• <center><b>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>June 22, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Tolomeo, Claudio. <i>Cosmographia.</i> Ulma, Lienhart Holle, 16.07.1482.<br>€ 50.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Hondius, Henricus, & Johannes Janssonius. <i>Atlas novus, sive descriptio geographica totius orbis terrarum.</i> Amsterdam, Hondius-Janssonius, 1638. €30.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Castiglione, Baldassarre. <i>Il libro del cortegiano del conte Baldesar Castiglione.</i> Venice, eredi di Aldo, 1528. € 14.000+
    <center><b>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>June 22, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Bayer, Johann. <i>Uranometria, omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata, aereis laminis expressa.</i> Augusta, Christoph Mang, 1603.<br>€ 12.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> [Astronomy]. <i>[Scriptores Astronomici veteres].</i> Venezia, Aldo Manuzio, 1499.<br> € 7.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Aristophanes. <i>Aristofanous Komoidiai ennea. Aristophanis Comoediae novem.</i> Venice, Aldo Manuzio, 1498. € 7.000+
    <center><b>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>June 22, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Herodotus. <i>Hirodotou logoi ennea [...] Herodoti libri novem quibus musarum indita sunt nomina.</i> Venice, Aldo Manuzio, 1502. € 7.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Tory, Geoffroy. <i>L’art & science de la vraye proportion des lettres attiques, ou antiques.</i> Paris, Vincent Gaultherot, 1549. € 5.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Caterina da Siena. <i>Epistole devotissime de sancta Catharina da Siena.</i> Venice, Aldo Manuzio, 1500. € 4.500+
    <center><b>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>June 22, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> [Chess]. Gianuzio della Manzia, Orazio. <i>Libro nel quale si tratta della maniera di giuocar' a scacchi con alcuni sottilissimi partiti.</i> Torino, Antonio Bianchi, 1597. € 3.000+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> Newton, Isaac. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> Amsterdam, Compagnie di Amsterdam, 1714. €2.500+
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, June 22:</b> [Turkish Empire]. Ramberti, Benedetto. <i>Libri tre delle cose de Turchi.</i> Venice, eredi di Aldo, 1539. €1.500+
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Fine Literature<br>Online Auction<br>June 8 to June 22</b>
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> CALDWELL, ERSKINE. <i>Tobacco Road,</i> First Edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> ELIOT, GEORGE. <i>Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life.</i> Edinburgh & London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1871-72. First edition in book form. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> BYRON, GEORGE GORDON NOEL, LORD. <i>Don Juan.</i> London: the Thomas Davison; John Hunt; John and H.L. Hunt, 1819-24. First edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> [BURNEY, FRANCES]. <i>Evelina, Or, A Young Lady's Entrance into the World.</i> London: T. Lowndes, 1778. First edition. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Fine Literature<br>Online Auction<br>June 8 to June 22</b>
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> SHEPARD, ERNEST H. Colored drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet, in an autograph letter signed by Shepard. Dated February 29th, 1932. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> CARROLL, LEWIS (CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODGSON). <i>The Nursery "Alice".</i> London: MacMillan, 1890. Second (first published) edition. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> DANA, RICHARD HENRY, Jr. <i>Two Years Before the Mast.</i> New York, 1840. First edition with an autograph letter signed by Dana laid-in. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Doyle, Fine Literature:</b> FINE BINDING-RIVIERE] HAZLITT, WILLIAM. <i>Liber Amoris: or, the New Pygmalion.</i> London: John Hunt, 1823. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 17:</b> AN EXTRAORDINARILY FINE COPY OF “GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.” SWIFT, JONATHAN. 1667-1745. London: Benj. Motte, 1726. US$ 80,000 - 120,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 17:</b> PALAFOX Y MENDOXA, JUAN DE. 1600-1659. <i>[Virtudes del Indio....]</i> US$ 80,000 - 120,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 17:</b> ORIGINAL HARRY HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT. <i>A Magician Among the Spirits.</i> Autograph corrections by Houdini throughout, c.1923-1926.<br>US$ 20,000 - 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 17:</b> FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF THE RARE HARDCOVER EDITION ROWLING, J.K. <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.</i> London: Bloomsbury, 1997. US$ 30,000 - 50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 17:</b> FIRST APPEARANCE IN AMERICA OF MUSIC FOR "(AMERICA) MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE." LYON, JAMES. 1735–1794. <i>Urania.</i> Philadelphia: William Bradford, 1761. US$ 20,000 - 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Cañon de Chelley, 1904. Oversized orotone, 17 x 22in in original Curtis Studio frame. US$ 30,000 - 50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). 26 cyanotypes, featuring images of Cheyenne tribes from Volume VI of <i>North American Indian,</i> c.1907, made by Curtis in the field. US$ 30,000 - 50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). The Vanishing Race, 1904. Oversized orotone, 18 x 24in in original Curtis Studio frame. US$ 20,000 - 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Autograph Logs and Journals from his 1927 Alaska Expedition. US$ 7,000 - 9,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> A ONE SHEET POSTER OF <i>IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.</i> World Film Corporation, 1914. US$ 4,000 - 6,000
  • <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part II<br>The Arctic Exploration and the Search for a Northeast Passage</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> (C. PTOLEMY) – NICOLAUS GERMANUS DONIS. “Tabula Moderna Prussie Livonie Norbegie Et Gottie.” Ulm, 1486. The first printed map of Scandinavia and the North in untouched contemporary color.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> JAN HUYGEN VAN LINSCHOTEN. “Voyasie, ofte Schip.vaert...van by Noorden om langes Noorwegen de Noordt-Caep, Laplandt, Vinlandt, ruslandt, de Witte Zee, de Kusten van Kandenoes, Swetenoes, Pitzora…” Amsterdam, 1624.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> FRIDTJOF NANSEN/SIGURD SCOTT-HANSEN. “Lóitnant Johansen fra 86°.14’.” A sensational documentation map from one of the most famous and important polar expeditions in the world: “The Fram Expedition 1893 – 1896.”
    <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part II<br>The Arctic Exploration and the Search for a Northeast Passage</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> JOSEPH PAUL GAIMARD. “Voyage de la Commision scientific du Nord , en Scandinavie, en Laponie, au Spitsberg et aux Feröe pendant les années 1838, 1839 et 1840, sur la corvette La Recherche...M. Paul Gaimard”.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> PHILIPP JOHANN VON STRAHLENBERG. “Nova Descriptio Geographica Tattariae Magnae Tam Orientalis Quam Occidentalis In Particularibus…” Stockholm – Berlin (1730). The original Swedish edition.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> FREDERICK DE WIT. “Totius Europa Littora Novissime edita.” Contemporary hand-coloured engraving, Amsterdam c. 1675 – 80.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2019 Issue

Paris: Le Salon International du Livre Rare... 2019 - The Mermaids’ Song

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Hervé Valentin.

Last month, I heard the song of the mermaids! I followed it, and it took me to the Salon international du livre rare & de l’objet ancien (SILROA) in Paris, France. Hervé Valentin, President of the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM), welcomed me on the shore of the most important book fair in the world—a garden of delights, indeed.

 

The SILROA takes place under the glass domes of the sumptuous Grand Palais, in Paris. This luxurious venue, located at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées, has now become the regular residence of this annual book fair. A cosy bourgeois atmosphere, neatly hair-dressed people and pretty girls smiling at you—and, unfortunately, at everyone else—, and Champagne for the press, everything there is but “luxe, calme et volupté.” This is the den of worldwide reputed booksellers, who sometimes appear to sell books in a parallel world, where money grows on trees! Yet, the new president of the SLAM, Hervé Valentin, claims that the SILROA is for all booksellers. The forewords of the catalogue of the event read: “Thanks to the pedagogic orientation of those who made it possible, this event intends to reduce the cultural gap that plagues our country. Everyone is thus entitled to attend, and everyone is welcome.” Although conscious that this fair is a mermaid’s song aiming at attracting new sailors to the shores of the old book business, Hervé Valentin insists that there should be no frontier between the so-called “big booksellers” and the “smaller ones”. “There are 230 members of the SLAM and only 100 of them are present here today. I want to make clear that they all belong here. Books-collecting concerns all types of books.” He probably knows what he’s talking about, since his personal love for books started with the popular Bibliothèque verte. “As a kid, I would steal my elder sisters’ copies to read the adventures of Fantomette.” Today, he supervises the biggest event linked to antiquarian books in the world.

 

The SILROA attracted 19,000 visitors over three days this year, with a record of 5,000 people for the inauguration. Of course, the part of the fair dedicated to antique artifacts helped, but in comparison, the New York fair only attracts 4 to 8,000 visitors, and it’s the second biggest fair in the world. This year, 181 booksellers attended the SILROA, paying $5,600 for a regular booth—there are more spacious, and consequently more expensive ones. The good news is that Paris has become attractive again. “We only had 20 foreign booksellers last year, we have 55 this year. We note that the Americans are back, which is great news! None was present the past two years.” Among them were Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books (CA), Ben Kimont Bookseller (CA), Rabelais (ME), and Ursus Books (NY). There were also booksellers from the Netherlands, Japan and Denmark. Does it mean that the market is doing well? “Well, although new clients are hard to find, I’d say yes—but it depends on which type of books. We know that teachers or researchers do not really buy old books any more, as they now have free access to online resources,” Hervé Valentin says. “Less and less people are reading Latin or Greek; consequently, books in those languages are getting hard to sell. Travel books, after a period of euphoria due to some American and Japanese institutions creating their funds in the 90s up to the early 2000s, are now less sought-after; so are history books.”

 

What is, then, the golden seam? “Literature remains a sure value, as well as illustrated vanguard books, which are usually pushed by young booksellers with a new approach.” So, do books represent a good investment in 2019? “People who buy books do not really invest in them. I mean—they are aware of the value of what they buy, and many of them worry about what their collection will become when they pass away, but when you buy let’s say a million dollar book, you could invest in real estate instead—that would be more lucrative. People who choose to buy books truly love them—and investment is not really on their mind.”

 

Whosoever these people are, they had the choice at the Grand Palais: “This year, half a dozen books are offered for sale for over $565,000,” Hervé Valentin confirmed. Among them was an exceptional book of hours from the 16th century, made for Anne de Momontrency, and adorned with full-page paintings (Bibermühle—$1,100,000). There was also a copy of the first 1818 edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Librairie Encrivore & Bouquinerie Aurore), or an incredible collection of photographs taken by Felice Beato in Japan in the late 19th century (Le Feu Follet—$90,500). “These books of exception are a formidable powerhouse, but I’ve just sold a copy of the first title in the cheap Livre de Poche series,” Hervé Valentin, who also runs the Walden bookshop—a tribute to Thoreau—, giggled. Did it go for $1,000,000? He laughed: “Take off five zeros, and you’re getting closer to the actual price. What I mean is that we do not focus exclusively on exceptional books. We also have a collective stand dedicated to the neophytes, where each bookseller leaves 4 or 5 books at less than $170—it’s very popular. We also have conferences open to everyone, and various workshops of binding, gilding etc. Plus, the book that the bookseller refuses, might become the head corner stone.” Indeed, the extremely rare first edition of Frankenstein was printed on cheap paper, and summarily bound in half calf in 1818—it was then considered as a secondary work. Although rebacked, the copy offered at the SILROA was sold for the “monster” price of $90,000.

 

 

The Garden of Delights

 

Except the very first one I approached, who repelled me with a dry “no” when asked if she would like to show me any particular book of hers, all “mermaids” were welcoming, and keen to talk about the wonders they had in store; passion could be heard in their voices as they did—and, Lord! They could sing!

 

Felice Beato: Native Types

 

Sybille Pandolfi from Le Feu Follet (Paris), showed me the 99 original photographs of Felice Beato, which he took in Japan in the 1860s: “He arrived there at the invitation of his friend Charles Wirgman, journalist for the Illustrated London News. He was one of the first to enter this then unknown world! These photographs are so modern—a lot of them were taken directly in the streets, which was quite uncommon at the time.” Printed on albumen paper and water-coloured by hand, they represent tattooed Samurais in armours, women massaged while smoking opium, and incredible scenes of ordinary life. This is a unique testimony, as Japan had just engaged on the Western path of development—thus these pictures do not only show a yet unknown society, they also captured its sunset. Sybille Pandolfi’s emotion was palpable: “For decades, they were the only images known to Westerners.” Although bound in a contemporary binding, this is not exactly a “book” as it is a unique copy, compiled by some unknown admirer, with captions in English facing each picture, written by James W. Murray, “assistant Commissioner General in Yokohama.”

 

Vanitas

 

There was a very dark Dance of Death engraved by Jean Jacob Ridlinger in the early part of the 18th century, showing a skull and crossed bones overlooking some people dancing with skeletons while Death takes away various people in surrounding vignettes. In the top left corner, Adam and Eve give birth to death, while Jesus Christ defeats death in the background by, well—dying; God moves in a mysterious way. Although restored and pasted on thicker paper at some point, it was offered for $5,000. The bubbling female bookseller handed me her business card: “Easy to remember, isn’t it? My name is Anne Lamort. Lamort means Death in French. Even easier as she is a highly respected bookseller. She shrugged: “Yeah, I was a member of the board of the SLAM, which means nothing.” Well, she is also the Dean of the Société des bibliophiles en France, founded by Charles de Pixerécourt in 1820—which means she knows a few things about books! “This is for Rare Book Hub?” she asked joyfully. “Then you should probably look at these miniatures—Americans love miniatures, don’t they?” She showed me a nice set of 40 small volumes: “The complete works of Shakespeare from the 19th century,” she said. “This is just for fun, you’d get blind trying to read it!” Books not made for reading? Vanitas, vanitatum... as Ridlinger would say.

 

The King of hours

 

Bibermühle’s booth was very impressive. In a short video published on social media, the owner declares that he currently owns 98% of all books of hours available worldwide. One thing is for sure, his collection will make you dizzy. The colours of the hand-painted religious scenes displayed are so bright, you’d think they are reproductions. But they are not. Jesus bleeding while visiting naked people in purgatory, some devilish creatures tormenting a Saint, or a naked woman bathing in a fountain are images taken from the fairy tale of mankind. That’s where you could look at a $1,100,000 book. I heard the seller talking to an old woman about another gorgeous book: “It features more than 100 hand-painted vignettes,” he said in a very casual tone. “And each and every single page is illuminated. The price? $1,000,000.” You can get a 100 square meters apartment in Paris for that price. But who cares about an apartment when they can buy a book of hours?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts<br>Online Auction 5–15 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 5–15 June:</b> Machiavelli.<br><i>Il Principe,</i> Florence, 1532, later Danish half calf. £70,000 to £90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 5–15 June:</b> The Sundial of Ahaz, two diagrams on a leaf from Nicholas of Lyra's <i>Literal Commentary,</i> [France, c.1360-80]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 5–15 June:</b> Homer. <i>The whole works,</i> translated by Chapman, London, [1616?], calf. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 5–15 June:</b> Jonathan Swift. Autograph letter signed, to the Duke of Dorset, in support of his friend Thomas Sheridan, 22 March 1735. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Pablo Neruda, <i>Canto General,</i> first edition, signed by Neruda, artists Rivera & Siquieros, CDMX, 1950. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> James Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> deluxe limited issue, signed, London, 1936. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Sergei Rachmaninoff, Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, 3 bars from <i>Piano Concerto No. 2,</i> 1933. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Thomas Edison, Typed Letter Signed, describing preparing first phonograph for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, 1922. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Robert Frost, <i>Collected Poems,</i> author’s presentation copy, signed with <i>Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening</i> inscribed, NY, 1930. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Thomas Mann, Autograph Letter Signed to his children, 3 pages on exiles, 1938. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Alighiero Boetti & Anne-Marie Sauzeau-Boetti, <i>Classifying the thousand longest rivers in the world,</i> limited edition, 1977. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Agnes Martin, <i>Paintings & Drawings,</i> complete set of 10 lithographs, 1990. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 17:</b> Abraham Lincoln, Autograph Letter Signed to Whig activist George W. Rives, Springfield, 1849. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [CIVIL WAR] -- [SHERIDAN, Philip Henry]. Personal headquarters flag of Philip Henry Sheridan used when he led the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. Spring - Summer 1862. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY]. Half plate daguerreotype of firefighter Walter Van Erven Dorens. [San Francisco]: n.p., [ca 1854-1856]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [LINCOLNIANA]. Abraham Lincoln banner possibly made for the 1864 presidential campaign. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [REVOLUTIONARY WAR - CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. [HOLTEN, Dr. Samuel]. An archive of letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts, physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD]. CARBUTT, John, photographer. Exceptional collection of 27 stereoviews from the series, "Excursion to the 100th Meridian, October 1866." Chicago, [1866]. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [ALASKAN GOLD RUSH]. William Steele West and family, extensive archive of photographs, diaries, correspondence, and personal items. [Ca 19th - 20th century]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [TAYLOR, Zachary]. Quarter plate daguerreotype featuring the 12th President of the United States. N.p.: n.p., [ca 1845]. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WASHINGTON, George]. Signed Society of the Cincinnati document. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President. [Washington], 29 September 1862. 1 page, 4to, old creases. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th. Jefferson"), as United States President, to Robert Patterson. Washington DC, 2 July 1805. 1 page, 4to, evenly toned, small tear from seal. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY] -- [ALCOTT, Elizabeth Sewall]. Ninth plate ruby ambrotype attributed to Elizabeth Sewall Alcott. N.p., [ca 1856-1857]. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WESTERN AMERICANA]. RUSSELL, Andrew Joseph, photographer. <i>Salt Lake City, From the Top of the Tabernacle.</i> [1869]

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