Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2006 Issue

Literature and Fine Books from Thomas Goldwasser Rare Books

Artistic and literary books from Thomas Goldwasser.


By Michael Stillman

Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books
of San Francisco has issued their 20th catalogue, one that comes in two sections. The first covers artists' books, bookbindings, fine presses and illustrated books. The second part focuses on printed and manuscript literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. What you can expect to find here are either artistic or important literary works when it comes to printed material. There are numerous first editions of works by important authors, and many are signed or inscribed. Condition is almost always at the highest level for books of their age. Among the manuscripts, you will find typescripts of original works and letters from significant writers. This is a catalogue which will appeal to anyone who collects within the areas of artistic books and literature. A few samples of what is offered follow.

Item 25 is both an artistic book and a major American historical source. This is the third octavo edition of Thomas McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America, published in 1855. Thomas McKenney had served as Director of the Office of Indian Affairs under John Quincy Adams, but when Andrew Jackson came to power, he was dismissed. He had already become convinced that Indian culture was quickly disappearing as the West was rapidly settled, so the unemployed McKenney took it as his mission to preserve that culture before it was too late. With James Hall, he produced this three-volume combination of text and drawings of Indians, both chiefs and ordinary members of the tribe. Unfortunately, most of the original drawings were destroyed in a fire at the Smithsonian, but their reproductions in the various editions of the book survive. This third octavo, designed to be within the financial reach of Americans unable to afford the folio, is generally the most colorful of the hand-colored editions. All of the early editions are quite valuable today. Priced at $35,000.

Item 93 is an excellent example of great literature and a great investment. The Sound and the Fury was William Faulkner's first critically acclaimed novel, though he had published a few before. It tells of the decay of a once prosperous Mississippi family in the decades after the Civil War. It was a theme Faulkner would revisit in the years following its publication in 1929. This book is also a good lesson in long-term investing. While 1929 was not a great year to be buying things, anyone who purchased this book, with its $3 price tag, and held on, did quite well for himself. Currently priced at $15,000.

Here is another first edition about Mississippi, but in this case it's the river. It is Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi. This is a true first edition, published by Chatto and Windus in London in 1883 (the first American edition came later). It retells both Twain's early days running a steamboat on the Mississippi, and his later return. Purchase this and the preceding title, and you may well own books by the two greatest southern authors. Item 206. $1,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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