Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2019 Issue

Sample Catalogues from Zephyr Used & Rare Books

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Sample Catalogues from Zephyr Books.

Zephyr Used & Rare Books has created a catalogue of catalogues - Sell! Sell! Sell! Catalogue of Sample Catalogues. Most of these are those thick folders of samples, photographs, literature and such that salesmen took around to their clients. Others were intended for display, to help those clients sell their merchandise through to their customers. As Zephyr notes, in the days before digital presentations, salesmen needed these to provide images of products, their colors, in some cases tactile representations of products like fabrics. This is a thick catalogue, more than you might expect for 189 items, but since these samples were often thick and complex themselves, lengthy descriptions are often necessary. Zephyr also provides us with numerous photographs to enhance the descriptions. You could say this is a bookseller's sample catalogue. Here are a few samples of these samples

 

Here is sample catalogue for a product that has evolved in ways that never would have been imagined when this was produced circa 1902-1905. Item 125 is a photographic sample catalogue for the S. H. Couch Company, manufacturers of telephones and telephonic equipment. These phones won't provide access to the internet. You'll have to actually talk to the person on the other side, there being no keypads for text messaging. Voice recognition came only when the local operator recognized your voice. Operator assistance was needed back then. These phones didn't even have rotary dials yet. The closest thing to a mobile phone was one designed to be set on a table, which presumably could be moved as far as its cord would allow. Others were designed to be nailed to the wall. Each has a microphone attached to the body of the phone, while the earpiece is separate, on a cord, allowing for some movement of it. S. H. Couch Co. of Quincy, Massachusetts, remained in business all the way until 1985, though in later years it specialized in fire alarms. Samuel Couch himself lived until 1954, long enough to see rotary dial phones, one-piece microphone-earpiece "hooks," and private lines, but not Princess phones. Priced at $650.

 

If you are looking for a classy new suit, where else would you go but Sears? Unlike many of the companies represented in this catalogue, Sears is still around, though barely clinging to life. Mine closed recently. Hopefully yours is still hanging in there. Even in 1910-11, Sears, or then Sears, Roebuck & Co., did not represent the epitome of high fashion, but every regular person shopped there, and those in the countryside bought from their catalogues. Item 61 is a salesman's sample catalogue with not only pictures, but mounted fabric samples, including wool, silk blends, corduroy and more. It features tailored men's suits, and I imagine it's been awhile since Sears did much individual tailoring. They did sell mostly "Ready Made Clothing," but you could still turn to Sears for individual cuts. There are also vests, overcoats, hats and such with the suits. This catalogue of Men's Fall and Winter Clothes Tailored to Measure for the 1910-1911 season can be seen on the cover of Zephyr's catalogue. $675.

 

You may be able to live without telephones and suits, but everyone needs donuts. Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia, figured that out around 1920 and developed a huge, if now mostly forgotten, or eclipsed donut business. He had a bakery in Harlem and realized the pastry had been popular among troops during the war. He put them on display and soon found he could not keep up with demand. Levitt responded by inventing a donut machine that could roll them out in large quantities. He began selling his machines to others. That led to his brand, Downyflake Doughnuts, and their popularity was such that he began franchising the brand. Item 105 is a Downyflake franchise promotional, with tipped-in photographs of his donut machine (he called the company Doughnut Machine Corporation of America). It also displays various promotional items available to franchisees, including hand-outs to be included with a box of donuts. This promotional was published circa 1932, and at 5 cents, donuts were hot items even during the Depression. Levitt would eventually have 400 franchises, to whom he sold both machines and ingredients, and also opened a chain of Mayflower Coffee Shops, which sold other foods along with his donuts. These were all over the country, including major locations such as New York's Time Square. Adolph Levitt died in 1953, and the company passed to his children. It changed its name to DCA Industries. DCA was purchased in 1970, and was sold to a succession of corporate buyers over the years, some not well-known, others major names such as Allied-Lyons, Pillsbury, and General Mills. It probably represents some small portion of General Mills' DNA but is indistinguishable from other parts of the company today. Meanwhile, the once popular Mayflower Coffee Shops closed down around 1970. There still remains but one Downyflake Doughnut Shop, operating in Nantucket, Massachusetts. $1,950.

 

If for some incomprehensible reason you don't like donuts, perhaps you would prefer some selections from Libby's Canned Meats. Item 108 is a sales sample catalogue from Libby, McNeill & Libby. The idea was that their salesmen could show samples of the product cans without having to carry all the cans around with them. Considering this was 1890, the salesmen couldn't stick the cans in the back of a car, so having a book of images instead was far more practical. Along with some more commonplace meats such as corned beef and ham, Libby's offered pigs feet, ox tongues, oxtail soup, cottage head cheese, jellied hocks, and sheep's tongues. Someone please pass the donuts. $450.

 

This next item is something of a surprise. It is a direct to the consumer, or mail order catalogue for a large product. It is a catalogue of carriages from the Ohio Carriage Mfg. Co. of Columbus. Ohio Carriage was operated by Harry C. Phelps, and his mail order shipping was designed to make his carriages cheaper than other comparable ones. I'm not sure how the mailman delivered one of these things, but obviously that had all been figured out. What is surprising to me about this catalogue is its date, Split Hickory Vehicles for 1916. Was there still a market for horse-drawn carriages in 1916? Evidently so, but Zephyr tells us that after the war, they began producing truck bodies, radio cabinets, and other goods. Item 33. $325.

 

Item 180 is another salesman's sample catalogue for a product you are in no hurry to buy. It is for the Freedom Casket Company, with images of over 125 wooden and metal caskets, for adults and children. The name was not chosen to represent finally being free of your burdens. It simply states the company's location - Freedom, Pennsylvania. The company is now long gone and buried too, but I imagine that all these years later, their products are still out there quietly performing the task for which they were created. $750.

 

Zephyr Used & Rare Books may be reached at 360-695-7767 or zephyrbook@gmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <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.
  • <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.

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