Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2022 Issue

Fine Literature from Whitmore Rare Books


Catalogue 24 from Whitmore Rare Books.

Whitmore Rare Books has published their Catalogue 24. It offers a selection of great literature, from the 15th to the 20th century, covering a wide range of topics. You will recognize most of the books and authors as they are household names. These are important and highly collectible books worthy of the finest collections. These are a few samples.


First up is sort of a finality, The Grave, A Poem. It was written by a Scottish poet, Robert Blair. It is a poetic bit of philosophy from a cemetery, a type of work that had a certain appeal in its day but not much in ours. Blair only produced three works, the other two of no significance. This was his masterpiece, but most critics today would consider it a masterpiece only because of the paucity of competition. Still it was not only popular in the decades after first published (1743) but very much today. Why? It turns out this edition was illustrated by a real master, William Blake. Blair never knew because he died 11 years before Blake was born. Many years later, publisher Robert Cromek decided to publish a new edition of the epic poem and hired Blake to create the illustrations. He created 40 of them of which Cromek selected 20 for inclusion. That is why this edition is so valuable, while others are of much less interest. This copy is from the quarto edition. Item 8. Priced at $3,950.


Quick, name a poem. The Raven, right? I'm a mind-reader. Actually, that one was too easy. There isn't another poem as well-known, at least in America. Even its author, Edgar Allan Poe, realized he had written one for the ages when he created it. He declared it “the greatest poem ever written” even before it was published. One like it has nevermore been written. Nevertheless, the modest Poe wrote in the book containing the The Raven, “In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in this volume of much value to the public, or very creditable to myself.” Since it is not an epic length poem, it appeared in a book of poetry, The Raven and Other Poems. It was published in 1845. Item 50 $45,000.


This is the second most expensive item in the catalogue and yet its writer is not even known for being an author. Go figure. He was a musician. That would be John Lennon, the Beatle. This is his Bag One portfolio, with a collection of 13 prints, each signed by the artist in pencil. The prints along with the title page and a poem are in a brown card folder, all in a white vinyl carrying case. It is labeled in bold lettering BAG ONE. There were 300 sets created in 1970, it following John and Yoko's “bed-in for peace.” They spent a week in bed in an Amsterdam hotel in 1969 with guests invited while they pleaded (unsuccessfully) for peace in the world. The drawings were taken to London for a showing only to have eight seized for obscenity. They may be erotic in nature but these are hardly realistic portrayals of humans. Lennon was a great artist, but music artist, not portrait artists. You have to imagine. Item 41. $150,000.


This is one of the more bizarre signed books you will find. It is The Love Letters of Mark Twain, written by, of course, also known by his actual name of Samuel Clemens. It was published in a limited edition of 155 numbered copies in 1949. This is #30. Remarkably, Twain was born in 1835, making him 114 years old at the time. Even more amazingly, he died in 1910, meaning he was gone 39 years by then. How did he do this? The signatures, and he has signed both as Mark Twain and S. L. Clemens, are genuine. Twain had a great sense of humor, but coming back from the dead was not one of his jokes. Years earlier, Harper and Brothers planned a signed Twain edition. He signed a bunch of blank pages intended to be inserted when printed. They were never used, sitting around Harper for 50 years before someone got the clever idea of putting them in a new book. It's dubious Twain would have approved of this book. It is a compilation of personal love letters he wrote his future wife and then wife Livy between 1868 and her death in 1904. As expected, there is some humor, some seriousness, and some melodrama as when he wrote her after being turned down. He says he can accept it because his life has already been filled with “grief, disaster & disappointment.” It worked as a few months later they were engaged and married in 1870. Item 74. $12,500.


This one is for collectors of incunabula, Questiones Subtilissime... published on June 9, 1497. This is by Albertus de Saxonia (Albert of Saxony). Albert wasn't around to witness this publication as he lived in the 13th century, prior to printing. He was a natural philosopher, focused on logic, particularly in regards to language, and that which happens in nature. He may not have been what we think of as a scientist today, but he was one who began leading us toward scientific study. If his era was part of what we think of as the “Dark Ages,” Albert was one of those began to turn on the light so that the Renaissance could begin a century later. Item 2. $8,000.


Whitmore Rare Books may be reached at 626-714-7720 or info@whitmorerarebooks.com. Their website is www.WhitmoreRareBooks.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Birds.- Gould (John). <i>The Birds of Great Britain,</i> 5 vol., first edition, [1862-]1873. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Canadiana.- Cockburn (Maj. Gen. James Pattison, 1779-1847), After. [Six Landscape of Quebec City and Six Views of Niagara Falls], 2 suites in 1 vol., comprising 12 aquatints, 1833. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> number 218 of 150 copies on verge d'arches, Paris, Shakespeare & Company, 1922. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first paperback edition, signed by the author, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Du Maurier (Daphne). <i>Rebecca,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to her governess, 1938. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Magna Carta.- An exact copy of King John's Great Charter of 1215, transcribed from the fire damaged but legible manuscript in the Cottonian Library, British Library, J. Pine, 1733. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Woolf (Virginia). <i>Mrs Dalloway,</i> first edition, Hogarth Press, 1925. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Tudor exiles opposed to the Marian regime.- Mary I (Queen of England) Letter signed "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, signed at head, titled at head "By the King and Quene", 1556. £8,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> America.- Newfoundland.- Whitbourne (Sir Richard). <i>A discourse and discouery of Nevv-found-land…,</i> second edition, By Felix Kingston, 1622. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>El Ingenioso Hidalgo Do Quixote de la Mancha,</i> 4 vol., Madrid, Por Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1780. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Stubbs (George). <i>The Anatomy of the Horse,</i> first edition, first issue, Printed by J. Purser, for the Author, 1766. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cardiology.- Lower (Richard). <i>Tractatus de Corde item De Motu & Colore Sanguinus et Chyli in cum Transitu,</i> first edition, 1669. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>Initial A on vellum, Cologne around 1300. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Androuet du Cerceau, <i> Bastiments de France,</i> 1607. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>L. de Austria, <i>Compilatio de astrorum scientia,</i> 1489. Est: €9,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>B. Besler, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> around 1750. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br><i>PAN,</i> 1895-1900. Est: €15,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1545. Est: €40,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Schiller, <i>Die Räuber,</i> 1781. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Albers, <i>Formulation : Articulation,</i> 1972. Est: €18,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>G. B. Ramusio, <i>Delle navigationi e viaggi,</i> 1556-1613. Est: €14,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>M. Wied Neuwied, <i>Reise in das Innere Nord-America,</i> 1839-41. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Paolozzi, <i>Bunk,</i> 1972. Est: €25,000

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