Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2008 Issue

Fifty Recent Acquisitions from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

Shapero50

Fifty fabulous new acquisitions from Bernard J. Shapero.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has issued a new catalogue in its "50" series: 50 Recent Acquisitions. This one covers "literature, medicine, colour plate, natural history, cartography, economics, photography." Shapero has issued a series of spectacular illustrated catalogues, each one focused on just fifty very special items. While others have been topical, this one covers a wide variety of types of books. Here are a few samples from this latest fifty.

Item 14 was a massive undertaking which, when completed, represented one of the greatest statements of liberty ever created. It is the Encyclopedie of Denis Diderot. It started as a more limited project, but Diderot determined to expand it to not only a collection of all of the knowledge of the world, but a book that would provide the thoughts of the great writers and thinkers of the time. It came to be a statement of such values as freedom, democracy, and religious tolerance, ideas not practiced in very many places at the time. It even found itself banned at one point, but Shapero notes that it is "probably the most important work of enlightenment thought." It was published in 35 volumes from 1751-1780. Priced at £55,000 (British pounds, or U.S. equivalent of approximately ($109,241).

Item 9 offers another large collection: The Writings, an anthology of the writings of Mark Twain, at least as of 1899. It was published in London (as were some of Twain's first editions) in this Edition de luxe, a decorative 25-volume set in a limited edition of 620 copies. It was signed by the author as "SL Clemens," with a parenthetical "Mark Twain." £7,250 (US $14,403).

Here is one more huge collection, but of a different sort. Item 48 is a collection of words. It is an 1828 first edition of An American dictionary of the English language, by Noah Webster. Webster wrote the 70,000 entries himself, adopting usage and spellings common to America, rather than relying on Johnson's dictionary. It was an immediate success and the updated editions of Webster's are still the standard today. Item 48. £7,500 (US $14,897).

From collections of words and thoughts we go to a collection of maps. Item 6 is a six-volume set of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum... a Latin edition of the great atlas published in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu. This is a massive compendium of maps published 1648-1655. It features hand coloring and 400 engraved maps. £150,000 (US $297,953).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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