Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2009 Issue

Mexico and Latin America from Plaza Books

Plaza26

Works from Mexico and Latin America from Plaza Books.


By Michael Stillman

Plaza Books has issued List 26, forty-seven items within their specialty. That specialty is Latin American books, primarily those pertaining to Mexico. There are items published during each of the past four centuries, and they describe the land south of the United States all the way back to pre-Spanish times. Here are a few of the items Plaza has to offer.

Item 34 provides one of the earliest looks at Mexico, though it was not published until 1829-30. The author, Fr. Bernardino de Sahagun, was one of the first Franciscans to go to Mexico. He gathered much of his information from Aztecs still living in the area, and wrote the original drafts in Nahuatl, the native language. He later translated his accounts into Spanish and sent them back to Spain, where they were lost for many years. That explains the much later publication of his 11-volume account, Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana. Priced at $2,000.

To learn more about the conquest of Mexico, item 14 is The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, by Bernal Diaz del Castillo. This is the first English language edition of this history, published in 1800. $1,150.

You don't usually find books pertaining to Mexico written in French, but there is a good reason for this one. Item 21 is John de Havilland's Le Mexique sous la Maison de Hapsbourg. De Havilland was an ardent royalist, and in this 1863 work, he calls for the establishment of a Hapsbourg emperor in Mexico. He argues against democracy, citing the U.S. Civil War as an example of what can go wrong with that form of government. De Havilland was also a strong Confederate sympathizer. Maximilian is not mentioned by name, but we now know that the author soon got his wish when the French established Maximilian on the thrown of Mexico. This imposed royalty was short lived, Maximilian being overthrown and executed a few years later. $500.

The primary instigator of Maximilian's downfall was revolutionary leader Benito Juarez. Item 23 is a letter Juarez wrote to Antonio Ochoa, dated January 31, 1865. It concerns the location of some of his troops and those of Maximilian. Two years later, Maximilian's forces were defeated and Juarez resumed his presidency of Mexico. $1,950.

Item 5 is the first Mexican cookbook printed in Mexico: Novisimo Arte de Cocina... by Simon Blanquel. This is an 1845 edition of a book first published in 1831, but still in print as late as 1893. You won't find any tacos, enchiladas or Taco Bell fare in this catalogue, but rather delicacies that were actually consumed in the land more than a century ago. $2,500.

Item 1 is A Voyage Round the World, in the Years 1740-44... by George Anson (compiled by Richard Walter). Anson set out to South America to disrupt Spanish shipping, though it was his mission that was terribly disrupted. He lost five out of six ships and most of his men. However, late in his journey, he intercepted a Spanish vessel laden with coins and returned to England a wealthy man. Offered is an eighth edition from 1756 (this was a popular book as the first was only published in 1748). It contains three maps, including one of the last of California to still show it as being an island. $1,050.

Plaza Books may be reached at 707-546-3544 or plazabks@sonic.net. Their website is located at www.plazabooks.com.

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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions