• <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan asserting the primacy of American independence in negotiating the Treaty of Paris, Passy, July 11, 1782. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin") to David Hartley addressing Hartley's final issues with the recently completed ratification of the Treaty of Paris, Passy, June 2, 1784. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> MASON & DIXON. A hand-colored contemporary manuscript map titled in cartouche, "A Map of that Part of AMERICA where a degree of LATITUDE was measured for the ROYAL SOCIETY, by Chas Mason & Jer: Dixon," c.1768. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("WB Yeats"), a fair copy of "When Helen Lived" for John Preece headed ("For John Preece"), framed. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> "LINCOLN SEATED." KECK, CHARLES, sculptor. 1875-1951. Patinated bronze, 1950. Louise Taper Collection. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S FINAL HOURS. BURNS, J., painter. <i>Death-Bed of Abraham Lincoln.</i> Oil on canvas, 1866. Collection of Louise Taper. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> FILSON, CHARLES PATTERSON, painter. 1860-1937. <i>Portrait of Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War.</i> $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> A MATZOS BOX PRESENTED BY THE MANISHEVITZ BROTHERS TO WARREN G. HARDING. Louise Taper Collection. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> LEWIS CARROLL. Original albumen print photograph, approximately 6 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches, Chelsea, London, October 7, 1863, of the Rossetti Family at home, one of only three known examples of the full image. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. <i>Verses ... Dedicated to Her Mother.</i> Privately printed, 1847. First edition of her first book, printed at her grandfather's press, THE ROSSETTI FAMILY COPY. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. Original drawing of snowdrops in purple pencil, sent by CGR to Lucy Rossetti, inscribed "I doubt whether you will make out my copy from nature," 1887. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, et al. The Germ: <i>Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art.</i> Fine copy in a Doves binding by Cobden Sanderson. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <i>Der Sturm.</i> 1922. Sold October 2021 for € 13,000.
    Diophantus Alexandrinus, <i>Arithmeticorum libri sex.</i> 1670. Sold October 2021 for € 18,000.
    <i>Cozzani Ettore e altri, l’Eroica. Tutto il pubblicato.</i> Sold October 2021 for € 11,000.
    Newton Isaac, <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> 1714. Sold October 2021 for € 7,500.
    Manetti Saverio, <i>Storia naturale degli uccelli.</i> 1767-1776. Sold April 2021 for € 26,000.
  • <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. Carolina Parrot. Plate 26. Hand-colored aquatint and engraved plate from Audubon's <i>Birds of America.</i> $80,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Francisco Henrique Carls. [Album de Pernambuco e seus Arrabaldes]. Fifty-three chromolithographed plates of landscape, town views and more of the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Captain Thomas Davies, after. Group of 5 engraved topographical scenes of North American waterfalls. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> William R. Morley. Morley's Map of New Mexico. Large lithographed pocket map with original hand-color in outline. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Frederick William Beechey, et al. <i>The Zoology of Captain Beechey's Voyage; Compiled from the Collections and Notes Made by Captain Beechey…</i> $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> ZUDA ROKASHI (Priest Hotan.) Nansenbushu Bankoku Shoka No Zu. Woodblock wall map of the world on 16 sheets joined. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> De Wit’s composite atlas with magnificent full original color. $125,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Gardner's photographic sketch book of the Civil War. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Waugh Oil Painting, 70 Degrees North; The Polar Bear. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquatint, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. $75,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Blaeu terrestrial table globe, 1602. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquautint, Ruby-Throated Humming Bird. $35,000 to $45,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Bessa original watercolor of a bouquet of flowers. $75,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> John Gould's only work devoted to American birds. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Wyld & Malby pair of terrestrial & celestial globes, 1833. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Leutze map of the world oil painting. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Caula, the finest 18th century drawing of Lison. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Scolari / Blaeu map of Germania, 1650. $15,000 to $22,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2019 Issue

Karl Lagerfeld, Fashion Designer, Book Collector Extraordinaire, Dies

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Karl Lagerfeld in his library.

When Karl Lagerfeld died at the age of 85 a few days ago, the world knew him as a fashion designer. He had been creating fashion designs since the 1950s and his reputation was second to none. Since the 1980s, he headed up the House of Chanel, while having his own brand under his name. Lagerfeld was known for his dark sunglasses, ponytail, and iconoclastic ways. He was quoted as saying, "I don't know what normal means." For those of us who do know what it means, we can say that Lagerfeld was not "normal." However, that is not because of his ponytail, sunglasses, or fashion designs. It is because of his book collection. That was not normal.

 

The most legendary of abnormal book collectors was the eccentric 19th century collector Thomas Phillipps. He supposedly wanted one of everything. He was said to own 100,000 books and manuscripts. They filled up every room of his house, floor to ceiling, leaving barely enough space to move around. Lagerfeld bettered Phillipps threefold. His library contained 300,000 books. At least that was the number he gave. I don't know whether anyone ever counted them. Unlike Phillipps, who tried to collect a copy of everything on a limited budget, Lagerfeld made enough money to build a collection this large, so we will accept his estimate as reasonable.

 

Karl Lagerfeld was quoted as saying of his collection, "Today, I only collect books; there is no room left for something else. If you go to my house, I’ll have you walk around the books. I ended up with a library of 300,000. It’s a lot for an individual." Yes, it is. It sounds like an obsession. It also sounds like tsundoku. That is an adopted Japanese word because there is no English equivalent. It means acquiring a whole lot of books or other reading material but never reading it. Lagerfeld was said to be a voracious reader, but I doubt he read 300,000 books. That would require reading almost ten books a day from the day he was born.

 

Lagerfeld's library came complete with rolling ladders and spiral staircases. It is not easy to store 300,000 books. When you look at the picture of Lagerfeld in his library, you will notice something else distinctive about it besides size. The books are shelved horizontally rather than vertically. I have seen two explanations. One is that they take up less space that way, which makes absolutely no sense since they take up the same number of square feet no matter how you stack them. The other was that it is easier to read the titles that way. You don't have to crick your neck sideways. That sounds like a practical answer, but Lagerfeld was not noted for being a practical man. My guess is it was artistic, a fashion statement. Recently, those who design homes by installing "books by the foot" for homeowners who practice tsundoku have started stacking them horizontally, believing that looks better. Lagerfeld was always ahead of others in his fashion sense, so that seems the more logical explanation for his unusual method of stacking books.

 

Has there ever been a larger private book collector? If Lagerfeld possessed a collection three times the size of Phillipps, it is hard to imagine there being such a person. However, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Lagerfeld was small time. It says that John Q. Benham of Avoca, Indiana, has a collection of over 1.5 million books. Guinness claims they fill up his house, a six-car garage, and a two-story building, while others are kept under tarpaulins outside. Guinness supposedly is diligent in fact-checking the record claims they publish, but it is hard to imagine they sent someone out to Avoca to count the books.

 

As to what becomes of Lagerfeld's collection now that he is gone, that is not known. Nor have I seen any numbers as to what the value of his books would be. Phillipps' material was sold over a series of auctions that did not conclude until almost a century later. It will be a challenge.


Posted On: 2019-03-01 07:17
User Name: mairin

An informative, enjoyable piece on the little-known Lagerfeld book collection. Or was it a library? A book archive? A book horde? What was it, really? Thanks for this, Mike, I was hoping Rare Book Hub would cover the subject. And we all appreciate being educated on "tsundoku", it applies to a good many people most of us know (accumulators of books, not readers, certainly not connoisseur collectors). These are a special class of bibliomaniac who love the physicality of books for their own sake: book as 'seductive' object, let's say. As for the sheer vastness of Lagerfeld's collection (if it indeed be that), some quantity of those volumes could be accumulated unsold inventory from his Paris bookshop, Studio 7L. Nice job, Mike, shows a good touch with the material, not least Sir Thomas Phillipps.
- Maureen E. Mulvihill, Collector / Guest Writer, 2016 - .


Posted On: 2019-03-01 16:39
User Name: Otakahira

We should all lend a passing thought to the plight of the "heirs and assigns" who may eventually have to wade into our bookshelves, performing a daunting triage as they attempt to save what's valuable, often under time pressure . . . even if we haven't quite reached 100,000. Not even a passing mention of how the value of books can be reduced through "spine roll," if they're not only STORED horizontally, but STACKED horizontally? -- Vin Suprynowicz


Posted On: 2019-03-27 14:22
User Name: cindyr

Nice article. I think you can fit more books in the same space if you stack them horizontally, because you can use nearly 100% of the vertical space, up to the bottom of the next shelf. The books themselves do not "take up less space", of course, as they are the same size, but it is a more efficient use of the space you have.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Ortelius (Abraham). <i>Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,</i> folio, Antwerp, 1570, First Edition (2nd Issue), 53 double-page maps, contemporary hand colouring. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> An original engraved facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776, issued by order of Congress on 4 July 1823 in a limited edition of 200 copies on fine parchment. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> Shakespeare & Co., Rue de l’Odeon, Paris 1922. No. 559 of 1000 Copies of the First Edn.,, one of 750 Copies on handmade paper. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Malton (James) [1761-1803]. A fine quality set of twenty-five hand coloured aquatint Views of Dublin, as published for <i>A Picturesque and Descriptive View of the City of Dublin</i>. €6,000 to €7,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> 'Bloody Sunday.' An original Admission Ticket to Croke Park, Great Challenge Match (Football), Tipperary v. Dublin, Sunday, November 21,1920. Pink card, 3 ins x 4 ¼ ins. €4,000 to €5,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Haveth Childers Everywhere - Fragment from Work in Progress,</i> Paris & N.Y., 1930, First Edn., Signed and Limited No. 50 (100) Copies. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Edward Lyons, Irish (1726-1801). Genealogy: <i>The FitzGerald's Arms of Carton House, Kildare,</i> pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Yeats (William Butler). <i>Poems.</i> Cuala Press, D. 1935, stiff blue paper covers, unlettered as issued, coloured initials and ornaments hand-drawn by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats. One of 300 copies. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> A fine and important collection of Ulster Wit. Belfast Political Scrapbook, 19th century. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Rare Views of the Giant's Causeway. Coloured Prints: Drury (Susanna) [1698-1770]. A rare pair of original Engraved Prints. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> [Johnson (Rev. Samuel)]. <i>Julian the Apsostate Being a Short Account of his Life, together with a Comparison of Popery and Paganism,</i> L., 1682, First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Aringhi (Pauli). <i>Roma Subterranea Novissima,</i> 2 vols. lg. folio Rome (Typis Vitalis Mascardi) 1651. €350 to €750.
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 47. Roosevelt, Theodore. Photograph inscribed to Morris J. Hirsch. May 7th 1918. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 178. Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York: [Printed for the author], 1955. First edition in the first issue binding. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 38. Mather, Cotton. <i>Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England.</i> London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 55. Taylor, Zachary. Autograph letter signed as President-Elect. Baton Rouge: January 15, 1849. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. Picasso, Pablo. <i>Verve</i> Vol. V, Nos. 19-20. Paris: Editions Verve, 1948. Inscribed on the title page by Picasso. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 211. Domergue, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ete a Monte Carlo. Lithographed poster, Lucien Serre & Cie, Paris, circa 1937. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 105. Manuscript Illumination attr. to Neri da Rimini. Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated. [Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 40. McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, James. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs.</i> Philadelphia: Rice, Rutter & Co., 1870. $3,00
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 222. Searle, Ronald. [Pets--a dog, cats and a parrot-- surrounded by books, and inspecting a globe, perhaps planning global domination]. Original drawing, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 inches. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 98. Faden, William; Scull, Nicholas and George Heap. A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, Survey'd by N. Scull and G. Heap. London: William Faden, 12 March 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Zang Tumb Tuuum:<br>la révolution futuriste<br>Online Auction<br>30 November – 7 December</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 18:</b> The "Official Edition" of the United States Constitution and the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution, 1787. $15,000,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. I Paroliberi Futuristi. 1914-1915. 8 p. Unique corrected proofs, for an anthology that remained unpublished. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Studenti in Lettere. Università. 1915. Seminal work, featured in 3 historical futurist exhibitions. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Chiaro di luna. Circa 1915. Collage and gouache on paper. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Manicure. Faire les ongles à l'Italie. Circa 1915. A fantastic parody of an advertising poster. €20,000 to €30,000.

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