Africa. The Bismarck was decommissioned in 1888, and though an overhaul was planned, that plan was abandoned. She then served only as a barracks ship until broken up for scrap in 1920. It should be noted that this was not the same ship as the battleship Bismarck of "Sink the Bismarck" fame, sunken off the French coast during World War II. AU $42,000 (US $30,193).

 

Item 38 is an archive of material relating to the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904. The highlight is an unpublished manuscript by the expedition's meteorologist and hydrographer, Gosta Bodman. It also contains 270 pages of letters Bodman wrote, his journal, and 50 photographs taken on Snow Hill Island, where six of the men were stranded for two years. The mission was a reasonable success in terms of information gathered, but the price was many hardships suffered. Bodman's account describes his observations concerning the environment, descriptions of his companions, his scientific findings, and the harsh living conditions and ordeal they endured. They had planned to spend a year on Snow Hill Island, but ended up there for two when the main ship, which was to pick them up, sank. Antarctic winters are not pleasant. Finally, they were rescued by the Uruguay, a rescue ship sent by Argentina. There is also a letter from Bodman to his mother written from the Uruguay. AU $85,000 (US $60,991).

 

Douglas Stewart Fine Books may be reached at +61 3 9066 0200 or info@douglasstewart.com.au. Their website is found at www.douglasstewart.com.au.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> BELON. <i>L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux.</i> Paris : Corrozet, 1555. $17,000 to $23,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> MIOMANDRE – BARBIER. <i>Dessins sur les danses de Vaslav Nijinsky.</i> Paris. 1913. $23,000 to $34,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> HOKUSAI. <i>Fugaku Hyakkei, Edo : Nishimura Yûzô.</i> 1834-1875. $58,000 to $80,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> EDWARDS. <i> <br>A Natural History of Uncommon Birds…</i> London : Printed for the Author. 1743-1764. $35,000 to $46,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> VESALIUS. <i><br> De Humane Corporis Fabrica libri septem...</i> Basle : J. Oporinus. 1555. $58,000 to $80,000
  • <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>Die Französische Expedition gegen Mexico /Beilagen zum Beiheft des Militair - Wochenblattes
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>The Architecture Of M. Vitruvius Pollio. London, 1791.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Estatuto Provisional del Imperio Mexicano. México: Imprenta de Andrade y Escalante, 1865.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Historia de Méjico... México, 1849 - 1852.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Juárez, Benito - Ogazón, Pedro. Legajos de Bandos del Estado de Guadalajara, 1860-1863.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Sigüenza y Góngora, Carlos. Mapa de las Aguas que por el Círculo de 90 Leguas Vienen a la Laguna de Tescuco... Méx, 1748.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Cruces y Campa / Aubert / Valleto. Pareja Imperial, Fusilamiento de Maximiliano, Tipos Mexicanos... ca,1875.
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> NASA archive with 351 photographs, silver & chromogenic prints, 1960-2002. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, suite of 18 cyanotypes, 1910-14. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, <i>Horse Capture, Atsina,</i> unique copper plate for <i>The North American Indian,</i> 1908. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> John Whipple, <i>Harriet Beecher Stowe,</i> salted print from a calotype negative, 1853. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Lewis Carroll, <i>Xie Kitchen,</i> albumen print, circa 1872. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Ansel Adams, <i>Taos Pueblo,</i> limited, signed first edition of the artist's first book, 12 silver bromide prints, 1930. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b><br>JFK in his motorcade about 2 mins before his assassination, chromogenic print, 1963. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Anton Guilio Bragaglia, 6 photomechanical postcards with facsimile signatures, 1911-13, printed 1932. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Société Anonyme, Inc, group of 9 postcards, including 8 real photo postcards, 1920-30. $25,000 to $35,000.

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