Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2020 Issue

Important Books and Manuscripts, Including Fine Bindings and Private Press, from Phillip J. Pirages

Dec1b379-4c26-49c2-a7d6-2f0dc5292363

Catalogue 75 from Phillip J. Pirages.

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts has released their Catalogue 75. Manuscript Material, Incunabula, and Books Printed from 1501 to Present, Including Fine Bindings and Private Press. It is filled with items meant for the best private and institutional collections. Pirages does not target a particular subject or type of book, but rather, concentrates on important material from across a wide spectrum. We can note that the manuscripts are not a lot of typical handwritten documents but professional scribal material, often illuminated, some predating the invention of printing. Here are a few examples of the important items to be found in this latest selection.

 

We will begin with the oldest item in the catalogue. Actually, Pirages notes that it is the oldest leaf they have ever sold. It is a page taken from the Homilies of the Venerable Bede. Bede was a Catholic theologian in Jarrow, England, who wrote in the early eighth century. He died in 735. It was unusual to find many notable church scholars in England that early. He is still regularly referred to as “venerable” although he was canonized a saint. That came over a millennium later (1899) so the label “venerable” is still used though he is now St. Bede. Based on such factors as the type of parchment and style of writing, the creation of this manuscript leaf can be traced to the monastery at Fulda in Germany. It can also be dated to the middle or second quarter of the ninth century. The Homilies would have been first scribed by monks in Jarrow a little before Bede's death, but later brought to the continent where they were copied in Fulda. Like many of the really old extant manuscript leaves, this one survived because it was used in the bindings of a later book when it was thought to be of no further use. Often, these documents are now worth far more than the books in which they were used as bindings. Item 2. Priced at $48,000.

 

This next item is not nearly so old as the previous one, but it is still very early for printed books. It contains the Confessionale: Defecerunt Scrutanter Scrutinio of Antoninus Florentinus with Sermo de Poenitentia of Johannes Chrysostomus. The former was a 15th century Archbishop of Florence, the latter a fifth century bishop. The first is a confessional, the second a sermon. It was published circa 1470 and that early on there wasn't a lot being published beyond religious tracts. This is a second edition. The printer was the first in Cologne, Ulrich Zel. Zel had served an apprenticeship with Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer. Fust loaned Gutenberg the money to set up the first printing press and Schoeffer served as Gutenberg's assistant. When Gutenberg was unable to repay the loan, Fust sued him and won possession of Gutenberg's equipment. With the now skilled Schoeffer as his partner, they became the successors to the forced out Gutenberg. The binding was created by “the Master of the Rose,” Cologne's first binder. Item 99. $16,000.

 

Women have rarely received due recognition, even in present times, so it is surprising to see a book such as this coming from the 15th century. The author was Jacobus Philippus de Bergam, the title De Claris Mulieribus (concerning famous women), published in 1497. This is actually something of a continuation of a book by the same title written by Giovanni Boccaccio and published in manuscript form in the 14th century, and first printed in 1473. That was the first western collection of biographies exclusively about women. Jacobus was a historian, although his standards would not be regarded as very high for a historian today. His biographies and 172 woodcut portraits include not only historical women, but biblical and mythological ones as well. Naturally, most of these portraits are based more on period imaginations than actual images of the women, which were nonexistent. However, the final seven are of women from Italian noble families contemporary with Jacobus, so those were drawn either from life or realistic images. The book starts with the Virgin Mary, but goes back to earlier biblical figures, all the way to Eve, and mythical figures such as the snake-haired Medusa. This is why we say Jacobus was not always a discerning historian. The often missing entry for Pope Joan is supplied in facsimile. Pages for the female pope who almost assuredly never existed, but many believed was real at this time, were often destroyed as the Church did not recognize her existence. Pirages describes this as “one of the finest illustrated books of the Italian Renaissance.” Item 113. $25,000.

 

Here is a book by a man whose extreme puritanical views would not be much appreciated today. They weren't even appreciated in his own day. His name was Thomas Hall, and his book's title is Akosmia, the Loathsomnesse of Long Haire. With an Appendix Against Painting, Spots, Naked Breasts, &c., published in 1654. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, “Akosmia” means chaos. Hall makes biblical arguments against long hair on men, evidently unaware of the typical portraits of Jesus, and speaks of how matted long hair can become infested with vermin and bleed. He even says that some men in Poland lost their eyes when their long hair was cut. This is another example of a dubious historical claim. Hall cites the better known Puritanical hair-cutter William Prynne and his book about “love-locks,” but Pirages tells us that Hall says even he didn't condemn long hair sufficiently. After 95 pages on men, Hall adds some pleasant comments for the ladies, such as calling make-up “the badge of the harlot.” Hall was a minister, but when the Restoration in England replaced the previous Puritanical rule, his congregants threw him out. Item 131. $3,000.

 

Item 230 is A Note by William Morris on his Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press. Together with a Short Description of the Press by S. C. Cockerell, and an Annotated List of the Books Printed Thereat. This was the last book printed at the Kelmscott Press, in 1898, two years after Morris died. The staff was in wind down mode of already started projects during the two years after Morris died. The Kelmscott Press and William Morris were the primary movers in the fine and private press movement which continues to this day. This is one of 525 copies on paper. Morris describes his admiration for the artistry of 15th century books which he hoped to restore. He says, “they were always beautiful by force of the mere typography, even without the added ornament, with which many of them are so lavishly supplied.” This is very fine copy, hard to find now. $3,000.

 

That item leads us to a new book, written by Phillip Pirages and just published, Letters from the 15th Century: On the Origins of the Kelmscott Chaucer Typeface. The text provides new information about Morris and his library and about early printers and typefaces. Each copy includes five leaves, one from the Kelmscott Chaucer, and one each from the 15th century presses of Peter Schoeffer, Johann Mentelin, Gunther Zainer, and Anton Koberger, each admired by and influential on Morris. The pages were taken from defective copies, or in the case of the Kelmscott Chaucer, unbound pages. It has been printed in a limited run of 165 copies. Prices vary depending on the leaves supplied and style of binding.

 

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts may be reached at 503-472-0476 or info@pirages.com. Their website is www.pirages.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Nebel, Carl. The War Between the United States and Mexico. New York, 1851. $270,000 - $300,000 MXN / USD $15,000 - $16,666
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Nebel, Carl. The War Between the United States and Mexico. New York, 1851. $270,000 - $300,000 MXN / USD $15,000 - $16,666
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Bolaños, Joaquín. La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte... (“The Portentous Life of Death”) México, 1792. $50,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,777 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Tratado de Paz… entre la República Mexicana y los Estados Unidos. (“Treaty of Peace… Between the Mexican Republic and the United States”) 1848. $80,000 - $90,000 MXN / USD $4,444 - $5,000
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Fabregat, Josep Joaquín. Vista de la Plaza de México… (“View of the Square of Mexico”) México, 1797. $60,000 - $100,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $5,555
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel. Invitación al Coronel Narciso de la Canal… (“Invitation to Coronel Narciso de la Canal…”) 1810. $170,000 - $200,000 MXN / USD $9,444 - $11,111
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Gálvez, Joseph de. Real Cédula de Erección de la Compañía de Filipinas. (“Royal Notice of the Creation of the Company of the Philippines”) 1785. $40,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,222 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Colección de Constituciones de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (“Collection of Constitutions of the United Mexican States”) México, 1828. $50,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,777 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Ruelas, Julio. Poemario Manuscrito Ilustrado, Dedicado a Lorencita Braniff (“Collection of Illustrated Poem Manuscripts, Dedicated to Lorencita Braniff”). 1903. $60,000 - $70,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $3,888
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Espinosa de los Monteros, Juan J. Aviso de la Junta Soberana al Público (“Notice of the Sovereign Meeting to the Public”) 1821. $60,000 - $80,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $4,444
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos... (“Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States”) México, 1824. $140,000 - $150,000 MXN / USD $7,777 - $8,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Alcaraz, Ramón. Apuntes para la Historia de la Guerra entre México y los EU (“Notes on the History of the War between Mexico and the United States”). 1848. $40,000 - $50,000 MXN / USD $2,222 - $2,777
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest Hemingway's Typewriter Used to Write "A Moveable Feast", Impeccable Provenance From His Biographer A. E. Hotchner. $50,000 to $100,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Samuel Colt, "The Gun that Won the West": 3 Signed Patent Items for "Revolving Cylinder Guns". $40,000 to $50,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Jack Kerouac's Own Typewriter From His Estate Used to Write His Very Last Book. $18,000 to $20,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Rare Force Engraving of the Declaration of Independence Printed in 1848. $15,000 to $18,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Superb Tchaikovsky ALS to Napravnik, 4pp on "Mazeppa". $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Wounded Knee Massacre Same Day Eyewitness Account by Participant, "the 7th needn't be ashamed of today's record". $10,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> F. Scott Fitzgerald Signed Gordon Bryant Portrait -- Finest Known. $8,000 to $9,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Neil Armstrong ALS on NASA Letterhead Regarding His X-15 Flights. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> M. Gandhi Letter: "the life span of human beings is preordained..." -- Fantastic Spiritual Content. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> "Damn the torpedoes!" Riveting 24pp ALS of Admiral Farragut's Steward Describing the "Battle of Mobile Bay”. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Order to Suspend Execution. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Napoleon DS Featuring Imperial Eagle and Enormous Great Seal Appointing Norman Politician Baron of the Empire. $4,000 to $5,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions