Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2019 Issue

Catalogue XXVIII of Unusual Material from Samuel Gedge, Ltd.

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XXVIII.

Samuel Gedge Ltd. has published their Catalogue XXVIII. Typical of a Gedge catalogue, it is filled with unusual items, most several centuries old. Few are book length. There are more documents, both printed and manuscript, including personal letters, diaries, business ledgers, posters, newspapers, sketches, and even a few non-paper ephemeral items. These are always fascinating catalogues filled with things you would not expect to still exist all these years later. Here are a few examples.

 

We begin with a document attesting to a prisoner exchange, one British prisoner for one Spanish one. It is actually a private deal. The Spanish prisoner was Don Juan de Villacreces. He had been captured by English privateer William Keynell, who was holding him as a prisoner in London. Keynell was not looking to hold onto his prisoner. Rather, he was seeking ransom. However, having had his valuables seized, de Villacreces was unable to pay the ransom. So, Keynell made a deal with his prisoner. He agreed to free de Villacreces on the condition the latter arranged for the freedom of his brother-in-law, William Hervey, being held on the island of Madeira. Keynell was not going to give de Villacreces his freedom on the honor system. A second Spanish prisoner, Domingo de Valdes, who had paid his ransom, was required to stay in London until de Villacreces freed Hervey. This document was signed in 1591, and de Villacreces evidently kept his part of the bargain as Hervey was involved in the British capture of Cadiz in 1596. Item 7. Priced at £7,500 (British pounds, or approximately $9,478 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have a papal bull from 1631, issued by Pope Urban VIII. The title is S.D.N.D. Urbani divina providencia papae VIII. Suppressio praetensae Congregationis Jesuitissarum. It is a suppression of a women's Catholic organization modeled on the Jesuits. It was founded by Mary Ward, an English Catholic woman who joined a convent in Flanders to avoid persecution in her homeland. However, she tired of the cloistered life and believed she could better serve her faith in a more active role. She was obviously a magnetic figure as she was able to set up schools and organizations for women around Europe. Her activities drew both praise and condemnation within the church. The good works were appreciated, but in those days, the male dominated church believed women should stay behind their convent walls and leave the rest to the menfolk. Urban showed Mary her place, and since it was no longer a convent, he chose prison. However, she was not held there long, and while her role for the remainder of her life was greatly diminished, she was able to carry on her mission to some degree. Eventually, the church came around and Ward was declared "venerable" by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, the first step toward possible canonization. Item 85. £950 (US $1,196).

 

Item 46 is a state bond, issued in 1833, headed United States of America. State of Mississippi. Agreement and coupons relating to the payment of interest in London on the Mississippi State Bond... Payment was to be made of 6% interest per year, two semi-annual payments of $30 on this bond with a face value of $1,000. Payments were to be made in either London or New York, the London location as Mississippi found Europe a better place to peddle its bonds. It sounded like a good deal but it wasn't. Interest payments were made until 1841 when the state defaulted on them. The bonds remained in limbo until 1853 when the people of Mississippi made the easy call. In a referendum, they voted to repudiate the bonds. They even added a clause to the state constitution forbidding payment of interest on the bonds. No more payments would ever be made again. This case came before the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1993, over 150 years after the default. The court ruled that since the state constitution only forbade paying interest, the statute of limitations had long ago expired on collecting the the borrowed money. Again no luck for the bondholders. But, there is one saving grace for those who have been holding onto these bonds for 150 years. They are now worth at least a decent amount of money as collectors' items. Item 46. £350 (US $440).

 

If you had been alive the week of January 4, 1830, and living in London, you would have had a chance to see "an entirely new serio-comic Indian burletta spectacle" at the Theatre Royal Adelphi. Alas you were not, so you will probably never have such an opportunity. But, you have a chance to own the playbill for it. This huge playbill is elephant folio in size, most appropriate for the Elephant of Siam and the Fire Fiend! The Elephant of Siam was indeed a live elephant, and while that would not be quite that spectacular today, we all having seen lots of circus and zoo elephants, they were still an unusual and amazing sight to people in 1830. This one was named Mademoiselle D'Jeck and she had first appeared in Paris the previous year (Gedge notes she passed on in 1837). Still, there were many more performers including Siamese youth dancers, a pageant, a mystic cave fiend, throne of fire, and so on, but the elephant was the star of the show. Item 80. £2,500 (US $3,147).

 

Item 12 is a will, and a most unusual one at that. Gedge notes that "This will seems to have been a literary curiosity even in the seventeenth century." It was written in 1666 in Canterbury either by or on behalf of one Thomas Moore. What is unusual is that the will is written in rhyming verse. Perhaps the idea was to add some lightness to what otherwise would have been a gloomy event. For example, here are a few lines:

 

"I next bequeath my body to the dust

From whence it Came, which is no more than just.

Desireing yet that it bee laid close by

my eldest daughter though I say not why,

And leave my Grandchild Martha but her due

my Lands and all my Chattells save a fewe

you shall hereafter in this schedule finde

to pyetye or Charitye designed,"

 

As for the rest of the story, Moore appointed four trusted friends to supervise Martha's inheritance. He also required that her second son, should she have one, live in Moore's house and the son adopt the name "Moore." That seems a small price to pay for what must have been a generous inheritance. He also named an alternative beneficiary should Martha die before becoming of age or marrying. Martha must have been at least 13 years old at the time as Moore's eldest daughter, also named Martha (Appleton), died in 1653. We also know that Thomas Moore died a year later, as granddaughter Martha erected a monument in the cemetery to her grandfather, Thomas Moore, "who passed happily to a better world on the 7th of November 1667." Item 12. £1,250 (US $1,572).

 

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or rarebooks@samuelgedge.com. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <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.
  • <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 €

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