Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2021 Issue

Edmund “Leigh” William Eveleigh Stein, remembered for his exceptional life and friendship

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Leigh

On 28th March we remember the passing of Leigh Stein on that day in 2020 on the very doorsteps of Covid-19.  He succumbed to age at 90.  He was a bookman of the old school but was in fact a late adapter, finding his book collecting affinity at 60 after having been a stamp and coin  collector earlier.  The truth is he was a natural collector with remarkable memory, judgment and optimism.

 

What particularly separated him from the common herd was his exceptional sense of generosity.  He had the gift to understand both sides of transactions and sought arrangements that worked for both.  He loved his collecting and wanted it to pay but earned his resources building and selling businesses.  The books and stamps he bought and sold were for the challenge.   For him they were simply complex fun.  He loved the chase.

 

When I was building the Americana Exchange, now known as Rare Book Hub, Leigh was an early and frequent collaborator, offering ideas, suggestions and perspectives.  He was a pleasure to know.

 

Leigh was the subject or a quoted source of many stories I wrote for our site over our 18 years.

 

In November 2007 in AE Monthly I wrote about a recent auction in New England conducted by William L. Parkinson of Hinesburg, Vermont.  

 

“In this sale the luck was running with the winners who will now be busy all winter wrestling with their bounty. It should be fun. For collectors the spring will bring a raft of fresh items, divided by importance and relevance, identified and explained. The prices will be higher but the work will have been done. The collector will then need only to read and decide.

"One such bidder was Leigh Stein of Eveleigh Books & Stamps. Of the 504 lots in the sale he bought 52. He bought lot 283, a fine example of Carrigain's New Hampshire map. He also acquired several of the large lots - the weekend discovery packages. 'I had a great time and bought some great material.' You could tell he was smiling as we spoke by phone.” 

 

In December 2009 I wrote a story, Affairs of the Heart, about Joyce and Jack Hanrahan and Leigh Stein, between them 232 years old.

 

I was writing about their involvement in the Boston Book fairs.  “They are a bit above the average age at the ABAA fair and twenty years older than the crowd at the Shadow Fair. They are the lifeblood of the business and will remain active into their 80's. But this is a passage, the ending of an era and all who love books and the chase should pause to appreciate these people and their commitment to the field. They are part of what makes it great.”

 

In 2011 I wrote about collecting in choppy waters and Leigh, at 80, spoke of his experience:

 

“Leigh Stein of Eveleigh Books, Dover, Massachusetts has seen the decline in book sales and is adjusting.  'When you buy a library you get the 50 books you want and another 950 you don’t.  We’ve been putting the 950 on Amazon while waiting for the 50 to recover.  It’s not significant money but it pays the bills.'  Along the way he scours the market for material his collectors want.  Leigh is four score and then some and gets up early to check his email.”

 

In December 2015 I wrote again about the recent Boston Book Fairs when Leigh was 85:

 

“While the fresh and vigorous slip in with great agility, perhaps to come once and not again, among them are some few for whom the books, buzz and community resonate deeply and will return every year for the rest of their lives.  They find companionship here; recognizing the like-minded.  In time they will pass through all the stages; as innocents, then knowledgeable, in time seasoned and finally anxious - about book fairs in the afterlife.  The book business it turns out is a morality play and every person involved given a variety of roles that change through the years.

 

"Toward the end of what for many becomes a life-long march there are fewer books to buy or sell.  For them the fair is about companionship, the 'hey how are you?' and 'wow, it has been a while,' a reminder they have been part of something measured in decades.  For Leigh Stein now in his mid 80s, who attended almost all of the 39 main fairs and exhibited at many of the shadow fairs, it was enough recently to spend a few hours on Sunday, exchanging hellos with many whose hair, like his, has thinned and whitened with time. 

 

"You didn’t have to buy a book to feel you belong there.  Your presence and the presence of so many other kindred spirits simply resonate the animal spirits of collecting.  Some people like movies.  These folks like paper and for them it’s no passing fancy.  It is how they understand life.”

 

Leigh was a character, a credit to his family and a valued friend.  He’s missed and will be remembered.

 

God bless.

 

Here is a link to his funeral notice.

 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/sudbury-ma/edmund-stein-9103269

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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