Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2009 Issue

Some Giants of Science and Much More from Dragon Books

Dragon8

A fine catalogue filled with fine works from Dragon Books.


By Michael Stillman

We have just received Catalogue 8 from Southern California bookseller Dragon Books. It is a spectacular catalogue with some spectacular offerings. Dragon Books does not specialize in any one particular field. What they do appear to focus on is books in the very best condition. Prices vary from a couple of hundred to a couple of hundred thousand dollars, but the excellence of condition is constant. This is a thoroughly illustrated and thoughtfully described presentation, up to the quality of the books being offered.

We will start with science as Dragon is offering a couple of the most important books in the history of the field. Item 1 is what some consider the most important, and possibly most controversial scientific book ever written, a first edition, first issue, of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection... Darwin's studies had led him to his revolutionary theory of what happened in nature, a logical, scientific explanation, but contrary to the most fundamental beliefs of most people's theology of the day (and still today for many). However, its consistency with observation resulted in a fundamental change in the way people viewed themselves and the world around them. When the book was published in 1859, it sold out this first run of 1,250 in one day, such was the significance of Darwin's findings. Dragon describes their copy, which includes the 32 pages of publisher's advertisements dated June 1859, as "[a] stunning, untouched copy...rare in such exemplary condition!" Priced at $200,000.

If you already have your copy of the Origin, and are looking for a scientific title that rivals Darwin in importance, here is one: Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, by Sir Isaac Newton. Copernicus and Galileo had led the way in discovering the secrets of the universe, most notably, that the bodies in the heavens did not revolve around the Earth. They were able to describe what was happening, but it took Newton to explain why the universe behaves as it does. Newton explained the underlying laws, the rules of motion and gravitation, in the Principia. Item 13 is the rare second issue of the first edition, published in 1687. It has been estimated that 250-300 copies of the first issue were printed, versus only 50 of the second. The bindings of most second issues suggests that these copies may have been set aside to be shipped from England to the continent. $300,000.

We will note briefly that Dragon Books has another giant of science to offer: the first Latin edition of Galileo's Dialogue, which promoted his view of a heliocentric solar system. This was the book that changed how people viewed the universe, while getting poor Galileo placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. Item 6. $50,000.

Item 4 is a fine copy of the first edition, first issue (with first issue dust jacket) of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. This is not a happy tale. It tells of a couple where the wife's mental imbalance eventually brings down her husband. It hit close to home, as at the time of publication (1934), Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda, had been institutionalized. Neither fared well after this, Scott becoming alcoholic, broke, and died six years later, while Zelda spent most of the remainder of her life in institutions before dying in a fire in 1948. $35,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Ricky Jay Collection<br>October 27 & 28, 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 27-28:</b> "Remarkable Persons". A remarkable collection of remarkable characters. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 27-28:</b> Scot, Reginald. A serious debunking witchcraft and demonology. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 27-28:</b> (Buchinger, Matthias). Buchinger's own family tree. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 27-28:</b> Bibrowski, Stephan. Most likely reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 27-28:</b> Kellar, Harry (Heinrich Keller). Kellar loses his head. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b><center>Hindman:<br>Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>November 9-10, 2021
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> HOOKE, Robert (1635-1702). <i>Micrographia: Or Some Psychological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses.</i> London: for James Allestry, 1667. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [THE FEDERALIST PAPERS]. -- [HAMILTON, Alexander, James MADISON and John JAY. <i>The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution…</i> $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> FUCHS, Leonhart (1501-1566). <i>Histoire des Plantes de M. Leonhart Fuschsius, avec les noms Grecs, Latins & Fraçoys.</i> Paris: Arnold Byrkman, 1549. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Hindman:<br>Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>November 9-10, 2021
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800). <i>Histoire naturelle des singes et des makis.</i> Paris: Desray, An XIII [1799-1800]. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [UNITED STATES CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. <i>Journals of the Congress...</i>Volume I (Sept. 5, 1774-Jan. 1, 1776) through Volume XIII (November 1787-November 1788). $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [UNITED STATES CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. <i>The Journals of the Proceedings of Congress. Held at Philadelphia, from January to May, 1776.</i> $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b><center>Hindman:<br>Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>November 9-10, 2021
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [TEXAS]. <i>Map of Bexar County, Texas.</i> San Antonio and Austin: Samuel Maverick & John H. Traynham, 1889. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> GARDNER, Alexander (1821-1882). Imperial albumen Photograph. <i>Scenes in the Indian Country</i> [Fort Laramie]. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> WILLIAMS, H. Noel. <i>Madame Recamier and her Friends.</i> London and New York: Harper & Brothers, 1906. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b><center>Hindman:<br>Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>November 9-10, 2021
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [MOSER, Barry, illustrator]. <i>The Holy Bible. Containing All the Books of the Old and New Testaments.</i> North Hatfield, MA and New York City: Pennyroyal Caxton Press, 1999. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [PRINTS]. MOSER, Barry. Alice in Her Sister’s Reverie. [1982]. 433 x 552 mm. Signed and captioned by Moser in pencil, designated artist’s proof (“ap”). $1,000 to $1,500.
    16 <b>Hindman, Nov. 9-10:</b> [MOSER, Barry, illustrator]. A group of 4 wood-engraved plates for the Pennyroyal Press edition <i>The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.</i> [West Hatfield, MA: Pennyroyal Press, 1985]. $600 to $800.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Pancho Villa, passport for a news correspondent covering the Mexican revolution, signed, 1914. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Nirvana’s <i>Nevermind,</i> CD insert signed & inscribed days after release by Cobain, inscribed by Novoselic, 1991. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Robert Indiana, <i>The Book of Love,</i> complete portfolio, artist’s proof set, 1997. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Marcel Vertés, Colette, <i>Chéri,</i> two volumes, deluxe edition, signed by the artist, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Orlando,</i> first trade edition, first impression, London, 1928. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Mark Twain, receipt for payment of the Mark Twain Public Library Tax, 1908. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> portfolio, collotype plates, 1918. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <center><b>The 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop<br></b>Catalogue 190:<br>Magnificent Books & Photographs<br><b>Free on request</b>
    <b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop:</b> William Shakespeare. <i>The Second Folio</i> (1632).
    <b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop:</b> Abraham Lincoln. Autograph note on Black troops in the Union Army (1865).
    <b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop:</b> Neil Armstrong. The largest known U.S. flag flown to the Moon on Apollo 11 (1969).
    <b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop:</b> William Henry Fox Talbot. <i>The Pencil of Nature</i> (1844-1846) the first photo illustrated book.
    <b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop:</b> Albert Einstein. Letter on relativity and the speed of light (1951).
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>26th-29th of October 2021</b>
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Manuscripts and autographs
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Artist books
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Cars & more
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Magazines
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century

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