Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

101 Rare Books from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

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Catalogue III from Samuel Gedge Ltd.


By Michael Stillman

Samuel Gedge Ltd.
Has just issued their Catalogue III of rare books. There are a great many London imprints, as befitting a British bookseller, but then again there are items from as far off as Calcutta, Singapore and Macao. This is an interesting collection, covering many topics, but with a common thread of items being both rare and antiquarian. Here are a few of the 101 pieces offered.

Item 1 is a notable psalm book, Annotations upon the book of Psalms, by Henry Ainsworth. Ainsworth was associated with an English separatist church in Amsterdam in the early 17th century. Not surprisingly, his book was favored by pilgrim leaders who sailed to Plymouth. It was a copy of the 1617 second edition of this book, similar to the one here offered, that they took along on the Mayflower. Considering the ship's size, anything taken on the Mayflower must have been very well liked by the pilgrims. Priced at £3,600 (British pounds, or approximately $7,304 US dollars).

Medicine in the 17th century was certainly odd by today's standards, but this is one of the stranger of books of cures: A Late Discourse Made in a Solemne Assembly of Nobles and Learned Men at Montpellier in France; Touching the Cure of Wounds by the Powder of Sympathy... by Sir Kenelm Digby. While I question the effectiveness of his cure, it certainly led the way in pain-free medicine. Rather than treating the wound, Digby favored treating the instrument that caused the wound. It was also reported by a friend that a wound was healed by placing the bloody bandage in the proper solution. While this may sound like quackery today, medicine was quite primitive in 1658. Digby was a respected scientist of the day, a founder of the Royal Society. Item 29. £2,750 (US $5,580.

There were some amazing relics at the cathedral of San Ciarico in Ancona, Italy, around 1700. Item 6 is a broadsheet listing some of those relics: a piece of wood from the True Cross, the metal tip of the Holy Lance, and a thorn from the Crown of Thorns. Such relics are not as rare as might be expected, many churches having them, though some question their authenticity (Calvin once remarked that there were enough fragments of the True Cross to build a ship). The cathedral's inventory also included a finger of St. Thomas the Apostle and a shoulder of Rocco the Confessor. I must confess I don't know Rocco the Confessor. Was he from New Jersey? £225 (US $456).

In the days before people saw space aliens, they saw frightening ghosts. Item 7 is Fearfull apparitions or the strangest visions that ever hath been heard of. It is a spirit that constantly every night haunts one Mr. Young's yard... This ghost showed up regularly at 2:00 in the morning on Lombard Street in London, haunting poor Mr. Young. He was apparently quite noisy, clattering chains and howling like a dog, though at other times whistling and playing music (probably when he was in a better mood). The ghost appeared as an 18-foot tall black man, "with long blacke shagged haire, his eyes as bigge as two ordinary pewter dishes flaming like fire..." Presumably he has moved on, as this book was published in 1647. £550 (US $1,116).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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