Swann Galleries’ annual Graphic Design sale on Thursday, May 23 features important designers, such as Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, Charles Loupot and Tadanori Yokoo. On display is the evolution of design in the last century, from exceptional Constructivist images of the 1910s, to Psychedelic Rock-and-Roll posters and corporate propaganda from the 2010s.
A spectacular run of luxury advertisements by Parisian postermaker Charles Loupot leads the sale. Highlights include a 1930 poster for Twining Tea and Lion Noir / Cirage – Crème, 1949, which features a black lion preparing to pounce ($30,000-$40,000 apiece), a dizzying 1926 ad for the French automobile company Peugeot ($40,000-$60,000), and Wanneroil / Huile du bon Chauffeur, 1926 ($20,000-30,000).
A.M. Cassandre is present with his revolutionary 1927 travel poster, Étoile du Nord, offered at $15,000 to $20,000. The advertisement features no landscape, no destination and no train, a startlingly new concept for the time. Additional works by Cassandre include Nederlandsche Nyverheidsten Toonstelling / Rotterdam, 1927, and Triplex, 1931 ($8,000-12,000 and $20,000-30,000, respectively).
Italian Futurist posters include the only “free word” typographic poster from the era, Futurismo, 1932, by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Lamberto Leandri ($12,000-18,000). The poster appeared as a folded insert in issue 29 of the short-lived newspaper of the same name. Also of note is …more
The 2019 Rose City Book & Paper Fair, taking place in Portland (Oregon) in mid-June and sponsored by the Cascade Booksellers Association, will be participated in by more than 60 dealers from Oregon, Washington, California and beyond, and will offer a wide variety of used and rare books, maps, prints and a paper ephemera for anyone interested in books and the printed word.
From a roster of 63 dealers, visitors may expect a wide variety of material including modern & classic literature, signed books, fine and decorative bindings, fine press, poetry, collectible science fiction, fantasy mystery and pulps, Western Americana, including Oregon, Washington and California histories, exploration and adventure, children’s books, cookery & domestica, historical maps and photographs, postcards, pamphlets, broadsides, journals & letters, travel posters, and more. All manner of printed material will be available. Free appraisals will be offered and a book restoration expert will be available for consultation.
The fair runs for two days, Friday June 14 – Saturday June 15, and the modest admission …more
J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions” list. It contains an interesting and diverse assortment of 27 music- and dance-related items spanning the 16th through 20th centuries. Things that caught our attention include the first edition, first issue of Handel’s famous opera Il Radamisto published in London in 1720 and first produced at The Haymarket Theatre on April 27, 1720 with King George I and his entourage in attendance; La Tonotechnie ou l’Art de Noter les Cylindres by Marie Engramelle, published in Paris in 1775, a treatise discussing how to play the musical cylinders, a mechanical musical instrument for which both Mozart and Haydn had composed; an unusually early (1839) unpublished letter written by Richard Wagner to the conductor Heinrich Dorn, his successor at the State Theater in Riga, protesting the manner in which he had been usurped by …more
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries, science-fiction and more form Swann Galleries’ 19th & 20th Century Literature auction on Tuesday, May 14, with an impressive run of 14 James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, including a copy of Thunderball, inscribed by Fleming to a CIA agent.
Significant material by the man behind James Bond includes a first edition of Casino Royale, 1953, Fleming’s earliest Bond novel (estimate: $12,000-18,000). A first edition, presentation copy of Thunderball, 1961, features an inscription to Charles Douglas Jackson, the Deputy Chief at the Psychological Warfare Division at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in the U.K., and friend of Fleming’s who was revealed to be a CIA agent following his death in 1964. A first edition of Goldfinger, 1959, is signed and inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, a noteworthy professional golfer ($12,000-18,000, each). Also present is the rarest Bond title of all: a first edition, first impression of The Man with the Golden Gun, 1965, that has the gilt gun stamped on the front cover ($6,000-9,000).
The sale is led by a scarce presentation copy of Security Analysis, 1934, likely the first known to bear the signature of its principal author, Benjamin Graham. This first edition, second printing, is inscribed to a Wall Street trader who was a contemporary of the author and is estimated at $18,000 to $25,000.
Early twentieth-century titles of note include the first American edition of Virginia Woolf’s first book, The Voyage Out, 1920, in the rare dusk jacket, of which only two have been traced at auction ($2,000-3,000). A first edition in the dust jacket with cover art that reproduces the frontispiece of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, 1911, will have its inaugural auction appearance …more
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
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
The Morgan Library & Museum announces a new exhibition of satirical drawings and prints by renowned artist William Hogarth (1697–1764) which will run from May 24 to September 22, 2019. Best known for his humorous political commentary, Hogarth’s work engaged a broad audience and agitated for legislative and social change. His intricate drawings and richly anecdotal scenes depict the ills and injustices of eighteenth-century urban life, exploring the connections between violence, crime, alcohol abuse, and cruelty to animals. He hoped his graphic work would amuse, shock, and ultimately edify his audience.
Opening on May 24, Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor tells the story of Hogarth’s iconic images and the social realities of life in Georgian London that inspired him to advocate for reform through popular works of art. It is the first show at the Morgan devoted to this artist, whose style was so influential in British art that the word “Hogarthian” remains a recognizable way of describing works of satire.
Featuring over twenty works, the show investigates Hogarth’s creative process and examines his embrace of humor, highlighting the Morgan’s exceptional cache of preparatory drawings for his two most acclaimed print series from 1751: Beer Street and Gin Lane, and The Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth’s prints documenting the dangerous impact of the gin craze, Beer Street and Gin Lane, generated popular support for the 1751 Gin Act and other reform efforts, while the Stages of Cruelty reflects the growing anxiety about episodes of human brutality in London. Included in the show are the only other two known studies related to the Stages of Cruelty; these works reveal the complex generative process of the series. Also on view are drawings from The Royal Collection Trust that represent Hogarth’s first and last forays into satire.
Fiercely independent, Hogarth was driven to innovate in order to elevate the status of British art, creating new genres and modes of expression in his painting, printmaking, and drawing. His compositions are rich with narrative detail. It was his adoption of such “low” subjects, no less than his use of humor, that led him to struggle to be taken seriously throughout his career. “William Hogarth’s works should be enjoyed for their artistry, humor, and activism, and as such hold a special place in our drawings and prints collection,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “The artist was a keen observer of his city, and his visual anecdotes were a brilliant means of communicating to a wider public.”
William Hogarth (1697–1764) achieved substantial artistic and commercial success in his lifetime, both as a printmaker and as a painter. Despite his enduring fame, Hogarth’s drawings are today little known and …more
Printed & Manuscript African Americana at Swann Galleries on Thursday, March 28 saw a sell-through rate of 90%, a record for the category. Enthusiastic bidding was seen across all sections of the sale, resulting in seven records, with significant interest from institutions.
A 1958 edition of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book by Victor H. Green broke a record for any edition of the publication at $27,500. The travel guide for African-American families was indispensable during a time when long-distance travel would be a cause for apprehension about finding lodging, gasoline, or even a restroom. Also of note was a rare survival of the Jim Crow era, a circa late 1950s letterpress sign by the Tennessee Public Service Commission proclaiming Notice: This Part of the Car for Colored People, which sold for $10,400, and a first edition of Martin Luther King’s Why We Can’t Wait, 1964, signed by the civil rights leader, which brought $8,750.
The sale was led by volume one, number one of The Mirror of Liberty, July 1838, the first black periodical published in the United States, edited by David Ruggles–one of New York’s leading abolitionists. The radical abolitionist publication fetched $37,500. Records were set for An Oration on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Delivered in the African Church, 1808, by Peter Williams, at $15,000, and Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave, 1893, by Isaac Mason, at $1,500.
Additional material relating to slavery and abolition included a substantial archive of correspondence to John Augustine Washington III relating to Mount Vernon, other family estates, the heirs of America’s Founding Father, often discussing the enslaved people on whom their fortune was built. The archive brought $32,000. A signed document from Newport, R.I. recording the illegal act of an American captain agreeing to bring slaves from Africa to Havana in 1806, garnered $11,250; and a circa-1850 letterpress broadside proclaiming Union with Freemen–No Union with Slaveholders. Anti-Slavery Meetings!, issued by the Western Anti-Slavery Society, was won for …more
Autographs on March 21, 2019 at Swann Galleries saw significant interest in Americana, scientists and popular figures. Of the sale Marco Tomaschett, the house’s autographs Specialist, noted – “Highest prices were mostly for historical autographs, demonstrating that the broad interest in history continues.”
A 1776 autograph letter signed by Joseph Brant, Thayeadanegea–the leader of the Mohawk people and military, and British Loyalist–writing with news after he had been in England meeting with King George III, recounting events related to the American rebels, brought $35,000, a record for a letter by Brant.
Founding Fathers were also popular, with a 1793 ALS by Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, to the President and Directors of the Bank of the U.S. expressing that they will receive an appropriation for giving advances to the Mint ($12,500); George Washington’s signed ticket for the Mountain Road Lottery from 1768 fetched $8,450; two autograph documents signed from 1764 and 1765 concerning payment for services rendered in various lawsuits by John Adams brought $3,900; and a 1792 printed document signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, sold for $5,000.
An 1875 photograph signed and dated by Ulysses S. Grant led an assortment of signatures from U.S. Presidents, earning $10,000. A partly-printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln, appointing John T. Hogeboom as Appraiser of Merchandise in April of 1864, brought $5,500, and a group of five typed letters, signed by Theodore Roosevelt from 1902-05 to his sister Corrine Roosevelt Robinson, was won for $3,380.
Of British interest was a group of six ALS from 1989-92 by Diana, Princess of Wales, to her friend Elizabeth Tilberis, the editor of British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as an 1884 ALS by Queen Victoria to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, expressing her sorrows over the death of her son Leopold ($10,400 and $5,750, respectively).
Scientists and inventors were represented with a 1944 ink-and-wash portrait by Charlotte Berend-Corinth of Albert Einstein, signed by the physicist, at $9,100; two offprints signed by Linus Pauling, which featured his articles The Nature of the Chemical Bond, 1931, and Ascorbic Acid and Cancer, 1979, brought $4,500, and Nikola Tesla’s 1935 signed monogrammed correspondence card sold for …more
In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, the Morgan Library & Museum exhibits the work of the beloved American poet. In a notebook in 1859, Whitman wrote, “Comrades! I am the bard of Democracy,” and over his 73 years (1819–1892) he made good on that claim. As he bore witness to the rise of New York City, the Civil War and other major transformations in American life, Whitman tried to reconcile the famous contradictions of this country through his inclusivity and his prolific body of work. The author of one of the most celebrated texts of American literature—Leaves of Grass (1855)—came from humble origins in Long Island and Brooklyn but eventually earned a global audience that has never stopped growing.
Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy traces the development of his writing and influence, from his early days producing local journalism and sensational fiction to his later years writing the visionary poems that would revitalize American letters. Drawing on the Morgan’s own holdings as well as exceptional loans from the Library of Congress, the exhibition shows the landmarks of his literary career, including “O Captain! My Captain!” and the famous letter written to Whitman by Ralph Waldo Emerson commending Leaves of Grass. A notebook containing Whitman’s early experiments with free verse and the origins of the seminal poem “Song of Myself” will be on display, as well as the copy of Leaves of Grass that Whitman presented to the artist who engraved his emblematic portrait in the first edition. Also on view are documents by famous writers influenced by Whitman, such as Oscar Wilde, Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg.
Early in his writing career, Whitman wrote temperance novels and stories of walking around the city, exploring its nooks and crannies. The exhibition presents some of these fugitive publications from New York’s literary underground. Whitman saw himself foremost as a New Yorker: he claimed that many of his poems “arose out of my life in Brooklyn and New York from 1838 to 1853, absorbing a million people, for fifteen years, with an intimacy, an eagerness, and an abandon, probably never equaled.” In the early 1850s, Whitman began writing free verse poetry and self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855. The book celebrated the first person in a way that no poetry ever had before. A portion of the exhibition examines …more
The Hobart Book Village located in the northern Catskills, if not the only, is by far the most prominent book village in the United States. Don Dales, a visionary local property owner from Hobart, a once a sleepy village with mostly empty stores, teamed up with William Adams (a retired physician) and his wife Diana (a retired attorney) to reinvent the town along bookish lines, and then set about trying to recruit other booksellers to join them in the project. Both Dales and the Adams would certainly be the first to admit that their inspiration was based on the pioneering efforts of Richard Booth who turned Hay-on-Wye, a small town in Wales, into the world famous destination it is today. Other rural villages have tried to emulate that model, but except for Wigtown in Scotland, and Hobart, few have had lasting success. About a year or so ago, after being the subject of an article in the Guardian, Hobart's story was picked by the NBC morning television program Today, where it can still be viewed.
The Adams, who now trade under the name Wm.H. Adams, Antiquarian Books, previously worked in Manhattan and traveled to Hobart during vacations, weekends and at every opportunity. During that period they bought a property and decided to make Hobart their second home and base of their antiquarian book business.
CGTN (China Global Television Network) is one of several international television services we receive off the air (no cable or satellite required) from WCNY, our nearby PBS station. Very recently CGTN aired a special report on the Hobart Book Village and conducted interviews with the Adams, Dales, other local booksellers, and the owner of the Bull & Garland Pub. If you didn't see the story when originally broadcast, you can watch it by clicking here or on the above image of the creek that meanders through the village. …more
Biblio (Asheville, NC) is the new official partner of the ABA's annual Rare Book Fair that takes place in early June of each year and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is the 2019 Charity Partner.
Firsts London, the ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will open its doors to visitors from June 7-9 in Battersea Park. More than 150 exhibitors from around the world (sole traders and larger companies) will exhibit rare, unique and unusual works for visitors with wide ranging cultural interests and a passion for the printed word, art, books maps and related ephemera, including everything from museum-quality medieval manuscripts to modern signed first editions.
“In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of pioneering and acclaimed actor Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of the iconic theatre and the 400th anniversary of …more
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
(Review of "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice")
According to the experience of most booksellers I know, Amazon and the internet have nearly trashed the antiquarian book trade – and in order to survive many independent booksellers have become data-entry catalogers for the online giants. I think it was at least twelve years ago when I first heard someone's opinion that antiquarian book-selling had become a rat race to the bottom.
And then there's the crazy pricing. Many of us have seen identical copies of the same title offered on-line for anywhere from 99¢ to $100,000, so when recently published books, especially good ones, become remaindered for whatever reason there are often incredible bargains to be had.
Once in a fit of temporary madness I bought a case or two of Geoffrey Wawro's Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (New York, Penguin, 2010) on the internet (Biblio). Written by a professor of military history at the University of North Texas and published at $37.95, the three or four dollars a copy I paid was actually cheaper than the paperback version, and missionary-like I offered to sell them at cost to anyone interested in the the Middle East. I had already read the book and naïvely thought others would jump at the chance – I thought wrong and except for the few copies I gave away, I still have most of the shipment.
In 2014 another controversial book was published that explored corruption and obstruction of justice within the Department of Justice. The title, appropriately enough, is Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (Dallas, Brown Publishing Group, 2014), by Sidney Powell. According to her bio “Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years” and for twenty years has been a federal appeals attorney. Also, “She was the youngest Assistant United States Attorney in the country and the youngest elected fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, for which she also served as President”.
Much of the book explores in excruciating detail the Federal prosecutions that grew out of the Enron collapse in the early years of the new century (and) the 2008 prosecution, conviction, and ultimate acquittal and exoneration of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. (The Stevens case came at a politically convenient time that changed the balance of power in the Senate). In all high profile prosecutions, the cost of providing an adequate defense places an immense economic burden on the accused, and in a Gogolesque scenario, when threatened with financial ruin many defendants have struck immunity deals and have become witnesses for the prosecution, telling the court what they've been instructed to say, even if they absolutely know it to be untrue or misleading. …more
The Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair which began in 1976 and is one of if not the oldest book fair in the Midwest will be taking a year off in 2019. The Michigan Student Union which has been home to the fair for over 40 years is closed until the end of this year due to a major renovation project. While the character of the Union will hopefully be unchanged there were some much needed mechanical upgrades that will be addressed.
Since its inception the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair has attracted dealers from across the country and has drawn book collectors from throughout the Midwest. The first fair in 1976 had only twelve dealers but has now grown to nearly 40 dealers and has a waiting list.
The date for the revived Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair is Sunday, May 17th, 2020. For further information contact Jay Platt at the West Side Book Shop 734-995-1891 or email@example.com.
Notes on House Museums from Danna D'Esopo Jackson
House museums seem to be in retreat, as they are overtaken and absorbed into larger, glitzier operations. A recent casualty of this trend is the Thornton W. Burgess Museum in Sandwich, Mass., which has been merged into a nature conservancy group and a fund-raising "jam kitchen". Lost in these activities is Burgess's anthropomorphized animal stories that were anthologized and syndicated on "childrens pages", i.e., the comics pages, in newspapers.
Among the most successful childrens authors and illustrators is Tasha Tudor, who molded a public persona around the 19th century agrarian culture described in her books. She adopted the life style she wrote about, wearing period clothes and doing farm chores, and her home, Corgi Cottage, in Marlboro, Vt. is a house museum, surrounded by her lush gardens.
On the upper end of the economic scale, is Edith Wharton's …more
Note: The following letter from John Townsend was just received and speaks for itself. Many of us have known the Austins for decades, and are witnesses to many instances and occasions when Garry has been among the first to help out when difficult situations arise. I don't believe he could ever imagine being in the position he's in right now. As follows:
This is an appeal for financial help.
As many of you know, our colleague Garry Austin of Wilmington, Vermont suffered a subdural hematoma last September. It was not a stroke, but it did cause major brain damage. For two weeks, Garry lay unconscious at Albany Medical Center in New York. After six weeks he was transferred to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington where he remains.
Garry cannot yet walk or speak more than a few words. Nor can he read or write. Medicare stopped coverage because of his failure to respond to therapy. Several caring nurses try to help him get up and sit in a chair, and his wife, Karen, has been trying to assume the role of speech therapist.
Garry has Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MDS, which is a form of blood cancer due to a failure of the bone marrow to produce healthy cells. The MDS he has is considered “high risk” to progress to leukemia. He is also at high risk for bleeding and infection. (The bleeding is what caused his subdural hematoma.) He needs a heart bypass and his hips have both failed. No formal prognosis has been given to Karen as yet.
Karen has been at his side constantly. She continues to manage the business as well as she can, all while …more
Swann Galleries closed out their fall season with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Thursday, December 13. The auction saw a sell-through rate of 89%, five records, and steady interest across various categories.
The runaway top lot of the sale was Across the Continent, 1868, a Currier & Ives print depicting the changing landscape of the mid nineteenth-century American frontier upon the completion of the Transcontinental Railroads. Significant for its subject matter and memorable provenance, the work came across the block, by descent, from the noteworthy collection of Thomas Winthrop Streeter who was given the lithograph on his 80th birthday by his children. Across the Continent reached $62,500 – a record for the print.
Maps and atlases represented a generous portion of the sale with several lots taking top spots and setting records. Maps included Samuel de Champlain’s scarce 1664 record of his later discoveries in Canada with $22,500, and John Overton’s New and Most Exact Map of America from 1671 with $11,875. Additional cartographic material featured a chart of the middle Atlantic Coast including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres ($13,750); Joan Vingboons’ Caarte van Westindien, circa 1700, a large engraved chart of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean ($10,625); and a 1676 New and Accurate Map of the World by John Speed …more
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is the title of an upcoming Tolkien exhibition that will be running at the Morgan Library and Museum from January 25 through May 12, 2019
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With these words the Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien ignited a fervid spark in generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s adventurous tales of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to the rich history of Middle-earth. Going beyond literature, Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a world complete with its own languages and histories.
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth celebrates the man and his creation. The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and …more
Like many dealers in the secondhand book trade, Shaun Bythell never set out to be a bookman and was a late arrival on the book scene. He has, however, made up for lost time with his charming autobiography, The Diary of a Bookseller, chronicling his first year in The Bookshop in Wigtown, a remote book village in southwestern Scotland.
Don't look for a bibliographical discussion of edition points or a comparison of dust jackets here, for his emphasis is less on his books and more on his staff and the vivid assemblage of personalities who visit him and his cat, Captain, in the shop. Among Bythell's sidelines are his video service and the Random Book Club, in which members pay an annual fee for a monthly book that he selects. He filmed one of the dispersals to the Random members and most, as they opened their paper bags and pulled out their books, were …more
by Thomas Fleming (Society of American Historians)
Some youthful memories were stirred by the news this week that the president plans to use his State of the Union speech next Tuesday to urge Congress to make voter registration and ballot-casting easier. Like Mr. Obama, I come from a city with a colorful history of political corruption and vote fraud.
The president's town is Chicago, mine is Jersey City. Both were solidly Democratic in the 1930s and '40s, and their mayors were close friends. At one point in the early '30s, Jersey City's Frank Hague called Chicago's Ed Kelly to say he needed $2 million as soon as possible to survive a coming election. According to my father – one of Boss Hague's right-hand men – a dapper fellow who had taken an overnight train arrived at Jersey City's City Hall the next morning, suitcase in hand, cash inside.
Those were the days when it was glorious to be a Democrat. As a historian, I give talks from time to time. In a recent one, called “Us Against Them,” I said it was we Irish and our Italian, Polish and other ethnic allies against “the dirty rotten stinking WASP Republicans of New Jersey.” By thus demeaning the opposition, we had clear consciences as we rolled up killer majorities using tactics that had little to do with the election laws.
My grandmother Mary Dolan died in 1940. But she voted Democratic for the next 10 years. An election bureau official came to our door one time and asked if Mrs. Dolan was still living in our house. “She's upstairs taking a nap,” I replied. …more
(SciFi Works Continue Proving to be Popular in Swann Literature Sales)
Book collectors from everywhere took part in Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The sale saw demand for genre works and classics alike with an 88% sell-through rate. Specialist John D. Larson noted that “the strong prices achieved across the spectrum of the sale was impressive, with canonical titles by Poe, Hemingway and Wilde leading the way. In addition, the more recent material, particularly the sc-fi variety, went from strength-to-strength with auction records set by Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Heinlein, proving once again the sky is no limit.”
Topping the sale was a first edition of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. A Play About a Good Woman, 1893. The presentation copy signed and inscribed by Wilde to Elisabeth Marbury–a leading play agent in New York who handled all of the author’s plays in America–was sold for $27,500 to a collector after breakneck bidding. A first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s first book Three Stories & Ten Poems, 1923, from the collection of cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, saw success with a price of …more
Swann Auction Galleries’ September 27 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana was the highest-earning Americana auction at the house in the last six years, bringing $1.2 million with 85% of lots selling. The day opened with a bustling auction room and active bidding during the morning session of The Harold Holzer Collection of Lincolniana was followed by an equally successful afternoon session.
Top lots from the Holzer collection included a portrait of the beardless Lincoln, by John C. Wolfe, which brought in $40,000; a fourth edition of the famous “Wigwam Print,” the first stand-alone print of Lincoln, which sold for $21,250; and a commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president signed by Lincoln, 1861, which brought a record $18,750 for a printed commission signed by the president.
The Lincolniana portion of the sale set several additional records, including one for any printing of the 16th president’s famous 1860 Cooper Union address at $5,000. Winfred Porter Truesdell’s important reference work, Engraved and Lithographed Portraits of Abraham Lincoln, 1933, brought $4,000; an Andrew Johnson impeachment trial ticket sold for $2,125; and Victor D. Brenner’s 1907 plaque, which served as the model for the Lincoln penny, fetched $4,500.
The sale did not slow down during the afternoon session: the top lot of the auction was Francis W. de Winton’s diary, containing notes on pow-wows with Indians during an official tour of western Canada, which sold for …more