Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

First Editions, History, Science and More from The Manhattan Rare Book Company

An untitled catalogue from the Manhattan Rare Book Company.


By Michael Stillman

The Manhattan Rare Book Company
has issued a remarkable catalogue to open the new year. I have searched in vain for a title for this catalogue or even a number. I find none other than the motto: "building fine collections one book at a time." So we will skip the title and move to a description of the contents. What you will find is primarily works of literary or artistic merit, with a few items of politics and history, science, along with some children's books. The greatest concentration is in literary first editions from the best-known authors, but as noted, that is not all. Here are some samples of the 85 items in this extensively illustrated catalogue of important works.

Is there a more popular American poem than Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven? Perhaps, but it doesn't immediately come to mind. Item 37 is a copy of the first appearance of this classic, as it appeared in The American Review in 1845. Poe published under the pseudonym "Quarles," though there was no need to hide behind anonymity with works like this. Manhattan notes that it immediately became one of the most recited poems in the country, though it did little to lift Poe's ever-present financial burden. Offered is a bound volume of the issues of January-June 1845 of The American Review, which contains this poem. Priced at $3,800.

Item 6 is a notable work with a most intriguing inscription. The book is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The inscription states, "To my dearest Marion; hope you enjoy this my dear -- it was written with you in mind." Written with you in mind? In Cold Blood is the story of two criminals who senselessly murder a Kansas farmer, his wife and two children. Just what did Capote have in mind for poor "Marion?" $2,200.

We will continue this Truman Show with Mr. President, William Hillman's record of Harry Truman's presidency. It is inscribed by Mr. President himself to James E. Noland, a congressman from Indiana. Item 63. $1,800.

Galileo was pilloried and almost executed for blasphemy for claiming the Earth was not the center of the universe, but today he is about as controversial as Barney the Dinosaur. Charles Darwin was not so lucky. Some heresies are better able to stand the test of time. Item 16 is Darwin's The Descent of Man, a first edition, first issue from 1871. Darwin had first enunciated his theory of natural selection in the "Origin of the Species," but it was not until this book that he applied his theories in detail to humans. It was also in this work that he first used the "E" word to describe his theory -- evolution. $12,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.

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