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Swann Galleries


Hillsdale College Online Courses

Always something to discover at Quill & Brush


R & A Petrilla

Booksellers’ Gulch

Aviation...

Booked Up

Bookworm and Silverfish 80% off sale

Leslie Hindman Auctineers


Christian Science Monitor

The Economist

www.sovereignty.org.uk


Swann Galleries

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

Biblio

PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

Potter Auctions

PBA Galleries

Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers


Hobart Book Village


Fulton County Historical Society & Museum

www.antiwar.com

Austin’s Antiquarian Books

Jekyll Island Club Hotel


Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

Potter Auctions

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

PBA Galleries

Biblio

PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal

Book Fair Calendar

PBFA Book Fair (Cancelled).  London, England.   June 4–5, 2020.

Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair (Cancelled).  London, England.   June 5–7, 2020.

Northern New England Book Fair.  Concord, NH.   June 7, 2020.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair (Cancelled).  Cooperstown, NY.   June 27, 2020.     (more information)

Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair.  Franklin, TN.   July 24–26, 2020.

PulpFest 2020.  Mars PA.   August 6–9, 2020.

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   September 19, 2020.

Montreal Antiquarian Book Fair.  Montreal, QC (Canada).   September 26–27, 2020.

Allentown Book & Paper Show.  Allentown, PA.   October 3–4, 2020.

Toronto Antiquarian Book Fair.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   November 6–8, 2020.

Toronto Old Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   November 15, 2020.

Albany Book & Paper Fair.  Albany, NY.   November 28, 2020.

Book Auction Calendar

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 21, 2020.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 21, 2020.     (more information)

Christie’s.  London, England.   May 22, 2020.

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 28, 2020.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 2, 2020.     (more information)

Doyle.  New York, NY.   June 11, 2020.

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   June 11, 2020.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 11, 2020.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   June 17, 2020.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 18, 2020.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 25, 2020.     (more information)

Forum Auctions.  London, England.   June 25, 2020.

Bonham’s.  London, England.   December 2, 2020.

Bonham’s.  New York, NY.   December 9, 2020.

Strong Results from PBA's May 7th Americana Sale

PBA Galleries announced successful results from their May 7th auction of Americana – Travel & Exploration – World History – Cartography. The sale was PBA’s first return to the live auction format after the hiatus required to observe Berkeley’s shelter-in-home restrictions.

While maintaining the safe distancing protocols as recommended by the State of California, PBA Galleries presented an exciting live auction featuring scarce and rare works, many of which sold for well over their presale high estimate. The catalogue also offered bidders the opportunity to bid remotely on over 400 lots of historically important printed and manuscript material, photographs, significant cartographic and geographic items with maps and views, and other rarities.

Pre-sale absentee bids revealed bidders’ notable interest in nearly fifty lots of Californiana from the collection of the late George E. Steinmetz, many of which marked pivotal moments in the state’s history. Before the gavel fell on the first lot, President Sharon Gee noted the palpable anticipation for the sale expressed by PBA’s clients: “Our staff looks forward to serving bidders and consignors, many of whom are enthusiastic about PBA’s return to a bi-weekly live auction format.”

From the beginnng, important lots attracted steep competition which ultimately resulted in consistently strong prices for the duration of the sale. An early standout was an original piece of wood from Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, site of the discovery of gold in California by James Marshall. The original artifact represents one of the key events in California history, the sparking of the Gold Rush, and was paired with a handwritten letter from Phil B. Beakeart presenting the artifact to Robert E. Cowan in 1925. After enthusiastic bidding, the hammer fell at $9,600, far exceeding the wood fragment’s estimated value of $1,000-$1,500.

The enthusiasm continued throughout the sale.  A half-plate California daguerreotype from the 1850s of Wilt’s Half Way House, located half way between Marysville and Parks Bar along the Yuba River, sold for $9,000, and an inscribed presentation copy of John Muir’s Our National Parks (once presented to the daughter of railroad magnate Edward Harriman) also fetched $9,000. An 1845 letter from early California landowner and businessman Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, written to saloonkeeper Jean Jacques Vioget, sold for …more

VIRTUAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR (a selected offering, mostly new arrivals - a feature that will continue... )

Austin's Books (Wilmington, VT ).  American History, Teddy Roosevelt, Fly Fishing, Travel, Maps, Prints & Ephemera. Tel: (802) 464-8438.  (Browse Inventory)

Booked Up  (Archer City, TX).  We are a large general bookstore dealing mainly in the humanities. Tel: (940) 574-2511.  (New Arrivals)

Bookworm & Silverfish  (P.O. Box 639, Wytheville, VA).  A large general stock built up over 40 years. ABAA since 1978. Specializing in Virginia, Appalachia, Technical. Physical store at 401 Church St. in Rural Retreat, VA. Open by appointment. 80% discount sale in progress. Tel: (276) 620-2665.   (Sale in Progress)

Early Aeronautica  (Midland, MI).  Vintage books, documents & ephemera relating to early aviation. Tel: (989) 835-3908; (520) 373-2622  (Newest Arrivals)

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians  (6 Waterford Way, Syosset, NY).  Music antiquarians specializing in books, autographs & manuscripts in the fields of music and dance.  Tel: (516) 922-2192.  (Newest Arrivals)

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Company (PRB&M/SessaBks)  (Philadelphia, PA.).  Early Books of Europe & the Americas, varia such as may catch our fancy.  PRB&M's extensive, highly illustrated website offers scores of catalogues and lists browsable by topic, language, or century; correspondence is welcome in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, & French. Members ABAA/ILAB since 1984.  Books unite us!  rarebks@prbm.com or Tel: (215) 744-6734.   (Survey a Selection)

Quill & Brush  (Middletown, MD).  Specialists in first edition literature, mysteries, poetry & collectible books in all fields.  Authors of well-known books on book collecting & compilers of over 200 individual Author Price Guides. Visit us on the web, or in person by appointment. Tel: (301) 874-3200(Newest Arrivals)

W.H. Adams, Antiquarian Books  (Hobart, NY).  General antiquarian with emphasis on England and early classics.  Located in the Book Village of Hobart in the Catskills. Tel: (607) 538-9080.   (Newest Arrivals or...)

(Watch this space for more exhibiting booksellers)

 

Lubrano Publishes Catalogue Celebrating Beethoven

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just published a catalogue celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 1770. It contains 113 items devoted exclusively to the composer, including first and early editions, a number of prints, 19th century books, and ephemera including early programs and playbills, all illustrated.

A few highlights include first editions of the iconic 5th Symphony and Beethoven's major work for the stage, the ballet Prometheus; the first edition, first issue of Op. 127, one of the famous late string quartets; and an original engraved copperplate for a striking 20th century Jugendstil image by the Austrian graphic artist Alois Kolb, together with a copy of the original print. The catalogue is viewable at https://www.lubranomusic.com/images/upload/beethoven-catalogue.pdf.

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians LLC is located at 6 Waterford Way, Syosset, NY 11791 and may be contacted at (516) 922-2192 or info@lubranomusic.com

Potter & Potter's April 18 Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale Totals $364,000

This highly anticipated semi-annual event, featuring a collection of outstanding James Bond literature, captured the eye, attention, and wallets of Ian Fleming enthusiasts worldwide.

Potter & Potter Auctions' Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale sale, streamed live from the auction gallery and conducted entirely online and through telephone bidding, was a dramatic success and exceeded its high estimate by almost 20%.  At the conclusion, 61 lots realized $750-1,999; 27 lots made $2,000-4,999; and 7 lots broke the $5,000 barrier. Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Remarkable first editions of Ian Fleming's James Bond spy novels performed well – with some soaring above their pre-auction estimates. Lot #1, a first edition of Fleming's Casino Royale, published in 1953 by Jonathan Cape of London, was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and fetched $22,800. One of 4,728 printed, this copy retained its original first issue dust jacket and was housed in a matching custom cloth clamshell case, stamped in gilt and with red heart-shaped morocco inlays.  Lot #35, a first edition, first printing of Fleming's 1963 Thrilling Cities, brought $6,600. Published in London by Jonathan Cape, it was inscribed and signed on the title page to Fleming’s personal friend and American spy, David Bruce: “Dave/To keep your mind/off your work!/Ian”.  Lot #17, a first edition, first printing of Fleming's 1954 Live and Let Die was estimated at $1,000-1,400 and made …more

by John C. Huckans
An Early Look at the 2020 Election (or Notes from Flyover Country)

Primary successes making Joe Biden the clear front-runner in the race for the Democrat nomination leading to the 2020 election came about because of some careful planning by the DNC, its allies in the civil service and large segments of big media.  All of which reminds me of a story...

In the 1860s, according to one account, when Secretary of State William Seward was discussing the purchase of Alaska with Tsar Alexander II, the conversation turned to autocratic rule in countries such as Russia. By one account, Alexander, who in 1861 had taken steps to free Russian serfs from virtual slavery, gave Seward a bit of a lecture suggesting the United States should seriously consider emancipating its slaves also. Before 1861, entire villages in Russia (mostly east of the Urals) together with livestock, human and non-human, could be bought and sold like any other commodity, and sometimes were.  If air travel had existed at the time, much of eastern Russia would have been considered “flyover country” largely inhabited by irredeemable peasants whose main job was to supply the needs of the wealthy Boyar classes of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities in the west.

Alexander was also supposed to have said he was not the autocrat people assumed he was and that the country was actually governed by “100,000 clerks”.  A powerful statement at the time, but more understandable now.  (In his first major book, The Innocents Abroad [Hartford, 1869], Mark Twain relates a humorous anecdote of Tsar Alexander personally leading a group of American travelers, including Mark Twain, on a tour of his summer palace near Yalta).  Yet for all of his informal tendencies, populist sympathies and reformist policies the Tsar was rewarded by having his legs blown off and being partially disemboweled by an assassin's bomb about 20 years later.

At any rate, the Tsar's “100,000 clerks” comment may have been lost on Seward, or whoever it was that reported the conversation, but nowadays people are beginning to understand the reality of the Deep State – hundreds of thousands of clerks, housed like Stoor Hobbits and living in colonies both inside and outside the I-495 beltway, and along the I-66 corridor leading to Front Royal (VA).  And all of them unaccountable to the electorate.  Gogol's nightmares updated and amplified for the present.

As of this writing, the field of candidates for the November election has been reduced to …more

Comic Book Auction at PBA Galleries

(Note: This sale has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. Please check back from time to time. We will let you know the new date as soon as we have it)

On March 26th, 2020, PBA Galleries will host their debut Comic Book Sale.  Sale Director Ivan Briggs has assembled top tier overlooked gems in the world of comics, including rare or unique. The auction will feature EC, Kurtzman, Pre-Code Horror and Undergrounds, and a collection of silver age Marvels from a single owner who bought them off the stands in the 1960s. Over 340 lots span pre-Code horror comic books of the 1950s, Robert Crumb signed comics, signed prints, original comic art, and more. PBA Galleries is able to provide a distinct venue for these undervalued and underappreciated comic magazines and art.

Sale highlights include Weird Mysteries #5 (CGC certified 7.5, one of the highest-graded copies). “Bernard Bailey’s cover epitomizes the pre-Code publishers’ ethos of “anything for a dime.” The sheer nerve and gall of it is staggering,” remarks Sale Director Ivan Briggs. “Lurid, distasteful, and unseemly: it’s everything one wants in a pre-Code mag.” The distinct cover depicts …more

Jane Austen Star of February 20th Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction

Jane Austen led Swann Galleries' February 20th Fine Books & Manuscript sale with competitive bidding driving prices well above their high estimate for first editions of all of her major works. Ultimately, they were swept by a collector bidding on the Swann Galleries App. The novels came across the block in exceedingly rare period binding with half-title pages.

Pride and Prejudice, 1813, headed off the offering fetching $100,000. The rarest of the group, Sense and Sensibility, 1811, with likely only 1,000 or fewer first editions being produced, brought $81,250. Emma, 1816, the only Austen novel to bear a dedication, to the Prince Regent, sold for $27,500. Mansfield Park, 1814, and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, 1818, rounded out the run at $20,000 and $11,875, respectively. “Most any Jane Austen first edition appearance is noteworthy, but to have all six of her major novels, each one complete and in period binding, helped make this a wildly successful and memorable sale,” noted John Larson, the house’s literature specialist.
    
Further literature of note included The Catcher in the Rye, 1951, by J.D. Salinger. The first edition, in the first-issue dust jacket, sold for $35,000, a record-tying number. The Calcutta II edition in Arabic of The Alif Laila, 1839–42, commonly known as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, brought $12,500. A limited edition of Kew Gardens, 1927, signed by Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, sold for $8,125. A first edition of Graham Green’s personal file copy of The Basement Room, 1935, with annotations without, earned a record for the volume of short stories at $11,250.
    
An 1863 partly-printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln lead an exceptional offering of autographs. The document, issuing a call for troops during America’s first national draft, just days before the NYC draft riots, brouht $18,750. Additional political figures included Emilio Aguinaldo with two items signed, including a letter written from Baliuag days before Americans captured it during the Philippine-American War in 1899 ($18,750). Mohandas K. Gandhi was represented with a 1926 endorsed check correcting another’s misspelling of his name ($12,350). Also of note was a small archive of five items signed by Philip K. Dick to his psychiatrist dating to 1973 ($9,375).
    
Art, press and illustrated highlights featured a complete sell-through of D.A. Levy titles with The North American Books of the Dead, Part 1 and 2, 1965, earning a record  at $7,800. For more information, contact the autographs specialist, Marco Tomaschett at mtomaschett@swanngalleries.com or (212) 254-4710, ext. 12 or the literature and art books specialist, John D. Larson at  jlarson@swanngalleries.com or (212) 254-4710 ext. 61.

Mulberry Sellers' Ingenious Plan to Supply Climates Upon Demand

(In Mark Twain's "The American Claimant" [New York, Charles L. Webster & Co., 1892]  Mulberry Sellers explains to Hawkins his latest scheme to finance the purchase of Siberia with the money raised from selling and exchanging climates to order — ed. note)

"The truth is, my dear Hawkins, a mighty idea has been born to me within the hour... When I was feeling sure of my imminent future solidity, I forwarded to the Czar of Russia – perhaps prematurely – an offer for the purchase of Siberia, naming a vast sum. Since then an episode has warned me that the method by which I was expected to acquire this money... is marred by a taint of temporary uncertainty. His imperial majesty may accept my offer at any moment. If this should occur now, I should find myself painfully embarrassed, in fact financially inadequate. I could not take Siberia. This would become known and my credit would suffer.

Recently my private hours have been dark indeed, but the sun shines again... I shall be able to meet my obligation. This grand new idea of mine – the sublimest I have ever conceived, will save me whole, I am sure. I am leaving for San Francisco this moment …more

by Wilfrid de Freitas
London in June (or the way things were in 2002, lately not so much - ed. note)

London in June! To some folk this would conjure up, among other things, images of tulips and daffodils, changing the guard at Buckingham Palace, good theatre... and high prices (well by Canadian standards, anyway!). However, for a bookseller only one of these readily stands out: you guessed it, the high prices. The others are almost incidental because one is really there for Book Fair Week, which this year [2002] started on Friday, May 31. The format is now firmly established and known well in advance, so that people can make their travel plans in a timely manner, especially if they intend to exhibit at one of the book fairs (this year there were nine!) which take place in the first week of June in London. 

Friday, May 31.

There’s always a certain sense of anticipation in the days right before the now traditional first fair, “Russell One” as it’s often called, at which we’ve chosen to exhibit. It’s organized by the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (the PBFA), the largest bookseller association on the planet with some six hundred members. Being a two-day event with set up from 9 a.m. there isn’t a lot of time to check out the other exhibitors’ stock before the public enters at noon. There’s the usual feverish snatching of books from stands, and the enviable crowding around two or three exhibitors who seem to have the reputation for keen (i.e. realistic) pricing.  This year, some people were concerned about the effect of last September’s disaster in New York on the usually heavy US dealer presence, which traditionally contributes so greatly to the success of the book fair week. Their concerns are not misplaced, as it turns out, with attendance of both visiting and exhibiting American booksellers decidedly down. Notwithstanding, there’s the usual queue outside the Russell Hotel in …more

Results of Maps, Atlases & Color Plate Books Sale

Swann Galleries closed out the decade with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Tuesday, December 17. The auction brought $910,087 and saw a 93% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications from Hawaii, atlases from across the globe and historic prints.

The sale was led by a rare 1840 Hawaiian-language school geography atlas printed by the Lahainaluna Seminary. Engraved by George Luther Kapeau, who would go on to become a statesman and governor of Hawaii, He Mau Palapala Aina A Me Na Niele No Ka Hoikehonua, No Na Kamalii, made its auction debut at $68,750. Additional atlases of note featured Claudius Ptolemaeus’s Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo, Lyons, 1535 ($27,500); Thomas Jefferys’s The American Atlas: Or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America, London, 1776-77 ($20,000); Willem and Joan Blaeu’s 1658 second volume of Novus Atlas comprised of France, Spain, Asia, Africa and America ($16,250); and Joseph Nicolas Delisle’s Atlas Rossiiskoi, St. Petersburg, a 1745 Russian-language edition of the first comprehensive atlas devoted to the Russian Empire ($15,000).

A strong offering of maps featured Tabula Terre Nove, Strasbourg, Martin Waldseemüller’s “Admiral’s Map” from the 1513 edition of Ptolemy’s Geograpiae ($25,000); America a New and Most Exact Map, London, a scarce 1748 map by Thomas Bakewell ($11,875); and Africae Vera Forma, et Situs, Antwerp, 1593, with hand-coloring, by Cornelis de Jode ($9,375).

A rarely seen 1865 Currier & Ives’s large-folio hand-colored lithograph, Mississippi in Time of Peace, made an impression, bringing $21,250 over a $9,000 high-estimate. Caleb Kiffer, the house’s Maps & Atlases specialist, noted of the print, “Mississippi in Time of Peace has everything going for it. Unbelievably beautiful to look at, extremely rare, fantastic condition—and it’s historically significant.”  Further historic illustrations included …more

Booksellers' Gulch (or where the books are)

 ...is (or was) that part of the upper Connecticut River valley bordering Vermont and New Hampshire, where there were booksellers in or near every town or village of any size. For readers, collectors, and members of the trade, this compact area was northern New England's version of Manhattan’s Book Row and a bibliophile’s paradise.  Nowadays “Booksellers Gulch” is a metaphor for where the books are. We hope the rumors of the imminent demise of bookshops have been greatly exaggerated and that bookhunters on the road or simply exploring areas near where they live, will find this guide helpful.  This feature of Book Source Magazine has been neglected in recent years but will be expanded greatly in the weeks and months to come.

As this feature grows and as time goes on, it will be difficult for us to ensure that the information remains up to date - bookshops move or owners retire. This is where you all come in. If anyone is aware of any change that affects the accuracy of a bookshop's listing, please get in touch with us and let us know. This will help everyone.

Booksellers who want to apply for a free listing should call (315) 655-9654 or e-mail for particulars.  Have a look at version 1.1... (in other words, click on this sentence to see the complete list as it exists at the moment).

Results of Swann's October 24th Auction

Swann Galleries’ Thursday, October 24 sale of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books saw a full auction room and active bidding on the internet and phones with particular interest in works by scientists, as well as incunabula, bibles and manuscript publications.
    
Isaac Newton’s Opticks, 1704, brought $40,000, followed by a 100% sell-through rate for material relating to the acclaimed scientist. Additional highlights included Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, the third authorized edition and the last edition to appear in the Newton’s lifetime, sold for $9,375, as well as the unauthorized third edition which earned $6,500.
    
Additional science material included a first edition of Galileo’s 1649 dialogue on the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, establishing the validity of heliocentricity, which brought $16,900; and a second edition Georg Agricola’s De re metallica, 1561, on the first systematic treatise on mining and metallurgy, garnered $10,000.
    
Incunabula performed well with “one of the best and most comprehensive of the western medieval lapidaries,” Albert Magnus’s De mineralibus, 1491, realizing $17,500, and a 1480-81 illuminated manuscript by Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis selling for $11,250.
    
Bibles and religious texts included a Bible in Latin printed in Nuremberg in 1477 that sold for $9,375 and The Holy Byble, conteining the Olde Testament and the Newe, London, 1585, that earned $6,250. Also of note was Niccolò Circignani’s 1585 publication with 31 engraved plates of Christian martyrdom scenes by Giovanni Battista Cavalieri, after frescoes in the church of S. Stefano Rotondo in Rome, which brought …more

by John Huckans
The Red Scare Continues...

Collusion. ME [a.F., ad L.]  1. Secret agreement or understanding for purpose of trickery or fraud; underhand scheming or working with another; deceit, fraud, trickery… [Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles.  Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1955]. 

So it wasn't Sheldon Cooper after all. Twelve Russians (not Marcel Lazăr Lehel) have been charged with meddling in the campaign leading up to the 2016 election by hacking into servers and publishing e-mails that, among other things, showed close cooperation between DNC officials and many of the print and television news reporters that the public used to rely on for accurate and unbiased news.  Nowadays, not so much.

I suppose this could be considered serious outside interference or collusion. Does the public really need to know or does the public have the right to know about Donna Brazile's (then CNN & ABC contributor and vice chair of the DNC) e-mails of March 5, 2016 in which she supplied questions to the campaign in advance of the CNN primary debate or her e-mail of March 12, 2016 in which she says, in part, “from time to time I get the questions in advance...” and then goes on to pass along the text of a question that will be asked at the CNN town hall with Clinton and Bernie Sanders?  Thanks to Wikileaks, now we know. …more

by Garry Austin
Thank You Note (from summer of 2018)

Dear Ron & Marilee,

I would be remiss if I didn't write and thank you again for your generosity and kindness that came to me with th "C-Town Card".  When Rich Mori dropped if off that Sunday night I was overwhelmed.  I have been blessed to be part of this extraordinary community of booksellers.

The hardest part of all this has been not being able to join in at the gatherings of our clan. I have made it my personal goal to be at many of  next year's fairs.  Special thanks to you Ron and John Huckans for your kind words at the booksellers' dinner – it has been a rough year in our world of bookselling – too many losses – too much sadness – yet what a remarkable group of special people. Take care of each other – I look forward to seeing you sooner (rather) than later!

Garry A (ustin) …more

Results of Swann's Printed & Manuscript Americana Auction

The Thursday, September 26 sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries was an overall success with an 88% sell-through rate, bringing in over $1,000,000.
 
Material relating to slavery & abolition led the sale. The top lot was an important archive of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works in West Virginia: “Because of the massive extent of the institution of slavery, original manuscripts relating to those who were enslaved are not scarce. However, we rarely see a large archive which tells the story of one location and one group of people over time. Most of what does survive is agricultural,” said Rick Stattler, the house’s Book Department Director & Americana Specialist. “The Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works archive is unusual because it documents a large industrial operation which relied on slave labor.  Many dozens of individuals can be traced over the decades through correspondence, lists, and receipts. The plant's numerous connections to Booker T. Washington, who lived near the salt works after abolition, give it even greater historical significance; his stepfather appears several times in the records.” The archive brought $173,000, the top price for an archive in Swann’s history. The lot was immediately followed by the Shugart family papers. Notable for its log listing passengers on the Underground Railroad, it fetched …more

Results of Swann's Summer Poster Auction

Swann Galleries’ summer sale of Vintage Posters on Wednesday, August 7 was a lively event with active bidding across all platforms. “Many of the auction's niche collecting categories saw heated competition for trophy pieces, including sections on propaganda, sports and auto racing, as well as beach and summer resort posters,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Vintage Posters Director and house President. The sale saw six record prices and brought a number of posters to market for the first time.

The house’s most extensive selection of automobile posters to date saw competitive bidding from car aficionados. Highlights included a 1970 ad for Porsche prominently featuring actor Steve McQueen, which earned a record $7,000 over a high estimate of $1,200; and Ludwig Hohlwein’s 1914 Mercedes poster in German, which brought $10,000.

Sergio Trujillo Magnenat’s advertisements for the first Bolivarian Games in 1938 proved to be successful in his market debut, with all of the four works on offer finding buyers. His designs promoting track-and-field events—javelin, and discus—earned $4,160 apiece, while the designs for tennis and polo were won for $4,000 and $2,470, respectively.   

War and political propaganda included William Sanger’s 1936 campaign poster for Roosevelt and Lehman, a first at auction for the image and a record for the artist at $7,250.  James Montgomery Flagg was present with his iconic 1917 image featuring Uncle Sam, I Want You for U.S. Army, and his circa 1918 call to join the marines featuring a soldier riding a leopard ($4,940 and $5,500, respectively). Howard Chandler Christy’s Aviation / Fly with the U.S. Marines, 1920, rounded out the selection at $6,750.

The sale was led by Alphonse Mucha’s The Seasons, four decorative panels on silk, 1900, at $14,300. Also by Mucha was Lance Parfum Rodo, 1896, an early work by …more

by John Huckans
In Praise of Follies
(originally published in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue of Book Source Magazine)

The Victorian period, especially in England, was a hotbed for architectural follies. In an article on Victorian follies in the July 2003 issue of The Antiquer, Adele Kenny notes several definitions, including the Oxford English Dictionary’s kindly and understated — “a popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder.” Chambers goes a bit further with “a great useless structure, or one left unfinished, having begun without a reckoning of the cost” and the Oxford Companion to Gardens, in case we still don’t get it, says architectural follies are “characterized by a certain excess in terms of eccentricity, cost or conspicuous inutility.” I think the two words “conspicuous inutility” sum it up best, but say what you will a lot of us love them all the same.

Architectural follies began to appear in England during the 18th century but it wasn’t until the early industrial period of the 19th century that wealthy new owners of landed estates were able to indulge their fantasies on a grand scale. The construction of great stone towers of various shapes and sizes, faux Greek Parthenons, private churches or chapels, obelisks and other monuments to impracticality (often left unfinished so as to suggest ruins from a distant past) in many ways represented a subconscious rebellion against the utilitarianism of the factory age — and were often built by the industrialists themselves.

An inquiry at your …more

Lewis Evans Map Fetches $125,000 at Swann

“There was strong bidding across the board and it’s hard not to be pleased with the general outcome of the sale,” said Maps & Atlases Specialist, Caleb Kiffer of Swann Galleries June 6 sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural Science & Color Plate Books which saw an 84% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications by Lewis Evans and Petrus Plancius, as well as color plate books by John Fisk Allen and Willian Sharp.
    
The star of the auction was the May 2, 1755 draft of A General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America by Lewis Evans.  The early proof of the historic map that which documented the Colonies into Ohio for the first time sold for $125,000. “Having the opportunity to bring the Lewis Evans 1755 pre-production proof copy to auction has been a highlight of my many years in this business.  It jump-started my heart the moment the consignor presented it to me and continued beating at a fast pace up until the moment it hammered. I'm calling the map an artifact, which it truly is, and having it double the estimate demonstrates its historical significance. I'm very pleased with the outcome and honored to have brought it out into the public realm here at Swann Galleries,” Kiffer said of the offering.  
    
A 1792 Plan of the Town of Baltimore and its Environs by Antoinne Pierre Folie ($21,250) and John Montresor’s large 1775 map of the Hudson River Valley ($8,125) concluded a overall spectacular offering of American cartography.
      
Decorative cartography of note included Petrus Plancius’ 1592-94 map of Southern Africa, which featured fanciful beasts, sea monsters and a scene of giant lobsters devouring a ship ($87,500). Two works by Pieter Verbiest found success: a double-hemispheric world map from 1636 reached $25,000, as well as a 1639 representation of Spain and Portugal sold for $8,450.
    
John Fisk Allen and William Sharp’s Victoria Regia, 1854, which consisted of six chromolithographed plates of the life phases of the Great Water Lily of America, lead the selection of natural history and color plate books at …more

by John Huckans
Springtime for Snowflakes (A Review)

Michael Rechtenwald is an academic who after setting sail on an academic career as professor of liberal studies at a well-known eastern university, gradually learned he had signed up to crew on what some people might call a ship of fools.  Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage  [London & Nashville: New English Review Press, 2018] is an unusual blend of a memoir of his formative years growing up in a working class home in Pittsburgh; the undergraduate gap-period interlude at the Naropa Institute where he served as an apprentice and teaching assistant to Allen Ginsburg who ran Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in a store-front location on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado during the 1970s; his post-graduate studies at Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon universities; unusual experiences as a professor at NYU; and an appendix comprised of a mix of initially anonymous social media postings that got him into hot water with many of his colleagues.

Rechtenwald's father was an independent contractor who ran his remodeling business from the family home on Waldorf Street on Pittsburgh's north side.  When it came time for high school his father tried to enroll Michael in the exclusive Shadyside Academy, considered the city's best prep school at the time, and the headmaster's discouraging response “... although I believe your son would do well here academically, I'm afraid that he wouldn't fit in... socially...” probably influenced his later decision to pursue Marxist critical theory.  At any rate he …more

Records Set in Recent Americana Sale

Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale in the category to finish over $1,000,000, achieving several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”

Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).
 
“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler–the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000).

Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language at …more

by Karen Austin
Garry R. Austin

Garry R. Austin, 71 of Wilmington, VT died peacefully after a long battle with MDS and AML, at the Centers for Living and rehabilitation in Bennington, VT on April 14, 2019. He was the son of Arlene H. Austin of Syracuse, NY.  In 1982 he was married to the former Karen Flanders, also of Syracuse, on a lawn overlooking the ocean in Wells, ME.  Garry's early education was in the Catholic school system in Syracuse, NY. After sampling several colleges, he finished his Bachelor's at SUNY Oswego in 1975.

Garry's athletic ability in lacrosse led him to play in school and with the NALA. His interest in General Custer led him to the University of Montana to pursue graduate work in American History, but the urge to travel soon set in. After a number of jobs including a short professional Box Lacrosse career in Canada, Garry and Karen settled in Wells in 1980, and opened Snug Harbor Books, a used and rare bookshop. They went on to open a second shop, Austin's Antiquarian Books in 1985, in an 1840s house with an attached barn. By 1987, the couple was running three shops, the last being a seasonal store in York Beach.

They sold their business in Maine and went to Watertown, NY for two years to be closer to family, but soon decided the business required more traffic than the upstate New York town could provide. They returned to Maine until 1994 when they discovered the wonderful resort town of Wilmington, VT.  Austin's Antiquarian Books operated there until Garry's health began to fail in 2018. Garry held several offices in the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, and was a member of the Planning Commission in Wilmington. Garry and Karen ran book fairs as well, including but not limited to, the Vermont Summer Fair for the VABA and the Albany Book and Paper Fair. He was also an avid fly fisherman and lover of the outdoors.

After meeting and becoming friends with Theodore Roosevelt expert Peter Scanlon, Garry fell in love with Roosevelt, and went on, after his specialist friend and mentor died, to take up the mantle of Theodore Roosevelt Specialist. He is a former member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. The website TheodoreRooseveltBooks.com will continue to be run by Garry's wife Karen. So wonderful is the community of booksellers that …more

by John Huckans
The Last Book Shop

Many of you know about or have seen the short film entitled The Last Bookshop which can be viewed on YouTube.  (click on the still photo)  A little more than 20 minutes long, it features two actors – an elderly bookseller and a young boy whose family's electronic media system has broken down and who discovers a bookshop from the past while aimlessly wandering the streets of a post modern Amazonian utopia in which shops have disappeared from the streets of towns and villages of a society that has finally gotten what it wished for.  The filming was done at various bookshop locations, including Halls Bookshop in Royal Tunbridge Wells (for the exterior shots) and at Baggins Books in Rochester (Kent). Most of the interior scenes, showing endless ranges of shelving stretching from floor to ceiling, were made at Baggins, one of the largest bookshops in England and one of two bookshops (the other being Piccadilly Rare Books in Ticehurst) owned by Paul Minet, who contributed his column, Letter from England, to this magazine for many years.  When Paul died in 2012 Baggins was given to the members of staff – which sounds very much like Paul and Sheila.

Speaking of Paul Minet, some of you may remember his column in Book Source Magazine but never had a chance to visit Baggins.  It was easy to get lost in the place, as you might guess by watching the film. The actor playing the bookseller in no way resembled Paul, who was a towering figure and eminently capable of any physical task involving having to deal with massive quantities of books (or anything else, I would have guessed).  Paul was also a journalist, writing for and editing The New Daily, a Liberal newspaper published in the 1960s, founder and editor of Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR), editor of both The British Diarist and Royalty Digest, and a long-time columnist for Book Source Magazine. His philanthropic activities mainly involved his family's support and efforts on behalf of Chetham's Library in Manchester, founded in 1653 and the oldest public library in the …more

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