Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

A Summer List from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

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Summer List from Samuel Gedge Ltd.

Samuel Gedge Ltd. is offering a Summer List of Books, Manuscripts & Ephemera. Gedge focuses primarily on obscure, older material, usually early 19th century and older, from England and Europe. Much of it consists of various types of documents and ephemera, unique or very rare, that is surprising to discover still exists. There is also a large selection of books, mostly obscure novels, Gothic novels in particular, from the 18th to early 19th century. Many were written by women, surprising since there were not that many women writers at the time. Some are made even more obscure as they are translations from one European language to another of the original text. Here are a few of the always interesting, always hard-to-find items in Gedge's Summer List.

 

This has to be one of the better investments you will find, presuming it actually paid out as planned. It is headed Strand Bridge, and it is an annuity certificate put out by "The Company of Proprietors of the Strand Bridge," to the purchaser, William Maughan of the Bank of England, gentleman. The company was the Strand Bridge Company, and the bridge was known as the Strand Bridge as of the date of this offer, July 5, 1814. In 1816, a year before it opened, the name was changed to the Waterloo Bridge, in honor of the British victory over the French in Napoleon's last stand. The Waterloo Bridge still crosses the Thames today, though it is a replacement built in the 1930s. The annuity provided that for an investment of £60, the recipient received £8 per year for 99 years. That is essentially a 13.33% return for the rest of your life, your children's, and your grandchildren's lives. The annuity was to be funded by tolls collected on the bridge. Amazingly enough, the bridge stood for over 99 years, so maybe it did pay out. However, it was nationalized in 1878 and the tolls removed, so we don't know what happened to the annuities then, presuming they were still paying at the time. Item 93. Priced today at the cost of 7.5 annuities, or £450 (British pounds, or approximately $601 in U.S. dollars).

 

This next item gives me the creeps, but so does anything medical related. It is certainly a great item for those with the stomach to collect in the field of medical devices. It is titled An account of a new mode of operation for the removal of the opacity in the eye, called cataract, by James Earle. It was a new mode indeed, but it was "new" in 1801. Sir George Earle was evidently one of the best in the land, being the surgeon-extraordinary to King George III, but still, messing with your eyes in 1801 sounds frightening. Dr. Earle's clever device had a spear pointed instrument which led forceps around the cataract. Once in place, a spring-loaded device would remove the spear, leaving the forceps in place to grab and remove the cataract. Hopefully the surgeon had a steady hand. The result, if successful, was undoubtedly worth the horror of participating in this surgery, I think. Item 124. £950 (US $1,268).

 

Girolamo Bartolomeo Piazza was an Italian immigrant to England who knew how to make himself popular in his new home. He wrote a scathing attack on the Inquisition, as enforced by the Catholic Church. The title is A Short and True Account of the Inquisition and Its Proceedings, as It is Practis'd in Italy, Set Forth in Some Particular Cases, published in 1722. To make sure the message was properly received, it contains a fawning dedication to King George I, hoping it would be "of use in exposing the folly and madness of your Majesty's enemies." The text is printed in both English and French. Piazza was a former Catholic, converted to the Anglican Church. It describes various cases and punishments, including the rack, and makes a claim of "eleven thousand English virgins martyred together at Cologne." This claim relates to the legend of St. Ursula, a supposed British princess who set off on a pilgrimage in the fourth of fifth century with 11,000 virgin ladies, only to have their ships wash ashore. They were captured and all beheaded except Ursula, who was shot with an arrow. This tale did not appear until many centuries later, and its accuracy is questioned by many, including anyone with an ounce of common sense. As for Piazza, he did fine in his new country, teaching Italian and French in Cambridge for many years. Item 8. £650 (US $868).

 

Next we have another Italian who came to England, but he came as a touring performer, not an immigrant. His name was Picco (apparently Joseph Picco or Angelo Picchi). Picco was a Sardinian shepherd, born blind, who played what, as a result of his tour, became known as the "Picco pipe." It is a tiny flute-like instrument, just a few inches long. It would be sold under that name in the twentieth century as a children's toy. Picco came dressed in a Sardinian shepherd's outfit, and he must have played very well as he became quite popular in England and Europe during the mid-1850s. Item 166 is a broadside announcing, St. James Theatre. Picco, The Blind-Born Sardinian Minstrel's Concerts, For A Few Nights Only, Commencing On Monday, the 21st of April. That would be 1856, when Picco gave several concerts in London. £450 (US $601).

 

Item 136 is a 1788 second edition of Heloise: of the Siege of Rhodes. A legendary tale... The author was George Monck Berkeley. Berkeley was the grandson of a more famous namesake, the philosopher George Berkeley. This Berkeley was a playwright, poet, and novelist, who also wrote a biography of Jonathan Swift. His output would have been greater, and perhaps his reputation more established today, if had had a longer career, but Berkeley died in 1793 at the age of 30. Gedge describes Heloise as "a sort of Ottoman Gothic." The heroine and her lover are taken prisoner by the Turks. He is sold into slavery, but they manage to escape and reunite in France. According to The Monthly Review, this is a "most agreeable novel; very different from the trash that issues from the press, under the title of Cruel fathers, Reformed rakes and Constant lovers." £2,500 (US $3,345).

 

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or rarebooks@samuelgedge.com. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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