Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2022 Issue

Rare Americana from David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books

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Rare Americana.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued a new catalogue, no. 186, of Rare Americana. As always, these are filled with fascinating material relating to America (with an occasional exception) with many pamphlets, broadsides, and manuscripts in the collection. Here are a few of these items.

 

We begin with a report compiled in Britain for the year 1841 but it had too much relevance to America. Its title is Correspondence with Foreign Powers Relative to the Slave Trade. By 1841, England had not only abolished slavery in all its territories, it also used its navy to prevent others from sending new slaves captured in Africa to lands where it was still permitted. America also outlawed the slave trade, but slavery was still permitted in the country which might encourage their illegal importation. This report provides details on vessels used in the slave trade, their captains, flags, and number of slaves transported. It is filled with diplomatic exchanges concerning the trade with the West Indies, Brazil, Cuba, and Central America. It also has material on Britain's treaty with Texas, then in its independent republic days, and slavers trading under the American flag. Item 1. Priced at $650.

 

Most people have supported usury laws to prevent the charging of exorbitant interest on loans. Even Adam Smith, capitalist par excellence, favored this restriction on the free market. Not Jeremy Bentham. Bentham wasn't a heartless capitalist. He was a philosopher, the primary supporter of utilitarianism. This philosophy determines right and wrong actions based on which bring about the most good for the most people. Evidently, he felt making more loans available was better for mankind than restricting the amount of interest charged. His views are supported by the credit card companies, payday lenders, and the Mafia. He explains his position in A Defence of Usury; Shewing the Impolicy of Present Legal Restraints on the Terms of Pecuniary Bargains. To Which is Added, a Letter to Adam Smith, Esq. LL. D. on the Discouragement of Inventive Industry. This is the first American edition, published in 1796. $1,750.

 

Here is a military you probably have not heard about. It wasn't really an army, despite its name – the Cold Water Army. It was a temperance group aimed at children. It was based on the belief that if you get to children soon enough, you can convince them never to touch the stuff. Item 78 is a pledge certificate children could sign pledging themselves to a life of temperance (we have no statistics as to how many lived up to that pledge as adults). It reads National Cold Water Army. Health – Peace – Competence. Pledge. This certifies that …..... has subscribed to the above pledge. The pledge begins, “Here Lord! I pledge to hate / To all that can intoxicate / I'll never use the filthy weed / Then from its evils I'll be freed.” The pledge is from 1842. The “Cold Water” comes from the group's preferred drink - cold water. Item 78. $450.

 

This was a novel court case and transportation in America would be very different today had the verdict gone the other way. From 1858, this is what is known as the Albany Bridge Case. A New York State statute authorized the building of a bridge across the Hudson River at Albany. The law was challenged by some boat owners who feared the bridge would interfere with their ability to navigate the river. The question was whether the state could authorize bridges over a waterway since this might affect interstate commerce, which was the federal government's sole prerogative under the Constitution. Item 2 is The Power of the States to Bridge Their Navigable Waters. Argument of Nicholas Hill, in the Albany Bridge Case, Before the United States Circuit Court. He argued that the state did have the power to build bridges over navigable waters. The Circuit Court agreed that unless the federal government enacted legislation prohibiting it, a state could erect bridges. The plaintiff appealed the ruling but the judges on the Supreme Court split 3-3. On a tie vote, the ruling of the lower court is upheld so Albany was free to build a bridge. Item 2. $275.

 

This is an 1861 cartoon print of The Hercules of the Union. Hercules has a club labeled “Liberty and Union” as he strikes the seven-headed dragon. The heads are those of Confederate leaders. The club-wielding Hercules is Gen. Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army. Depicting Scott as Hercules was a bit ironic. By this time, he was 75-years-old, grossly obese, probably over 300 lbs., and could no longer mount a horse, barely walk. Scott resigned later that year as Lincoln had turned to others for advice on handling the war. Not that Lincoln always made the best decisions either. He selected George McClellan as Winfield's successor, who was a mediocre general and became Lincoln's opponent in the 1864 presidential election after Lincoln fired him. Item 18. $1,500.

 

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be reached at 203-389-8111 or dmlesser@lesserbooks.com. Their website is www.lesserbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Winter Fine Art, Antique, and Jewelry Auction<br>January 29 & 30, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Civil War Archive, including Hospital CDVs. $2,400 to $2,800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> W.B. Gosnell's Civil War Era 34 Star Flag w/ Book on Western Expansion. $1,200 to $1,400.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> 15 Star Parade Flag and Envelope, Framed. $800 to $900.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Partial Civil War Album, incl. Confederate Leaders. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> CDV Album incl. Garfield, plus Framed CSA Currency. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Two Geronimo Cabinet Cards, incl. St. Louis World's Fair Signed. $2,800 to $3,200.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Winter Fine Art, Antique, and Jewelry Auction<br>January 29 & 30, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Dickens, Charles. <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> 1st Ed. 1843. $1,800 to $2,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Archive of Col. John Fite, CSA, POW Johnson's Island, first of two lots, 8 Items. $1,200 to $1,400.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Kentucky Confederate Call to Arms Broadside, 1862. $1,200 to $1,400.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls,</i> 1st Ed. $1,000 to $1,200.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> Autograph Album with Confederate Signatures, incl. Jeff Davis. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 29-30:</b> WWI Navy Posters plus Photo of USS John Hood, 3 pcs. $700 to $750.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana<br>Online<br>Now through January 25, 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Audubon, John James. The "Wild Turkey" manuscript — capturing one of the nation's most iconic symbols of unity. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> (Flag) — Commemorative Thirteen-Star Flag. Pre-Civil War, Thirteen-Star Flag of the United States, from the collection of Charles Kuralt. $15,000 to $25,000.
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    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Salinger, J.D. <i>The Catcher in the Rye.</i> A strikingly fresh first edition of Salinger's essential novel. $20,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> “America's second Declaration of Independence” — signed by Whitman. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> [Dylan, Bob]. Some of the earliest known professional portraits. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Y-Worth [Yarworth], William. <i>Cerevisiarii Comes: Or, the New and True Art of Brewing…</i> A rare and early English work on the art of brewing. $5,000 to $7,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>A Record Breaking Season</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> <i>The Book of Mormon,</b> first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830. Sold Sept. 30 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Vincent Van Gogh, <i>Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, Evening,</i> etching, 1890. Sold Nov. 2 — $161,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edward Ruscha, <i>Stains,</i> title page, one of 70, signed, 1969. Sold Nov. 9 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26,</i> hand colored aquatint, 1828. Sold Dec.9 — $137,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edmund Dulac, <i>The Snow Queen,</i> watercolor, gouache, pen & ink, 1910. Sold Dec. 16 — $125,000.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>February 26, 2022</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> ALLEN, Ethan. <i>A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity from the Time of his Being Taken by the British, near Montreal…,</i> Rare second edition, 1779. $40,000 to $60,000.
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    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> GRANT, James, Lieut. <i>The Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery, performed in His Majesty's Vessel The Lady Nelson...</i> London, 1803. $4,000 to $6,000.
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    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>

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