Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2019 Issue

Sample Catalogues from Zephyr Used & Rare Books

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Sample Catalogues from Zephyr Books.

Zephyr Used & Rare Books has created a catalogue of catalogues - Sell! Sell! Sell! Catalogue of Sample Catalogues. Most of these are those thick folders of samples, photographs, literature and such that salesmen took around to their clients. Others were intended for display, to help those clients sell their merchandise through to their customers. As Zephyr notes, in the days before digital presentations, salesmen needed these to provide images of products, their colors, in some cases tactile representations of products like fabrics. This is a thick catalogue, more than you might expect for 189 items, but since these samples were often thick and complex themselves, lengthy descriptions are often necessary. Zephyr also provides us with numerous photographs to enhance the descriptions. You could say this is a bookseller's sample catalogue. Here are a few samples of these samples

 

Here is sample catalogue for a product that has evolved in ways that never would have been imagined when this was produced circa 1902-1905. Item 125 is a photographic sample catalogue for the S. H. Couch Company, manufacturers of telephones and telephonic equipment. These phones won't provide access to the internet. You'll have to actually talk to the person on the other side, there being no keypads for text messaging. Voice recognition came only when the local operator recognized your voice. Operator assistance was needed back then. These phones didn't even have rotary dials yet. The closest thing to a mobile phone was one designed to be set on a table, which presumably could be moved as far as its cord would allow. Others were designed to be nailed to the wall. Each has a microphone attached to the body of the phone, while the earpiece is separate, on a cord, allowing for some movement of it. S. H. Couch Co. of Quincy, Massachusetts, remained in business all the way until 1985, though in later years it specialized in fire alarms. Samuel Couch himself lived until 1954, long enough to see rotary dial phones, one-piece microphone-earpiece "hooks," and private lines, but not Princess phones. Priced at $650.

 

If you are looking for a classy new suit, where else would you go but Sears? Unlike many of the companies represented in this catalogue, Sears is still around, though barely clinging to life. Mine closed recently. Hopefully yours is still hanging in there. Even in 1910-11, Sears, or then Sears, Roebuck & Co., did not represent the epitome of high fashion, but every regular person shopped there, and those in the countryside bought from their catalogues. Item 61 is a salesman's sample catalogue with not only pictures, but mounted fabric samples, including wool, silk blends, corduroy and more. It features tailored men's suits, and I imagine it's been awhile since Sears did much individual tailoring. They did sell mostly "Ready Made Clothing," but you could still turn to Sears for individual cuts. There are also vests, overcoats, hats and such with the suits. This catalogue of Men's Fall and Winter Clothes Tailored to Measure for the 1910-1911 season can be seen on the cover of Zephyr's catalogue. $675.

 

You may be able to live without telephones and suits, but everyone needs donuts. Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia, figured that out around 1920 and developed a huge, if now mostly forgotten, or eclipsed donut business. He had a bakery in Harlem and realized the pastry had been popular among troops during the war. He put them on display and soon found he could not keep up with demand. Levitt responded by inventing a donut machine that could roll them out in large quantities. He began selling his machines to others. That led to his brand, Downyflake Doughnuts, and their popularity was such that he began franchising the brand. Item 105 is a Downyflake franchise promotional, with tipped-in photographs of his donut machine (he called the company Doughnut Machine Corporation of America). It also displays various promotional items available to franchisees, including hand-outs to be included with a box of donuts. This promotional was published circa 1932, and at 5 cents, donuts were hot items even during the Depression. Levitt would eventually have 400 franchises, to whom he sold both machines and ingredients, and also opened a chain of Mayflower Coffee Shops, which sold other foods along with his donuts. These were all over the country, including major locations such as New York's Time Square. Adolph Levitt died in 1953, and the company passed to his children. It changed its name to DCA Industries. DCA was purchased in 1970, and was sold to a succession of corporate buyers over the years, some not well-known, others major names such as Allied-Lyons, Pillsbury, and General Mills. It probably represents some small portion of General Mills' DNA but is indistinguishable from other parts of the company today. Meanwhile, the once popular Mayflower Coffee Shops closed down around 1970. There still remains but one Downyflake Doughnut Shop, operating in Nantucket, Massachusetts. $1,950.

 

If for some incomprehensible reason you don't like donuts, perhaps you would prefer some selections from Libby's Canned Meats. Item 108 is a sales sample catalogue from Libby, McNeill & Libby. The idea was that their salesmen could show samples of the product cans without having to carry all the cans around with them. Considering this was 1890, the salesmen couldn't stick the cans in the back of a car, so having a book of images instead was far more practical. Along with some more commonplace meats such as corned beef and ham, Libby's offered pigs feet, ox tongues, oxtail soup, cottage head cheese, jellied hocks, and sheep's tongues. Someone please pass the donuts. $450.

 

This next item is something of a surprise. It is a direct to the consumer, or mail order catalogue for a large product. It is a catalogue of carriages from the Ohio Carriage Mfg. Co. of Columbus. Ohio Carriage was operated by Harry C. Phelps, and his mail order shipping was designed to make his carriages cheaper than other comparable ones. I'm not sure how the mailman delivered one of these things, but obviously that had all been figured out. What is surprising to me about this catalogue is its date, Split Hickory Vehicles for 1916. Was there still a market for horse-drawn carriages in 1916? Evidently so, but Zephyr tells us that after the war, they began producing truck bodies, radio cabinets, and other goods. Item 33. $325.

 

Item 180 is another salesman's sample catalogue for a product you are in no hurry to buy. It is for the Freedom Casket Company, with images of over 125 wooden and metal caskets, for adults and children. The name was not chosen to represent finally being free of your burdens. It simply states the company's location - Freedom, Pennsylvania. The company is now long gone and buried too, but I imagine that all these years later, their products are still out there quietly performing the task for which they were created. $750.

 

Zephyr Used & Rare Books may be reached at 360-695-7767 or zephyrbook@gmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.

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