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

  • <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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