• <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Roman binding.- Pindar. <i>Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia,</i> translated by Johannes Lonicer, contemporary Roman binding by Niccolo Franzese, Basel, 1535. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Raverat (Gwen). Comprehensive album of 530 wood engravings, circa 1909-1950. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>Fiesta,</i> first English edition, first impression dust-jacket, 1927. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, first impression, 1953. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>Great Expectations,</i> 3 vol., first edition, first impression, Chapman and Hall, 1861. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Campbell (Colen) & others. <i>Vitruvius Britannicus, or The British Architect...,</i> 5 vol., vol.1-3 later editions, vol.4 & 5 first editions, [?1731]-31-67-71. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Geography.- Mela (Pomponius). <i>Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis,</i> Venice, Franciscus Renner de Heilbronn, 1478. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> America.- [?Espinosa y Tello (José)]. <i>Relacion del Viage hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana en el Año de 1792,</i> 2 vol. including Atlas, first edition, Madrid, 1802. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Australasia.- Péron (Francois) and Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet. <i>Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes,</i> 5 vol. including Atlas, second edition, Paris, 1824. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>30th March 2023</b>
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Botany.- Curtis (William). <i>The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed,</i> 83 vol. in 62, 1794-1956. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum, Mar. 30:</b> Darwin (Charles).- Lecky (W.E.H.) <i>The Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe,</i> 2 vol., Darwin's copy with inscription "Charles Darwin 1865", pencil marginalia and pencil notes, 1865. £7,000 to £10,000.
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript African Americana:<br>March 30, 2023</b>
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Papers of pianist-composer Lawrence Brown relating to Paul Robeson & more, various places, 1925-54. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Freedom Summer archive of civil rights activist Karen Haberman Trusty, Atlanta & elsewhere, 1963-64. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> New York, 1933. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Archive of letters from the sculptor Richmond Barthé to a close Jamaican friend, various places, 1966-85. $25,000 to $35,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli<br>Auction 41<br>Books, Autographs & Manuscripts<br>March 21st-23rd 2023</b>
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Nabokov, <i>Lolita,</i> 1955. First edition, mint copy. Starting price 1900€
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Marinetti, <i>Zang Tumb Tuuum,</i> 1914. First edition. Starting price 1600€
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> A collection of <i>Playboy,</i> starting price from 20€
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Kepler, <i>Dioptrice,</i> 1611. First edition. Starting price 9500€
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Barbault, <i>Les plus beaux Monuments de Rome,</i> 1761-1766. Starting price 5500€
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Watson, <i>Dendrologia Britannica,</i> 1825. Starting price 380€

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2022 Issue

Lost, Stolen, Forgotten Books Find Their Way Home


Paddy Riordan returns the copy of Red Deer borrowed 84 years ago by his grandfather (Earlsdon Library Instagram photo).

There have been several stories of books that have disappeared from a collection finally making their way home recently. Those are happy ending stories, and these days, we all need some cheer. So here we go, and welcome back.


First up is a story of an overdue library book being returned. We hear about these cases occasionally but this one was seriously overdue, very, extremely, extraordinarily overdue. The book was Red Deer by Richard Jefferies. You may not know Jefferies but he was a popular 19th century writer of rural, animal, and nature tales. Red Deer was first published in 1884 and that edition is worth around $350 today, but it's unlikely the Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library of Coventry, U.K., had a first edition in 1938. That's when Captain William Humphries borrowed their copy of Red Deer. He borrowed the book for his daughter, Anne. The book was due on October 11, 1938, but neither the Captain nor his daughter returned it. It remained in her possession and the responsibility to return the book finally fell to the Captain's grandson and Anne's son, Paddy Riordan. He did what his ancestors failed to do and returned the book. As he explained to the BBC, “I feel I have expunged my grandfather's crime.” He said that jokingly, of course.


Mr. Riordan went a step further. He paid the fine. Not all of it, naturally. That would have amounted to something like $9,000. Fines build up over 84 years. Rather, he paid the library approximately $20, which would have covered the fines through the 1930s. Apparently all was forgiven and the library is not holding out for the remaining $8,980.




A 400-year-old book has made its way back to the museum that once owned it, but it wasn't overdue or stolen. It had simply been sold years ago as not relevant to the institution's collection. The book is L’Histoire et Chronique de Provence, a history of Provence in France, written by César de Nostredame, son of the Nostradamus we all know. He could have foreseen this happening (it's probably written in his book somewhere if you know how to interpret it). The book was published in Lyon in 1614, the first edition.


You might think the owner was some library in France, but that's not even close. It's less than intuitive home is the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History. That is Danville, Virginia, U.S.A. What was it doing there? That is evidently what an earlier curator was thinking when they sold the book for $800. However, there is a story as to why it was there in the first place. The book was originally brought to Danville by two educators at Stratford College, Mabel Kennedy, college dean, and Ann Carrington Revell, the music teacher. They put together a major collection of antiquities from Europe which they gave to Stratford. They were assisted by Kennedy's brother, Hoffman (Henry) Kennedy, a New York and Paris antique dealer, in building their collection. Ms. Kennedy was dean from from 1930 until 1969, when she died, so the purchase was likely made during this time or a little before.


In 1974, enrollment declining, Stratford closed. At that time, some 1,000 items from Stratford's arts collection were given to the Danville Museum. Sometime after that, a decision was made to sell the book. Recently, Tina Cornely, the museum's Director, noticed a copy of the book was being offered by a bookseller in New York. She recognized it as being the Danville copy by a stain on the title page. The decision was made to buy it back, the price now being $1,900. The dealer had purchased it at a Connecticut estate auction but no more is known about where it was in the years after it left Danville. But, now it's back home and on display at the Danville museum.




Here is another return of a book, but this time it is one that was stolen. A “tiny but valuable antiquarian book” that once belonged to Sir Walter Scott has been returned to the Abbotsford Library. Abbottsford was the home of Scott and is now a historic site open to the public. The book is Herman und Dorothea von Goethe by Benjamin Fischer, published in 1822. It was a gift to Sir Walter.


It went missing from the Abbotsford Library in 1997 or earlier. Its whereabouts was unknown until appearing in a used book store where it was sold for a fraction of its value. It was then taken to an auction house as part of an estate sale where its listing was noticed by The Rt. Hon. James Wolffe, former Lord Advocate and Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and Chairman of the Abbotsford Trust. The Advocates is a group of distinguished lawyers in Scotland.


Neil Mackenzie, Keeper of the Advocates Library, wrote to the auction house requesting the book be returned. According to the Advocates website, he explained, “At the beginning of this month the eagle-eyed James Wolffe KC spotted the title in a Lyon & Turnbull auction catalogue. The 200-year-old book has a handwritten addition on the flyleaf indicating that the book belonged to the Abbotsford Library, which is owned and operated by the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust. When it was pointed out to the auction house that the Trust remained the owner of the book, Lyon & Turnbull moved swiftly to withdraw it from the sale and returned it without quibble.


“The Trust is most grateful to Mr Wolffe, to Lyon & Turnbull, and to the executors. It is wonderful that a cultural treasure has been restored to its rightful home.”




Finally, we have a story that turned out to be a false alarm. Questions arose when French President Emmanuel Macron gifted Pope Francis a first French edition of Immanuel Kant's 1796 book, On Eternal Peace. What generated the concern was a library stamp on the title page. It bore the stamp of the Academic Reading Room in Lviv. Lviv is a city in Ukraine, but prior to the Second World War it was part of Poland.


The concern was that the book had been looted from the then Polish library. When the Nazis invaded Poland, they took all sorts of loot, including valuable books from Polish libraries. The Russians also took took books from Poland after they invaded. Was this one of them that therefore still belonged to Lviv or Poland? The Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying, “the very fact of giving the Pope by the President of France a book with a seal indicating its origin from the collection of a pre-war Polish organisation should be preceded by detailed provenance research, excluding that the object may constitute a war loss.”


A detailed provenance search was made and it revealed that the book had been in France well before Germany invaded Poland. The book had been sold by Parisian bookseller Patrick Hatchuel for 2,500€. Hatchuel said it had a label from an earlier French bookseller, Lucien Bodin, who was in business in Paris roughly from 1880-1910. Hatchuel said he purchased it from the son of a collector who owned it for half a century. Libraries do at times deaccession books or will sell or trade duplicates with other libraries. That is a far less problematic explanation. Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski confirmed the legitimacy of the transaction, saying in a “tweet,” that the book “is not a Polish war loss. Contrary to some media claims ... Everything indicates the book was in France at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Posted On: 2022-12-01 16:54
User Name: davereis

If there were a worldwide database of missing/stolen books and manuscripts, it would serve the antiquarian field well. Like a worldcat of missing items. Otherwise, a seller at times has no idea what they are getting themselves into.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Autograph album leaf signed, 1826. €9,000 to €12,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Franz Kafka: Autograph letter unsigned, 1924. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Torquato Tasso: Autograph poem signed, no date. €12,000 to €16,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Charles Darwin: Autograph letter signed, 1866. €4,500 to €6,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Albert Einstein: Autograph letter signed, 1933. €6,000 to €8,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Heinrich Hertz: Autograph manuscript signed, 1889. €18,000 to €24,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Giambattista Bodoni: Autograph letter signed, 1787. €900 to €1,200.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Francisco de Goya: Autograph letter signed, 1789. €18,750 to €25,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Martin Luther: Notes from his desk, no date. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b><center>Stargardt Autographenhandlung<br>Autographs: Literature, Music, Art, Science, History, Theatre & Film<br>March 28, 2023</b>
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Ludwig van Beethoven: Autograph letter signed, 1816. €22,500 to €30,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Gustav Mahler: Foto portrait signed and annotated, 1907(?). €7,500 to €10,000.
    <b>Stargardt Autographenhandlung, Mar. 28:</b> Bed?ich Smetana: Autograph letter signed, 1883. €4,500 to €6,000.
  • <b><center>Koller Auctions<br>Books & Autographs<br>29 March 2023</b>
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> DADA - <i>Cabaret Voltaire.</i> A collection of artistic and literary contributions. Edited by Hugo Ball. CHF 5,000 to 8,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> EXPRESSIONISM - <i>Der Sturm.</i> Weekly magazine for culture and the arts. Almost complete suite from the years 1910 to 1932. CHF 20,000 to 30,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> LISBON EARTHQUAKE - <i>Augsburg collection of copper engravings of Lisbon. CHF 40,000 to 60,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Hamilton, William. <i>Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.</i> Naples, 1776-1779. CHF 50,000 to 70,000.
    <b><center>Koller Auctions<br>Books & Autographs<br>29 March 2023</b>
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Leonardi, Domenico Felice. <i>Le Delizie della villa di Castellazzo descritte in verso dall'abbate Domenico Felice Leonardi lucchese fra gli Arcadi Ildosio Foloetico.</i> Milan, 1743. CHF 12,000 to 18,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Zwingli, Huldrych. <i>Von erkiesen und freyhait der speisen. Von ergernusz und Verbößerung. Ob man gewalt hab die speyß zu etlichen zeyten verbieten [...]</i>. CHF 2,500 to 4,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> HENDRIK VAN VULLENHOE, UMKREIS. Benedictional and other texts for Johannes von Venningen, Bishop of Basel. Latin manuscript on parchment. CHF 50,000 to 80,000.
    <b>Koller, Mar. 29:</b> Gujer, Hans Rudolf. Master typist's book by Hans Rudolf Gujer from Wermetschweil (Wermatswil). German manuscript on paper. CHF 3,000 to 5,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions