Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

More Than Just Old and Rare Bibliography from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books

Old and Rare Bibliography 2006 from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books.


By Michael Stillman

The most recent catalogue from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books has just arrived in the New World. Knuf is a Vendome, France, bookselling firm that specializes in antiquarian books (with an occasional more recent title thrown in). Thankfully, for this reviewer, they offer catalogues in English. Many of their offerings are books in English, though various continental languages are present as well, notably, because of the age of many works, Latin. The subject and title of this latest collection is Old and Rare Bibliography 2006.

While the general topic is bibliography, that term may imply a more restrictive group of offerings than are actually presented. This is not just a catalogue of standard type bibliographies. There are numerous auction catalogues, lists of books banned by the Church in prior centuries, library catalogues, items on printing, type, and bindings, and even a treatise on paper-eating insects. This catalogue is definitely more expansive than the term "bibliography" might imply. Here are a few samples.

It is appropriate to begin with a classic book on bibliography and the book arts,The Bibliographical Decameron by Thomas Frognall Dibdin. Dibdin was that early 19th century book enthusiast whose passion for the field set the tone for generations of obsessive collectors to come. In this 1817 first and only edition, he espouses on various topics relating to the book through a course of discussions by imaginary persons. The three volumes include numerous fine illustrations. A few days after publication, Dibdin got a group of friends together and burned the engraved blocks he had used. His explanation was that he wanted to assure that the copies published would always retain their value. Item 23. €1,600 (or US equivalent of approximately $2,102).

Item 4 is the Indenture of Apprenticeship of 19th century publisher George Bentley. Bentley signed on to a seven-year apprenticeship with his father's firm (the document is signed by both Bentleys) at the age of 14. George would go on to run the firm in his adulthood, but after his death, his son sold the company to Macmillan's. In his commitment, Bentley agrees to the terms of the indenture, including "shall not commit Fornication, or contract Matrimony within said Term," nor "play at Cards, Dice, Tables, or any other unlawful Games," nor "haunt Taverns, or Play-houses." Evidently young Bentley, really, really wanted to be a publisher. Either that or these things were more honored in the breach than in reality. €1,150 (US $1,511).

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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