Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2019 Issue

Catalogue XXVIII of Unusual Material from Samuel Gedge, Ltd.

320bbc42-8bf8-4f4a-b449-506fc1caffcf

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

  • <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.
  • <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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions