• <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Kingsborough, Edward King. <i>Antiquities of Mexico: Comprising Facsimiles of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics…</i> London, 1831-1848. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Paul Revere. <i>The Bloody Massacre perpetrated In King-Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Reg. Boston, 1770.</i> $150,000 to $200,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Battle of the Alamo. <i>Suplemento al Diario del Gobierno de la Republica Mexicana.</i> (Núm. 326. Tom. IV.). Mexico City: Imprenta del Aguila, Dirigida por José Ximeno, 1836. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> The Declaration of Independence. The first book-form printing of the Declaration of Independence. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Treaty of Paris, Ratification. By the United States in Congress Assembled, A Proclamation … Annapolis, [Ca. 16-17 January 1784]. $800,000 to $1,200,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Declaration of Independence. The only known privately held copy of the celebrated William J. Stone facsimile for which provenance can be traced back to a direct ancestor who received it in 1824. $600,000 to $800,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Crockett, David. Autograph letter signed ("David Crockett") to George Patton, announcing his intention to travel to Texas. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Wytfliet, Cornelius. <i>Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum, Sive Occidentalis Notitia Brevi Commentario Illustrata.</i> Leuven: Johannes Bogaerts 1597. $35,000 to $50,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Schedel, Hartmann. <i>Liber Cronicarum cum Figuris et Ymaginibus.</i> Nuremberg, Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> New York Mets. Baseball from the first victory of the New York Mets. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Jan 24:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph letter signed ("R E Lee") as Confederate commander, to Rabbi Max Michelbacher, declining to furlough Jewish Confederate troops for the high holy days. $150,000 to $250,000
  • <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Fine Illustrated Books. 50 illustrated works across a range of subjects.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Present Perfect. Books & works on paper including Literature, Children’s & Illustrated, Sports & Pastimes, Modern Prints and more.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> The House of Romanov, marking the centenary of the tragic demise of the Romanov dynasty.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> CHAGALL & GOGOL. Les âmes mortes, 1948. Chagall’s first major illustrated book.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> GUSTAV KLIMT, eine nachlese, 1931. An important early monograph on Klimt.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> ELLIOT. Birds of North America, 1866. One of 200 2 vols sets, folio.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> PURCHAS. His Pilgrimes/Pilgrimage, 1625-26. 5 vols. Probably the greatest collection of voyages ever published.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> HUXLEY. Brave New World, 1932. Exceptionally fine first edition.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> KELMSCOTT PRESS. Poems of Shakespeare, one of 500, publisher’s vellum.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> LEROUX. Phantom of the Opera, 1911. First UK edition in fine S&S binding.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> INDIANA, Robert. The American Dream, one of 30 AP copies, 30 screen prints.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> BENOIS. Tsarskoe Selo during the Reign of Elizaveta Petrovna, St Petersburg, 1910. Deluxe issue.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> CORONATION ALBUM. Description du sacre et du couronnement de leurs Majestés Impériales, 1883. One of 200.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> IMPERIAL FAMILY. Signed original photograph of Tsar Nicholas II’s 4 daughters.
    <b>Shapero Rare Books:</b> Souvenir du Couronnement de Leurs Majestés Imperiales a Moscou, 1896.
  • <b>Bonhams: The Medical & Scientific Library of W. Bruce Fye. New York, March 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Private Press, Illustrated Books and Modern First Editions. January 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Wilde (Oscar). <i>The Sphinx,</i> one of only 25 large paper copies, illustrations and original pictorial vellum, 1894. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> King (Jessie Marion, 1875-1949). The Lament, pen and black ink on vellum. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Leger (Fernand). <i>Cirque,</i> one of 300 copies, Paris, Teriade, 1950. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Private Press, Illustrated Books and Modern First Editions. January 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Picasso (Pablo).- Reverdy (Pierre). <i>Sable Mouvant,</i> one of 255 copies signed by the artist, Paris, Louis Broder, 1966. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> one of only 250 copies signed by both the author and artist, 6 etchings by Matisse, New York, Limited Editions Club, 1935. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Golden Cockerel Press.- <i>Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ (The),</i> one of 500 copies, wood-engravings by Eric Gill, Laurence Hodson's copy, 1931. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Private Press, Illustrated Books and Modern First Editions. January 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Camus (Albert). <i>The Stranger,</i> first American edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, New York, 1946. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Greenhill (Elizabeth, binder).- Flint (Sir William Russell). <i>In Pursuit: An Autobiography,</i> limited edition signed by Francis Russell Flint, 1969. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Cranach Press.- Shakespeare (William). <i>The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke,</i> one of 300 copies, Janet Leeper's copy signed by Edward Gordon Craig, 1930. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Private Press, Illustrated Books and Modern First Editions. January 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Gray (John). <i>Silverpoints,</i> first edition, one of 25 large paper copies, initials and original vellum bidning designed by Charles Ricketts, 1893. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Kelmscott Press.- Design for the frontispiece to 'A Dream of John Ball', pen & black ink over pencil and heightened with Chinese white, 1892. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan 30:</b> Crowder (Henry). <i>Henry Music…</i> Poems by Nancy Cunard, Richard Aldington, Walter Lowenfels…, first and only edition, one of 100 copies signed by Crowder and additionally inscribed by him, 1930. £1,500 to £2,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2018 Issue

3,800 Ancient Writings and Artifacts, Purchased by Hobby Lobby, Returned to Iraq

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Cuneiform tablet (Department of Justice photo).

Some of the world's earliest written "books" are being returned to their homeland. For many years, cuneiform tablets and such were regularly taken from their homes in the Middle East. Sometimes, the takings were "legal," as in colonial powers taking them from their colonies, or dictatorial governments allowing for their sale and removal. Other times, it was just plain old looting. In the past few decades, treaties and a growing awareness of the importance of countries' cultural heritage, have shifted the balance of power. At least the more recently looted stuff is being sent back. Such was the case last month when 3,800 items from antiquity illegally taken from Iraq were shipped back home. They dated from roughly 2,000 BC, give or take a few centuries.

 

This comes from what has been known as the Hobby Lobby case, as the items were purchased by the large retail chain of arts and crafts stores. Hobby Lobby is a privately held company, and its owners, the religiously devout Green family of Oklahoma City, have funded the construction of the $400 million Museum of the Bible in Washington. Whether any of these items were purchased with the intent of displaying them in the museum is unclear. It's moot now.

 

The company attributed the purchases to "errors" and naivete in the world of ancient artifacts, but the warning signs were so plain that it is hard to imagine that no one noticed. Under U. S. law, it has been illegal to import cultural objects unlawfully removed from Iraq since 1990. It has been illegal under Iraqi law to remove such artifacts from Iraq since 1936. According to the U. S. Attorney, Hobby Lobby's President and a consultant went to the United Arab Emirates in 2010 to view the items. They were told the artifacts were legally acquired in the 1960s. Still, it was odd that they would be found spread around the floor and loosely packed in cardboard boxes with little internal padding if they had been appreciated and held for so long.

 

After their return, the consultant informed the President and his assistant that the items had been stored in the U. S., but for some reason were shipped to the UAE for inspection. The consultant said they could be appraised for $11,820,000, but were offered for $2,091,000, and the purchase price could likely be negotiated down to $1,600,000. An Israeli dealer said the collection had been purchased by the father of another Israeli dealer in the 1970s who stored them in Mississippi. Hobby Lobby made no attempt to verify this strange and false story.

 

Later on, an expert provided Hobby Lobby's in-house counsel with a memorandum warning that there was considerable risk in importing such items that originated in Iraq. It noted that 200,000-500,000 artifacts had been looted from archaeological sites since the early 1990s and such items were likely to be stopped by Customs. Nonetheless, the company made the purchase for $1.6 million, the invoice stating the seller was the dealer whose father supposedly purchased the artifacts, though the firm's representatives never met him. Following instructions, Hobby Lobby wired the payments to seven different bank accounts of five separate individuals, none of whom was the alleged selling dealer.

 

When it came time for shipping, those charged with arranging for shipment contacted the firm's International Department, which recommended using their broker. However, when the broker warned the material might be detained, they chose to have the overseas dealers handle the shipping. When they were shipped, they came with descriptions such as "ceramic tiles" and "Tiles (sample)." Later, some came as "Hand made clay tiles (sample), manufactured in Turkey," valued at $250. None of those were true. If accurately valued, they would have required a formal entry with Customs, which was not made. Some were sent to Hobby Lobby, others to two related companies in Oklahoma City. Finally, in January of 2011, Customs began opening and seizing some of the shipments.

 

To call this an "error," as did Hobby Lobby's President, seems a bit optimistic. There were too many red flags and specific expert warnings for this to be an understandable mistake. Somebody knew, or certainly was very negligent. Violating a law is never a good thing, but what makes this particularly depressing is the disregard for the reasons these laws exist in the first place - respecting the history and culture of other nations the way we wish them to respect ours.

 

Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit the artifacts and pay an additional settlement of $3 million. With the returned antiquities, they are out $4.6 million, but there is no need to feel too sorry for them. Hobby Lobby did $4.3 billion in sales in 2016, while Forbes Magazine estimates CEO and founder David Green and family are worth $6.8 billion.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson: Online Only Auction. Now thru January 29, 2019</b>
    <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, thru Jan 29:</b> HUBBARD, LUCIUS L. <i>Summer Vacations at Moosehead Lake and Vicinity...</i> $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, thru Jan 29:</b> HIND, HENRY YOULE. <i>Explorations in the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula, the Country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians.</i> $700 to $1,000
    <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, thru Jan 29:</b> TOME, PHILIP. <i>Pioneer Life; Or, Thirty Years a Hunter...</i> $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, thru Jan 29:</b> CANOVA, ANDREW P. <i>Life and Adventures in South Florida.</i> $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, Americana from the Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, thru Jan 29:</b> Photographically illustrated journal describing an 1890 hunting trip to Colorado. $700 to $1,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Leonard Baskin, <i>Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects,</i> Gehenna Press, 1983. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georg Heym, <i>Umbra Vitae,</i> illustrated by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, first edition, Munich, 1924. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Edgar Allan Poe, <i>The Raven,</i> special copy for illustrator Alan James Robinson, first book from Cheloniidae Press, 1980. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b><br>W.B. Yeats, <i>Poems,</i> illustrated by Richard Diebenkorn, accompanied by a suite of 6 etchings, 1990. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georges Rouault, <i>Cirque de l’Étoile Filante,</i> Paris, 1938. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> François-Louis Schmied, <i>Le Cantique des Cantiques,</i> Paris, 1925. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Frank Lloyd Wright, <i>Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe,</i> Berlin, Ernst Wasmuth, 1910. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Hans Bellmer & Georges Hugnet, <i>Oeillades ciselées en branch,</i> Paris, 1939. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Wassily Kandinsky, <i>Klänge,</i> first edition, Munich, 1913. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Charles Dickens, <i>The Nonesuch Dickens,</i> limited edition, 1937-38. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Rudyard Kipling, <i>Le Livre de la Jungle,</i> plates by Paul Jouve, engraved by F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1919. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Jan 29:</b> Georges Lepape, <i>Les Choses de Paul Poiret,</i> Paris, 1911. $3,500 to $5,000.
  • <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>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 230: Charles Bukowski. <i>South of No North.</i> Los Angeles, 1973. First edition. Signed. $1,500 to $2,000
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 244: Aldous Huxley. <i>Brave New World.</i> Garden City, 1932. First American edition. Signed. $2,500 to $3,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 10: Frank Lloyd Wright. “Fallingwater Side Elevation” Original Blueprint. $1,500 to $2,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 169: <i>Chicago’s Progress: A Review of the World’s Fair City.</i> Chicago: Bishop Publishing, (1933). $150 to $250
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 299: [Tanguy, Yves] Benjamin Peret. <i>Dormir dans Les Pierres.</i> Paris: Editions Surrealistes, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 276: Jean Hans Arp. <i>Arp: Eleven Configurations.</i> Zurich, 1945. $1,200 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 235: Joseph Conrad. <i>Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard.</i> New York: 1904. First edition. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 290: Umberto Brunelleschi. Louys, Pierre. <i>Les Aventures du Roi Pausole.</i> Paris: 1930. $1,200 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 700: X-Men No. 94. Marvel Comics, 1975. CGC 9.0. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions: Fine Books & Manuscripts. February 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 540: Travers, P.L. <i>Mary Poppins</i> [and] <i>Mary Poppins Comes Back.</i> Signed. New York: 1936. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 576: Mickey Mouse. 17 Big Little Books. 1930s-40s. $300 to $500
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, Feb. 2:</b><br>Lot 429: Paracelsus. <i>Medicina Diastatica or Sympathecall Mumie.</i> London: 1653. $800 to $1,200
  • <b>Case Antiques: Historic Winter Fine Art and Antiques Auction.<br>January 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Archive of five items related to John Singleton Mosby, the Confederate “Gray Ghost,” including 3 ALS and 2 colored lithographs. $2,800 to $3,200
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Defoe, Daniel. Double Fore-Edge Painted Robinson Crusoe, 2 Vols., 1820. $800 to $1,000
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> McCarthy, Cormac. <i>Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West.</i> First edition, 1985. $1,000 to $1,200
    <b>Case Antiques: Historic Winter Fine Art and Antiques Auction.<br>January 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Chagall, Marc. “Le Bouquet Rouge,” limited edition color lithograph. October, 1969. $10,000 to $12,000
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Stern, Bert. Marilyn Monroe’s “Last Sitting” for <i>Vogue,</i> signed photograph and two books. $1,800 to $2,200
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Five single fore-edge painted Bibles. $1,000 to $1,200
    <b>Case Antiques: Historic Winter Fine Art and Antiques Auction.<br>January 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Sander, August. “Painter Brockmann” and “Courtyard Musicians” gelatin silver prints. $2,000 to $2,400
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> after Sheng Mou, Qing Dynasty scroll, landscape painting, ink and color on silk, signature of Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632-1717). $1,800 to $2,200
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan 26:</b> Russell, J. Map of Kentucky, London, 1794, showing Tennessee as a SW Territory. $1,200 to $1,800

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