Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2005 Issue

Extraordinary Autographs and Manuscripts from the 19th Century Shop

Apollo

Texas flag carried to the moon on cover of latest 19th Century Shop catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Those familiar with the 19th Century Shop know that they offer extraordinarily important signed and manuscript material. Their recently issued catalogue 107 is no exception. The handwritten and signed items herein cover leaders in politics, science, arts and sports from the past few centuries. Here are just a few of the people who wrote or signed the material in this latest catalogue: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Millard Fillmore (how'd he get in here?), Winston Churchill, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Albert Camus, J.R. Tolkien, James Joyce, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, William Harvey, Babe Ruth, and the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices of 1956 (these were the gentlemen who decided the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case desegregating schools). So much for the namedropping. Here are a few of the items the 19th Century Shop is offering, but you will need to contact them for a catalogue to learn about them all.

Where better to start than with the great emancipator and savior of his nation, Abraham Lincoln. In response to the President's call to the states for troops in the early days of the Civil War, Col. Richard Goodwin of New York raised a regiment of volunteers. He notified the President, who on June 25, 1861, wrote this letter to the Secretary of War. In it he informs the Secretary that he has no objection to accepting their service. Goodwin's recruits would become Company A of the New York 59th Infantry. The New York 59th would face Pickett's furious charge in the heart of the Battle of Gettysburg, helping to withstand the Confederates in the campaign which signaled the beginning of the end for the Rebellion. They would absorb casualties of 60% of their men, but their enormous sacrifices would prove critical to Lincoln's cause of saving the Union. This autographed letter is priced at $48,000.

For those who collect Revolutionary War era presidents, here are signed books from the libraries of the first three. There is The Adventures of Gil Blas from George Washington's library, with his "G Washington" on the title page. From John Adams there is the History of England by David Blume, with Adams' autograph also on the title page. For Thomas Jefferson, there is Montaigne's Les Essais... with Jefferson's characteristic "TJ" before the book's signature. This was one of the few books Jefferson retained in his personal collection after most of his library was transferred to the new Library of Congress. The price for all three is $100,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions