Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

Important Works from the Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books

Aforumacollection

A collection of fine works from the Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

The Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books, both of the Netherlands, have teamed up to create a catalogue of truly spectacular works. The title is A Selection of Rare and Important Atlases, Autographs, Books, Drawings & Globes. The booksellers' location does not define the books that are offered. There are, naturally, Dutch works, but also items from other nations of major importance, including some from America. It is importance, rather than geographical location, that marks the books in this catalogue. Here are a few.

It was certainly one of the most important scientific voyages ever, even if that wasn't immediately apparent. Item 13 is a Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836... The first two volumes in this three volumes plus appendix set are the accounts by Captains King and Fitzroy who led the two missions. The third volume is by the naturalist on the second voyage, Charles Darwin. Darwin describes the natural history observed in South America and certain islands. He drew no monumental conclusions in his book, though he already had his suspicions. It would be another two decades before he would officially release his theory of evolution, though he came to his conclusions many years earlier. Item 13 is a first edition, first issue of this narrative. Priced at €40,000 (euros, or approximately $54,116 in U.S. dollars).

Darwin's conclusions, and his groundbreaking theory of evolution were published in detail in On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection... issued in 1859. It is undoubtedly one of the most important books ever written, though some still resist accepting the conclusions Darwin reached from the observations he made. Item 14 is a first edition of Darwin's pioneering work, an edition which sold out almost as fast as it was issued. €110,000 (US $148,819).

One wonders what Martin Luther would have thought of Charles Darwin's theory. We will never know. Luther had plenty else to worry about when he wrote this letter on October 4, 1518. He had been summoned by the Cardinal in Augsburg to explain his heresy. Some consider this letter something of a last will, for Luther must have felt he was in grave danger at the time. He was called to recant his views, which would have resolved his problem, but Luther left the next day with no intention of making the statement that would have saved him from further attacks. Other than a few lines printed in 1719, this letter and its contents were "lost" for centuries, until it showed up in the collection of a Boston pathologist in the 1960s. In this autographed letter, Luther writes that he must be condemned by either God or man, and he chooses the latter. Item 39. €325,000 (US $439,627).

You generally wouldn't look to the Netherlands to find books about American Indians, but here are three of the most important works ever published about America's natives. James Otto Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio is not the best-known collection of Indian portraits, but it is the earliest. It is also one of the earliest American projects in color printing. Lewis' 72 hand-colored lithograph plates, published in 1835-36, offered one of the first close looks at America's natives from the interior of the continent. Item 37. €95,000 (US $128,506).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books<br>June 23, 2022
    <b>Swann June 23:</b> James Hamilton Young, <i>A New Map of Texas, with the Contiguous American & Mexican States,</i> Philadelphia, 1836. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann June 23:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Common American Skunk. Plate XLII,</i> Philadelphia, 1844. $700 to $1,000.
    <b>Swann June 23:</b> Nicolaas & Jacob Cruquius, <i>T Hooge Heemraadschap van Delflant,</i> Delft, 1712. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann June 23:</b> William Birch & Samuel Seymour, <i>The City of New York in the State of New York, North America,</i> Bristol, 1803. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann June 23:</b> Karl Bodmer, <i>Sih-Chida & Mahchsi-Karehde. Mandan Indians. Tableau 20,</i> Paris, Coblenz & London, 1839-42. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NIGHTGOWN WORN BY CHARLOTTE CARDEZA DURING THE TITANIC DISASTER AND RESCUE. $40,000 to $60,000

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