Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2007 Issue

Law and Legal History from the Lawbook Exchange

Catalogue 48 from the Lawbook Exchange


By Michael Stillman

The Lawbook Exchange
has issued its Catalogue 48 of Recent Acquisitions. The Lawbook Exchange mixes scholarly legal treatises with law-related works more accessible to the general public. Whether looking for useful information for a legal practice, or building a collection related to the law or interesting/entertaining legal cases, you will find valuable material in this catalogue. Along with the many antiquarian works offered, the Lawbook Exchange also provides current works of legal scholarship. Here are a few of the new acquisitions now available.

Item 16 is a set of first editions of perhaps the most famous of English legal treatises, Commentaries on the Laws of England, better known as simply Blackstone's Commentaries. Identifying true first editions of this set can be a bit tricky, as second and third editions of the first and second volumes were published before first editions of the third or fourth. This set includes the first editions of all four volumes, including the Supplement, which was printed after the first edition of volume one, but before the second. Now that this has been cleared up, we can say that the Commentaries were the most important law books of 18th century England, and of pre-Revolutionary America. They were extremely important in the formation of law in independent America. The first editions of the four volumes were published between 1765 and 1769. Priced at $15,000.

Item 38 includes the first official printings of some of the most hated of all laws ever passed in America, the Alien and Sedition Acts. These acts enabled the government to stifle free speech and deport aliens it did not care for. They ended up doing more to turn the people against the Federalists who controlled the government than to quiet opposition. President Adams would be swept from office in 1800 and the Federalists would never hold national office again, completely disappearing two decades later. Offered is Volume 4 of The Laws of the United States of America. In Four Volumes. This volume, which contains other laws, including a 1798 treaty with the Cherokee Indians, was a continuation of a three-volume set completed in 1796. $200.

For those more interested in scandal than scholarship, item 40 includes 1719 editions of The Case of Impotency, by George Abbot, and The Tryal of Mervin Lord Audley...For A Rape and Sodomy, probably written by Edmund Curll. Curll specialized in pornography covered by a veneer of law or theology to make it appear respectable. The former recounted a trial in which "Lady" Essex claimed her husband was impotent as a reason for divorce. The claim was false and used to cover an affair she was having with the Earl of Somerset. The trial included an explicit discussion of the Earl and Lady's genitalia, definitely an extra-legal topic. The more graphic second volume describes the trial of a nobleman engaged in bisexual relations with his servants. He was said to have ordered his servants to rape his wife, at times assisting by holding her down. The Lawbook Exchange describes this as a "highly embellished account." And you thought all books about the law were dry! $1,500.

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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