Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2023 Issue

The Fortieth Anniversary Catalogue from The Lawbook Exchange

Celebrating Forty Years.

The Lawbook Exchange has published a catalogue of Celebrating Forty Years, 1983-2023. It celebrates their 40 years in business, so they have selected 40 works for their catalogue. Some of them are of prime importance, others they describe as “personal favorites.” Whichever they are, they naturally are books or documents concerning the law. These are a few samples.


It's hard to believe with Russia today ruled by a nothing that it once had leaders who earned the sobriquet “The Great.” Empress Catherine II was such a lady. She ascended to the throne after overthrowing her husband, whom she detested, and ruled for 34 years. She made Russia a major power and was hardly a soft touch. However, she was impressed the the ideals of the Enlightenment and brought those to Russia. We begin with the Nakaz. Several years in the making, it covers Catherine's views of Russia with much on the law. While hardly perfect, and protections of liberty did not exclude authoritarian rule, she did support equal protection of the law, enforced by judges, not the police. She was against torture and the death penalty, the former accepted by almost everyone today, the latter not so much. The Nakaz was written early in Catherine's reign, with much based on the writings of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and other enlightenment writers. Item 11 is the fourth “and best” edition. It is written in four languages, Russian, Latin, German, and French, the only four-language edition. Priced at $3,000.


This edition goes back to the early days of printing, but the book itself goes back several centuries more. The title is Concordia Discordantia Canonum, or Decretum Gratiani. This edition was published in 1481. It is a comprehensive gathering of works on ecclesiastical law. It was created by an Italian monk and jurist, Gratian, around 1140. Little is known of the author. The book was composed from thousands of texts of canon law and other materials, which he brought together where it could be studied in one place. The “discordantia” refers to the discordant positions he found. Gratian sought to explain differences so as to make the work a consistent whole. This edition also includes the Rosarium Decretorum of Guido de Baysio, a canonist and law professor, written around 1300. Item 2. $29,000.


This is a royal warrant signed by King George I of England. Before any Americans get upset, this is not the George you despise. That was George I's great-grandson. This warrant grants to “Our trusty and well beloved John Baskett Our Printer,” and “Robert Gosling of Our City London Bookseller,” and their assistants, “free liberty and access” to documents of Parliament from the Magna Carta to the current time (1726), along with those from the Tower of London, royal libraries, etc. “without paying any fees.” The King notes they are undertaking a “a hitherto unattempted” task of creating “a very usefull and necessary worke conducing to Our Honour and Service, and for the Benefit and Advantage of all Our Loving Subjects.” That “worke” would be The Statutes at Large, from Magna Charta to the seventh year of King George the Second inclusive, six volumes published in 1735, one more in 1742. It already being the seventh year of George II's reign, George I did not live to see the fruits of the authorization he had approved. Item 30. $7,500.


The State of Maryland's constitution at the turn of the 19th century required all public officials to profess a belief in the Christian religion. That included not only officials such as legislators but lawyers and jurors also met the definition. What that meant was the exclusion of Jews from all of these professions. You might think this to be unconstitutional and it is. The U.S. Constitution clearly provides for freedom of religion in the First Amendment, as well as Article VI saying that no religious test can be required for any office or public trust of the United States. However, until the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War, the Bill of Rights only applied to the federal government, not the states. The result was that Maryland had to decide for itself whether to remove this restriction. Judge Henry Brackenridge of Baltimore was one of the greatest proponents of what was known as the “Jew Bill,” to grant equal rights to Jews. The May 29, 1819 issue of Niles' Weekly Register includes the first separate printing of Brackenridge's speech advocating passage of the bill. He described the existing law as “degrading” and “odious,” a violation of the federal constitution and the founding principles of the nation. As had happened several times before, the “Jew Bill” failed to pass. It was not until 1826 that the legislature finally approved the bill. Item 6. $2,500.


There weren't a lot of women lawyers a century ago, but some managed to step out of from their expected roles into the professions dominated by men. This photograph documents a group of them. It was taken at the first annual convention of the National Association of Women Lawyers in Minneapolis in 1923. At the center of the picture is a lone man. He is U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice and former President William Howard Taft. You can't miss him as Taft was a large man. Seated next to him is the President of the NAWL, Emilie Bullowa. Item 31. $3,500.


The Lawbook Exchange may be reached at 732-382-1800 or law@lawbookexchange.com. Their website is www.lawbookexchange.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Roberts (David) & Croly (George). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. Lond. 1842 - 1843 [-49]. First Edn. €10,000 to €15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Incunabula: O'Fihily (Maurice). Duns Scotus Joannes: O'Fihely, Maurice Abp… Venice, 20th November 1497. €8,000 to €12,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: An important file of documents with provenance to G.A. Newsom, manager of the Jacob’s Factory in Dublin, occupied by insurgents during Easter Week 1916. €6,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: WILDE (Oscar), 1854-1900, playwright, aesthete and wit. A lock of Wilde’s Hair, presented by his son to the distinguished Irish actor Mícheál MacLiammóir. €6,000 to €8,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Heaney (Seamus). Bog Poems, London, 1975. Special Limited Edition, No. 33 of 150 Copies, Signed by Author. Illus. by Barrie Cooke. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Binding: Burke, Thomas O.P. (de Burgo). Hibernia Dominicana, Sive Historia Provinciae Hiberniae Ordinis Praedicatorum, ... 1762. First Edition. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: COLLINS, Michael. An important TL, 29 July 1922, addressed to GOVERNMENT on ‘suggested Proclamation warning all concerned that troops have orders to shoot prisoners found sniping, ambushing etc.’. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Scott Fitzgerald (F.) The Great Gatsby, New York (Charles Scribner's Sons) 1925, First Edn. €2,000 to €3,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Yeats (W.B.) The Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2 vols. Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949. Limited Edition, No. 46 of 375 Copies Only, Signed by W.B. Yeats. €1,500 to €2,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Description in English and French, Lg. folio London (S. Gosnell) 1803. First Edn. €1,000 to €1,500.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of Turkey, Illustrated by a Series of Engravings. Lg. folio Lond.(T. Bensley) 1802. First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Mason (Geo. Henry). The Costume of China, Illustrated with Sixty Engravings. Lg. folio London (for W. Miller) 1800. First Edn. €1,400 to €1,800
  • Sotheby’s
    Fine Books and Manuscripts
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane] — Isaac D'Israeli. Jane Austen's copy of Curiosities of Literature. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane]. A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel. 70,000 - 100,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Brontë, Charlotte. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..." 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Eliot, George. The author's magnum opus. 25,000 - 35,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Whitman, Walt. Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865. 60,000 - 80,000 USD
  • Sotheby’s
    Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Kerouac, Jack. Typescript scroll of The Dharma Bums. Typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, 1957, published by Viking in 1958. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. The autograph manuscript of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." [Key West, finished April 1936]. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Miller, Henry. Typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations, with a lengthy inscription to Joe Goode. 40,000 - 60,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. in our time, first edition of Hemingway’s second book. 30,000 - 50,000 USD
  • Swann
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Samuel Augustus Mitchell, A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining, Philadelphia, 1846. $3,500 to $5,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: 17th–19th-century case maps of various locations. $1,500 to $2,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Andreas Cellarius, Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri, celestial chart, Amsterdam, 1708. $2,500 to $3,500.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Vincenzo Coronelli, Set of engraved gores for Coronelli’s monumental 42-inch terrestrial globe, Venice, circa 1688–97. $18,000 to $22,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, group of four navigational charts, Antwerp, 1580s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Thomas Bros, Block Book of Berkeley, Oakland, 1920s. $800 to $1,200.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Nieuhoff & John Ogilby, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, map of China, plan of Canton, London, 1673. $1,200 to $1,800.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Frederick Sander, Reichenbachia, St. Albans, 1888-1894. $5,000 to $7,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Two early illustrated works on horsemanship and breeding, Nuremberg, early 18th century. $700 to $800.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Gould, A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. Supplement to the First Edition, London, 1834; 1855. $40,000 to $60,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Pinkerton, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World, London, 1808–14. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Oakley Hoopes Bailey, Hackensack, New Jersey, Boston, 1896. $800 to $1,200.
    Valuable Books and Manuscripts
    London auction
    13 December
    Find out more
    Christie’s, Explore now
    TREW, Christoph Jacob (1695–1769). Plantae Selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortus curiosorum. [Nuremberg: 1750–1773]. £30,000–40,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623–88). Liber Organicus Astronomiae Europaeae apud Sinas restituate. [Beijing: Board of Astronomy, 1674]. £250,000–350,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALICE & NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT. Master of Jean Rolin (active 1445–65). Book of Hours, use of Paris, in Latin and French, [Paris, c.1450–1460]. £120,000–180,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    A SILVER MICROSCOPE. Probably by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), c.1700. £150,000–250,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    C.1311. £100,000–150,000

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