Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2009 Issue

Six Hundred Children's Books from Aleph-Bet Books

Your childhood is alive and well at Aleph-Bet Books.


By Michael Stillman

Aleph-Bet Books has released their Catalogue 91 of Children's Books and Illustrated Books. Actually, most are illustrated children's books, thereby qualifying under both headings. These books are great fun, though some of the ethnic stereotypes of another age can make us quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, these trips back to our youth, and that of our grandparents and great-grandparents as well, can't help but make you feel good. So we will now take our trip back in time.

Item 139 is one of 100 copies of the 1876 first edition of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark that was specially bound for the author. Tipped in is a copy, also from 1876, of his rare booklet, An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves Alice. This was privately printed by Carroll, actual name Lutwidge Dodgson, for his friends, this being the rare first issue. The book carries an inscription "from the author," dated March 29, 1876. It is inscribed to Beatrix Tolhurst. We cannot find out much about Miss Tolhurst other than Dodgson requested permission of her mother to take her picture in 1869 and inscribed at least one other book to her (in 1871), so we would guess she qualifies as one of Dodgson's young friends. Priced at $11,500.

Here is another signed item: Love Letters of Mark Twain, published in 1949. Twain has signed the item both as Twain and with his real name, Samuel Clemens. This is an edition limited to 155 copies. Okay. I wasn't born yesterday. I don't recall when Twain died, but it was certainly well before 1949. He would have been 115 years old then. Twain was not signing anything, at least on this earth, in that year. Well, it turns out this isn't a forgery, or ghostly appearance, after all. Publisher Harper & Brothers evidently had these signed pages in their possession for many years, and decided to use them in this special limited edition. Item 558. $5,000.

Here is another signature from yet another humorous author, and one who was definitely alive at the time he wrote it. Item 77 is a letter dated July 15, 1917, from L. Frank Baum to his illustrator John R. Neill. In the typed, signed letter, on Baum's letterhead depicting many of his books, the author expresses his appreciation for Neill's drawings for The Lost Princess of Oz. This was the eleventh of his Oz books. Baum did pick up that Neill had put two peaches on a tree that was only supposed to have one, but otherwise appreciates his faithfulness to the text. Baum then expresses regrets that they haven't seen each other in a long time, and notes, "I remember our former foregatherings with real pleasure and think we would harmonize if we were jailed together in the same cell." $27,500.

We all have had books by Dr. Seuss, but how many out there have a book by Mrs. Seuss? Yes, there really was such a person, and she too was an author. Her name was Helen Palmer (technically Helen Palmer Geisel, but she left off the good doctor's real last name on her books). Item 94 is her book I Was Kissed by a Seal at the Zoo, published in 1962. Rather than using fantastic drawings as did her husband, Mrs. Palmer-Seuss illustrated her book with photographs. Item 94. $125.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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