Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

Peter Harrington's Books for Display at Masterpiece 2018

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Masterpiece 2018.

Peter Harrington has prepared a catalogue of Items Displayed at Masterpiece 2018 London. Masterpiece is an annual show of the most desirable of material, primarily works of art. It takes a very healthy budget to take something home with you. Fortunately, books generally don't reach the astronomical prices of art, but nonetheless, you will need to be able to buy the best if you attend Masterpiece. That is all you will find. The fair began on June 28, but continues through July 4. Here are a few of the items you will see if you stop by Harrington's display (Stand D4).

 

When asked who is the greatest writer in the English language, my guess is the name that will most be spoken is that of William Shakespeare. His plays are as popular, if not more so, today than when they were written in the early 17th century. However, many of them would have been lost, as they were not published during his lifetime. Thankfully, a few years after he died, some of his friends gathered them up and published the book that would assure they survived, Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. The first four editions are generally referred to now as the "folios," distinguished by their number, and published through the 17th century. The first was published in 1623 and is now practically unobtainable. The earliest still reasonably available is this, the Second Folio, published in 1632. This edition was actually published by five different publishers as each had rights to certain plays, and were released at different dates, but we will leave these complex variations to the experts. This copy comes in a mid-19th century red crushed morroco binding by Hayday. Priced at £275,000 (British pounds, or approximately $365,230 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next we have one of the great works of fantasy, with the popularity to match its reputation. This is a true first edition from 1726 (with the points to differentiate it from two similar editions of the the same year) of Travels into Several Nations of the World. Like the Shakespeare folios, nobody refers to it by its actual title. This book is known as Gulliver's Travels. It was stated as written by Lemuel Gulliver, but he was no more real than his fantastic adventures. The author was Jonathan Swift. The fantastic lands and beings Gulliver visited have entertained readers of all ages ever since. At the time it was written, explorers were still discovering unknown lands and reporting back to the European public, so the premise was believable, even if the findings were so extreme as not to be. Gulliver was actually more than mere fantasy. There were all sorts of political references to the day, but that has mostly been lost, and few readers would recognize it today. £150,000 (US $199,186).

 

This is an important book in American history combined with an interesting provenance and a couple of notable signatures. The book is A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, by John Adams. Concerning various state and foreign constitutions, it was published in 1787, just as the new country was preparing to write its own constitution. In it, Adams describes that state constitutions and promotes a system of checks and balances, a chief executive, a two-house legislature, and an independent judiciary. The book was influential in both America and Europe. This copy is inscribed by Adams to Richard Henry Lee, with a request that Lee return any comments he had to Adams. Richard Henry Lee was a delegate to the Continental Congress and the initiator of a resolution of independence in June of 1776. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was part of the powerful Lee family of Virginia, many of whom would serve in government offices. His great-grandfather was the first Lee to emigrate to America from England and through him Richard Henry was related to George Washington confidant "Light-Horse Harry Lee" and his son, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. When Lee died, this copy passed to his son Ludwell, who died in 1836. Written and dated in it is the statement "John Strohm's Book" 1846. Above that, and below John Adam's signature, is that of his son and fellow President, John Quincy Adams. Strohm served in Congress with Quincy Adams from 1847-1848 when the latter died. That is likely when it was signed as it is a shaky signature of an aged man. Adams was 80 years old at that time. £110,000 (US $145,904).

 

Here is a book that is much closer to Gulliver than Adams, a work of fantasy, although of a different sort. This one is a children's book, naturally enough for the genre, featuring anthropomorphic animals. Try that word out on the kids. It is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. This is a true first edition, one of the 250 copies Potter had privately printed in 1901. She was unable to find a publisher, but she had enough confidence in her book to publish it herself. She was right. Its popularity was such that Potter did a second private printing and the following year, publisher Frederick Warne picked it up. The rest is history there is no need repeating. £75,000 (US $99,519).

 

We conclude with an amazing archive of material related to John F. Kennedy. The material ranges from Kennedy's first congressional race in 1946 up to his election to the presidency in 1960. The archive was compiled by David Powers, who was a close personal confidant of JFK from that first congressional run until his assassination in 1963. Powers was riding in the Secret Service car behind Kennedy at that tragic moment. Harrington describes Powers as "Kennedy's most intimate friend, advisor, and personal 'fixer.'" JFK's Michael Cohen? With all due respect to Mr. Cohen, Powers was a very different sort of "fixer," just as Kennedy was a different sort of President. The archive contains manuscript drafts, reading copies, related notes and other mementos. Much of it has never been published. There is also an inscribed copy of Kennedy's inaugural address. The reason there are no drafts and notes after the election is that the Presidential Libraries Act encouraged the preservation of presidential records for government collections. This would be mandated in 1978 by the Presidential Records Act, but Kennedy already followed the spirit of the act. Powers was Kennedy's Special Assistant during his presidential years, and later served as Curator of the Kennedy Presidential Library until his retirement in 1994. £375,000 (US $497,759).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

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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