Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

Book Arts, Printing, Hoaxes and More from The Veatchs Arts of the Book

Veatchs65

More artistic books from the Veatchs Arts of the Book.


By Michael Stillman

The Veatchs Arts of the Book has released a new catalogue, Catalogue 65. This issue features Book Arts, Fine Printing, The Fortsas Hoax, The Chamberlain Press, and Seven Early French Printers' Manuals. The last three of those are very specific topics, while most books fit in the more general categories of book arts and fine press works. These are books that are often more visual than textual, the type of books that will never be replaced by electronic texts. Here are some samples of what you will find offered this time by the Veatchs.

Item 5 is the last work of one of the most notable private presses of the early 20th century: Descriptive Bibliography of Books Printed at the Ashendene Press. This book is more than a simple bibliography, as it includes illustrations, facsimile pages, hand-colored letters, and a history of the press by Charles Hornby. Hornby opened the Ashenedene Press in 1895 and continued until 1935, the year this book was published. The last was the 40th book for Ashendene, though they also printed numerous ephemeral items. This last book was printed in a limited run of 390 copies signed by Hornby. It comes with its original prospectus, "A farewell notice." Hornby's press was located in Chelsea, England. Priced at $3,200.

Item 50 is the first of those French printers' manuals: La Science Pratique de l'Imprimerie, by Martin-Dominique Fertel. This manual has all the latest printing information as of its publication date of 1723. Text illustrations of model title pages are provided. $4,000.

Item 52 is a "second edition" of a catalogue that represents probably the biggest bibliographic hoax ever. In 1840, a catalogue was sent out to the greatest collectors in Europe. The title was Catalogue d'une tres-riche mais peu Nombreuse Collection de Livres Provenant de la Bibliotheque de Feu M.R. Le Comte J.N.A. de Fortsas. The collection offered purported to be that of one Jean Pichauld, the Count of Fortsas, a wealthy but obscure collector from Belgium. The Count had specialized in obtaining only the rarest of rare books, ones for which only one copy was known to exist, and which did not appear in any bibliographic records. Not surprisingly, he did not have a very large collection, just 52 books obtained over a lifetime, which ended the previous year. The great collectors were, naturally enough, fascinated by the descriptions of these 52 unique books, and on the appointed day, they showed up in the small Belgian town of Binche to bid. There was no auction. Nor was there a Count of Fortsas or 52 unique books. It was all a hoax, put on by one Renier Chalon, who enjoyed tweaking the upper crust of society. However, it turns out there was one very collectible book in Binche that day - Chalon's catalogue. It came to be reprinted numerous times as everyone seemed to want a copy. The edition offered here was published in 1863, and while it was certainly not the second time it was published, numerous counterfeits of this counterfeit collection having been published, it was the only reprint ever authorized by Chalon himself, which is probably why it is labeled as the second edition. $900.

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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