Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

First Contact from Shapero Rare Books

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First Contact from Shapero Rare Books.

Shapero Rare Books has printed a compact catalogue of First Contact. Rather than Shapero's usual large and highly detailed catalogues, this twelvemo size selection contains photographs and only brief descriptions. However, it is filled with many of history's pioneering accounts of travel and exploration (hence the title First Contact). This is a handy guide to some of the most significant material in the field presently available at Shapero Rare Books. Here are a few of these selections.

 

The oldest item offered comes from 1483, at the dawn of the Age of Discovery. It is the first edition of Macrobius' In Somnium Scipionis Exposito to contain a world map. Macrobius was a Roman writer from the early fifth century. What is most interesting is the map, which depicts what was known of the world before Columbus, and even the somewhat earlier Portuguese explorers. Europe is rather narrow, Italy and England identifiable. The continent connects to Asia and goes as far east as India, marginally identifiable. Across the Mediterranean is a narrow band of land named Aphrica. Just below that is more open sea, followed by the antipodes, described as an unknown balancing land. The lower portion is labeled "frigida," a frigid place establishing that the bottom of the Earth, like the top, is cold. What we know today as Russia is also labeled "frigida." East Asia and the Western Hemisphere are unknown, and no speculation is offered. Priced at $140,000.

 

Here is someone who could have told us more about Asia in 1483... maybe. Tractato bellisimo... is a 1492 Florence edition of John Mandeville's travels. Mandeville was supposedly an English knight from the 14th century who visited Asia, Arabia, and parts of northeastern Africa. At least, that's what his account, which was circulated in numerous manuscripts before the age of printing, claimed. By the 1480s, his account became the most well-read travelogue printed, with numerous editions appearing. However, it is dubious whether Mandeville even existed. It seems more likely that he was a European who wrote his account based on what he learned from others. Certainly some of it is pure fantasy, but along with Marco Polo, Europeans did not have much else to go on for learning about the world outside of their limited horizons. $52,500.

 

Next we have one of the earlier and better collections of travels and voyages. The title is Delle navigationi et viaggi and its author was Giovannni Battista Ramusio. It contains three volumes. First published in the mid-16th century, these are volumes from 1613, 1606, and 1606. They were the last editions and thereby contain the most complete text. Volume 1 covers, Africa, volume 2 Asia, and volume 3 America. Ramusio's work is highly respected, with even John Locke describing it as the "most perfect work of that nature in any language whatsoever." $110,000.

 

William Broughton first traveled to the Northwest coast of North America with Vancouver in 1791. In 1795, he returned, in command of his own ship. He was to meet up with Vancouver, but was not successful. However, he spent four years exploring. Much of his time was spent around Japan and Russia on the other side of the Pacific, and Hawaii and various islands in between. However, it is his time along the North American coast that is most notable. He sailed along Alaska, visited Nootka Sound, and traveled up the Columbia River (earlier, with Vancouver, they explored the mouth of the river but did not go farther inland). It was Broughton's explorations along the Columbia that led to Britain's later claim to Oregon, eventually resolved by treaty with the United States. He also visited California, but received no more than a chilly reception from the Spanish. The title of Broughton's book is A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean... published in 1804, and it is not only one of the most notable of Pacific Northwest exploration books, but one of the rarest as well. $31,500.

 

This next book does not come from a ship's captain, but from a common seaman. It was a terrible trip, but Archibald Campbell tells us all about it. What's more, he gives us a very thorough look at Hawaii in the early 19th century. The book is titled A Voyage round the World; from 1806 to 1812, in which Japan, Kamschatka, the Aleutian Islands, and the Sandwich Islands, Were Visited, published in 1816. Those were the days when the British still called Hawaii the Sandwich Islands. The bad part came when their ship was wrecked off the coast of Alaska. The men were able to make it to shore, but the journey overland to the nearest settlement in Campbell's waterlogged and frozen boots resulted in severe frostbite. Both of Campbell's feet had to be amputated, along with a couple of fingers. He was sent to Hawaii to recuperate, where he stayed over a year. It gave him an opportunity to become very familiar with life there, resulting in a description that reads more like that of a resident than a visitor. On returning to England, Campbell could no longer sail, so he became an organ grinder on the streets. An editor heard of Campbell's plight, and listening to his story, decided to publish his tale to help him raise funds to pay for his needs. $9,000.

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or jeffrey@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.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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