Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2006 Issue

Rare and Obscure Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser94

David Lesser's 94th catalogue of Rare Americana.


By Michael Stillman

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books
has issued their 94th catalogue of Rare Americana. This follows the pattern of most Lesser catalogues - obscure imprints from American colonial times roughly to the era of Reconstruction. The issues of the day, political, religious, moral, economic, and such are discussed by the people of the land from different points of view. These catalogues provide a look into the minds of Americans in the nation's formative years. However, this catalogue is distinguished from previous ones in one way - it is filled new obscurities, items we have not seen before. Lesser's catalogues are a must for Americana collectors, and this is no exception. Here are some samples.

Pre-Civil War politics is a personal favorite, as it's fascinating, with the benefit of hindsight, to watch the country try to avoid the almost inevitable conflagration barreling down upon it. Perhaps the cleverest political strategy during this period was that of Zachary Taylor, who got himself elected by saying nothing about the critical issues of the day. You could attribute to him whatever beliefs you wished. Typifying the General's campaign strategy is this eight-page pamphlet from 1848, Gen. Taylor's Moral, Intellectual, & Professional Character. In it, the writers attest to his "simplicity of manners, his humanity, his indomitable courage, his fearlessness, his firmness and determination, his condescension and familiarity, his vigilance in protecting his soldiers against imposition...his goodness of heart and kind feelings, and his punctuality in correspondence..." We know everything about Zachary Taylor, and yet we know nothing. He is punctual in responding to letters, but where does he stand on the issues? That is just how he wanted it, and it swept him into office. Item 37. Priced at $250.

Here is a family political dispute that managed to find its way into print. It is The Voter's Path to Duty in 1856. A Letter from Professor J.P. Dake, Addressed to C.M. Dake, M.D... Included with it is his brother's reply. Professor Dake was an avid supporter of the Republican candidate, John C. Fremont. He believes the Republicans will hold the line on compromises with the slave power that have been tearing apart the nation's unity. Dr. Dake, on the other hand, supported Millard Fillmore, candidate of the Know-Nothing Party. He argues in this testy exchange that his brother's "Freedom Screechers" threaten the Union. Ultimately, this family argument proved futile, as both of their candidates lost to James Buchanan. Item 32. $500.

Dr. Dake wasn't the only Know-Nothing with disdain for General Fremont. This pro-Fillmore 1856 Know-Nothing pamphlet is titled Fremont's Romanism. The pamphlet claims Fremont is a Roman Catholic, come to rule on behalf of the Church. It gives nineteen evidences that he is a Catholic, such as, "He was seen to dip his hand in holy water and cross himself in a Roman Catholic church." This seems unlikely, but if true, Fremont was probably just trying to get votes from the parishioners. Item 43. $250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Mary Anning. Autograph letter signed, to William Buckland, 24 November 1834. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Bolyai. <i>Scientiam spatii absolute veram exhibens,</i> Maros Vásárhelyi, 1832-1833, 2 volumes, half calf. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Vesalius.<br><i>De humani corporis fabrica,</i> Basel, 1555, modern crushed burgundy morocco. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Copernicus.<br><i>De revolutionibus orbium coelestium,</i> Nuremberg, 1543, later boards, Rostock duplicate. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Payan-Dumoulin. Profusely illustrated manuscript of fossils, France, c.1875-1979. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph letter signed, to his son Albert, 4 November [1915]. £10,000 to £15,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Alken (Henry), after. Salmon Fishing; Fishing in a Punt; Pike Fishing, three works, 1820. £600 to £800.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Early Images of Angling.- Hollar (Wenceslaus) Angling; River Fishing; and Salmon Fishing, after Francis Barlow, 3 engravings, [c. 1671]. £500 to £700.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Rolfe (Henry Leonidas). <i>Studies of Fresh Water Fish,</i> 1851. £500 to £700.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Morland (George), After. A Party Angling; The Anglers' Repast, a pair, mezzotints, 1789. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Pollard (James), After. Bottom Fishing; Anglers Packing Up, etchings with aquatint, 1831. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Angling's Age of Romance.- Sayer (Robert, publisher) & J. Bennett. The Angelic Angler, mezzotint, 1781; and another. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire.- London.- Roberts (Piercy). Patience at Paddington or angling in the Junction Canal, etching after Woodward, 1807; together with Woodward's 'Angling at Sadler's Wells', and another, 1794. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire - Cats Fishing.- Seymour (Robert). Waltonizing or - Green-land Fisherman, [c. 1830s]; together with 3 lithographs of cats fishing, [c. 1830s]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Portraits.- Zoffany (Johan), After. Master James Sayer, at the age of 13, mezzotint by Richard Houston, 1772. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Wilkinson (Norman). Come to Britain for Fishing, lithographic poster, [c. 1947]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Scottish Fishing.- Heath (William). Sporting in the Scottish Isles no. III. Salmon Fishing, 1835; and another. £150 to £200.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Simpson (Joseph). The Border Angler, drypoint, [c. 1927]. £150 to £200.

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