Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2010 Issue

A Winter Catalogue from Sotheran's

Wintermisc9-10

Sotheran's Winter Miscellany.


By Michael Stillman

Sotheran's, the British bookseller now almost 250 years old, has released a brand new catalogue, A Winter Miscellany 2009/2010. Over the years, Sotheran's has undoubtedly sold just about every type of book, so we should not be surprised by the wide range of material offered. There are books several centuries old, others published in the year just completed. You will find science, travel, art, architecture, politics, exploration, medicine, literature, sports, music, etc., etc., all with numerous children's books interspersed among the 600 items offered. Though Sotheran's is British based, there are many American books here, even biographies for children of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. This is an outstanding catalogue, including thorough descriptions and color photographs of most items. Here are just a few.

Item 362 is one which reveals the other side of Isaac Newton, the occultist and religious inquirer rather than the scientific master for which he is remembered. Newton was fascinated by antiquities, believing there was much to be learned from them, though perhaps not in a way we would see as science today. Offered is a 1728 first edition (published the year after he died) of The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms. In it, Newton attempts to use astronomical observations to create a chronology of the ancient world up to the time of the early Greeks. He also devotes a chapter to the Temple of Solomon whose design he believed had particular meaning. However, in trying to establish his beliefs he created a timeline that has not held up to scrutiny as well as his scientific theories. Priced at £1,798 (British pounds, or roughly $2,874 in U.S. dollars).

Item 291 is an account of a journey that finally laid to rest one of the most baffling geographical questions for Europeans. In a reverse of the normal order, European explorers found the source of the Niger River, about 150 miles inland from the west coast of Africa, early on, but could not figure out where it terminated. Most believed it emptied into some inland lake, or connected up with the Nile. The reason for the befuddlement is that the Niger, from its headwaters, travels northeast for a thousand miles, into the Sahara desert, an area not yet explored by Europeans. However, it then makes a sharp right turn, and eventually exits the continent far to the east of its headwaters, in a marshy delta, and having made a 180 degree turn, now travels in a southwesterly direction. Offered is a copy of Journal of an Expedition to Explore the Course and Termination of the Niger; with a Narrative of a Voyage down that River to its Termination, by Richard and John Lander. The Lander brothers endured great hardships, including robbery, imprisonment, and almost death to complete the arduous journey that answered the longstanding question. They were awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal for their accomplishment. £795 (US $1,271).

Now for a far less serious, though surprising in its own way book: Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Sky-High. This rodent tale was published in London in 1937. It tells of Mickey's adventures in airplanes, gliders, and other aeronautical devices. What is surprising about this Disney book is it was never issued in the United States. American fans of the mouse may be unaware of this one. Item 160. £298 (US $477).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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