Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

Fine Books for the Fair from Donald Heald Rare Books

Some fine books for a fine fair.


By Michael Stillman

Donald Heald Rare Books printed a catalogue especially for the recent book fair in San Francisco. The collection is divided into sections on botany, ornithology and natural history, Americana and Canadiana, voyages and travels, and color-plate books. Offered is something of a who's who of books, as it is filled with names like Audubon, Cook, Jefferson, McKenney and Hall, Lewis and Clark. The catalogue's title is A Selection of Fine Books, and that it certainly is. Here are a few of them.

Item 12 is perhaps the most famous of all American illustrated books, John James Audubon's The Birds of America. Offered is a first octavo edition, published from 1840-1844. Audubon originally published his work as a double elephant folio, an item so expensive few could afford it then, let alone now. He decided to republish it in a smaller, more affordable size, so that those besides the ultra-wealthy could obtain a copy. His plan worked, as the octavo edition became a popular book and finally enabled the talented artist to actually make a few dollars. A first octavo edition of Audubon's Birds is no longer, as Audubon stated, priced so "...as to enable every student or lover of nature to place it in his Library," but at least it is still available. This copy belonged to one of the original subscribers, W.S. Lincoln of Boston. We have not been able to definitively identify this individual, but his Boston residence makes us think he could have been a distant relative to that other man with the surname "Lincoln." Priced at $115,000.

And the first shall be last... Item 13 is a copy of the final octavo edition of Audubon's Birds of America. Heald notes that this last octavo edition is actually the most difficult to obtain. It was published in 1871, and shortly after its printing, the plates were destroyed when they fell through the floor of a Philadelphia building. $30,000.

Item 36 is a copy of America's most important exploring expedition: Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean. The book is usually simply referred to by the authors' names, Lewis and Clark. These two were appointed to head up an expedition into the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase by President Jefferson. At the time, the American Northwest was one of the least known wilderness areas remaining on the globe. The expedition ran from 1804 to 1806, but this official account was not published until 1814. Offered is a first British edition, published the same year as the first American. $32,500.

The Lewis and Clark trip was clearly America's most important expedition. Here's a good candidate for number two: An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and through the western parts of Louisiana...during the years 1805, 1806 and 1807. This is Zebulon Pike's account of his journey. His first exploration was an unsuccessful attempt to find the headwaters of the Mississippi. The second trip sent him to the head of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, and this was an area still unexplored by Americans and virtually unknown. Today, it is the American Southwest, but at the time, Mexico extended much farther north than it does today. The result was that Pike and his men found themselves on the wrong side of the border, and were held for a while by Mexico. This enabled Pike to learn more about the territories of today's Texas and New Mexico. Item 40 is an 1810 first edition of Pike's account. $35,000.

Item 2 is A Monograph of the Odontoglossum. My immediate reaction was that this was about some dinosaur specie, but odontoglossum is a variety of orchid. They are unusual in that they thrive in cooler, drier climates, and at higher altitudes than we expect from orchids. It took a while for growers in author James Bateman's England to recognize that this was the reason they had so much trouble growing these flowers in hothouses. The highlight of this work is the 30 hand-colored lithograph plates by Walter Hood Fitch, "the most outstanding botanical artist of his day." Published 1867-1874. $22,500.

We cannot tell you much about this book, but it has a great title: Airy Nothings; or Scraps and Naughts, and Odd-cum-Shorts; in a Circumbendibus Hop, Step, and Jump, by Olio-Rigamaroll. Actually, it was by Michael Egerton. This is a collection of 23 hand-colored plates of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, by the humorous artist Egerton. Item 51 is an 1825 second edition. Heald notes that some of the verse is "strangely reminiscent" of Lewis Carroll, though Carroll came along fifty years later. For those lexicographally challenged souls such as I who already struggled with "odontoglossum," a "circumbendibus" is an indirect route. $3,500.

Donald Heald Rare Books may be reached at 212-744-3505 or info@donaldheald.com. You may visit their website at www.donaldheald.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Piccolomini's De La Sfera del Mondo (The Sphere of the World), 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Vellutello's Commentary on Petrarch, With Map, 1525.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Finely Bound Definitive, Illustrated Edition of I Promessi Sposi, 1840.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Rare First Edition of John Milton's Latin Correspondence, 1674.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Giolito's Edition of Boccaccio's The Decamerone, with Bedford Binding, 1542.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of the First Biography of Marie of the Incarnation, with Rare Portrait, 1677.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Aldine Edition of Volume One of Cicero's Orationes, 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Bonanni's Illustrated Costume Catalogue, with Complete Plates, 1711.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Important Incunable, the First Italian Edition of Josephus's De Bello Judaico, 1480.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Jacques Philippe d'Orville's Illustrated Book of the Ruins of Sicily, 1764.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Incunable from 1487, The Contemplative Life, with Early Manuscript.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Ignatius of Loyola's Exercitia Spiritualia, 1563.
  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Doyle, May 1: Thomas Jefferson expresses fears of "a war of extermination" in Saint-Dominigue. $40,000 to $60,000.
    Doyle, May 1: An exceptional presentation copy of Fitzgerald's last book, in the first issue dust jacket. $25,000 to $35,000.
    Doyle, May 1: The rare first signed edition of Dorian Gray. $15,000 to $25,000.
    Doyle, May 1: The Prayer Book of Jehan Bernachier. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Doyle, May 1: Van Dyck's Icones Principum Virorum Doctorum. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Doyle, May 1: The magnificent Cranach Hamlet in the deluxe binding by Dõrfner. $7,000 to $10,000.
    Doyle, May 1: A remarkable unpublished manuscript of a voyage to South America in 1759-1764. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Doyle, May 1: Bouchette's monumental and rare wall map of Lower Canada. $12,000 to $18,000.
    Doyle, May 1: An rare original 1837 abolitionist woodblock. $8,000 to $12,000.
    Doyle, May 1: An important manuscript breviary in Middle Dutch. $15,000 to $25,000.
    Doyle, May 1: An extraordinary Old Testament manuscript, circa 1250. $20,000 to $30,000.

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