Before my maternal grandfather arrived in the United States to seek a new life and job opportunities that weren't available to many young men from the moors of rural Devon (the Hatherleigh and Torrington areas weren't as trendy in the late 1880s as they are now), he shipped out to Argentina which until then had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. His timing couldn't have been worse.
About the time of his arrival or shortly afterwards, there was a major wheat crop failure, a collapse of many of the major banks and all of it leading to the panic of 1893 and widespread …more
PBA Galleries will present an auction of Americana, Travel, Exploration, Space, World History and Cartography on November 5th, 2020. The catalogue features over 400 lots comprising a broad array of material relating to the history, culture, progress, and peoples of the Americas and the world beyond, with particular reference to California and the western portion of the United States. Included are printed books, manuscripts, photographs, maps and atlases, propaganda posters, ephemera, and more.
The auction will offer some of the most desirable examples Californiana on the market today, including a mammoth plate albumen photograph by Carlton E. Watkins of the original Cliff House in San Francisco. The photograph looks out on the Pacific Ocean from the western shore of San Francisco, with Watkins’ “photo wagon” visible in the image (est. …more
by Thomas Fleming (Society of American Historians)
Ed. Note: The late Mr. Fleming, who died in 2017 at the age of 90, was a former president of the Society of American Historians. He and his wife, Alice Mulcahy Fleming, between them have written and published more books than most people have read. The column was clipped from a newspaper (unknown) several years ago and I came across it while cleaning my office in preparation for the monthly meeting of our local Shakespeare Club. Permission to reprint was granted by Mrs. Fleming. (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose)
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
Swann Galleries’ Old Master Through Modern Prints sale on Thursday, November 12 will include masters of printmaking from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries.
The auction is led by Louis Lozowick’s scarce circa-1925 Art Deco lithograph New York, of which only three other impressions have been seen at auction in the past 30 years (est. $40,000-60,000). Edward Hopper is available with Night Shadows, etching, 1921 (est. $20,000-30,000): the work is the only commercial etching printed by Hopper and was created for The New Republic, New York, and published in a limited edition portfolio for their December 1924 issue. Additional works by American printmakers include color woodcuts by Gustave Baumann, classic views of New York City by Martin Lewis, and the important Regionalist lithographer Thomas Hart Benton.
Latin American stalwarts include Wifredo Lam with Pleni Luna, a 1974 portfolio with complete text and 10 color lithographs (est. $6,000-9,000); Mixografias by Rufino Tamayo: Personajes con Pajaros, 1988 (est. $4,000-6,000), and Hombre en la Ventana, 1980 (est. $5,000-8,000); as well as impressions by Diego Rivera, Leopold Méndez, David A. Siqueiros and Roberto Matta.
Old Master works include woodcuts, etchings and engravings by Albrecht Dürer, most notably a 1498 engraving Hercules, or the Effects of Jealousy (est. $30,000-50,000), and a 1498 woodcut The Adoration of the Lamb. Rembrandt van Rijn is present with the etchings The Descent from the Cross: Second Plate, 1633, and A Beggar Seated on a Bank, 1630, a likely early self-portrait (both est. $30,000-50,000), as well as Christ before Pilate: Large Plate, 1635–36, which also features a self-portrait of the artist (est. $20,000-30,000). Pieter Bruegel, Francisco José de Goya, Giovanni B. Piranesi and Martin Schongauer also feature in the section.
A superb selection of modern prints is anchored by a strong group of nineteenth-century artists, ranging from James A.M. Whistler to Paul Gauguin, and Impressionist stalwarts like Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt. A run of Whistler etchings includes Venus, 1859 (est. …more
Potter & Pottert's October 20th Fine Books and Manuscripts sale did well in every respect. When the hammer fell for the last time, 98 lots fetched $750-2,499; 23 lots bought $2,500-$9,999; and four lots broke the $10,000 mark. Prices noted include the 20% buyer's premium.
Museum quality fine art, paintings, and prints were among the top lot slots in the sale. Pablo Picasso's Le Pigeonneau, was estimated at $10,000-15,000 and brought $37,500. The hand colored and signed artist's proof from 1939 was printed in Paris by Robert Blanchet and was accompanied by two letters of authenticity; David Hockney's Ossie and Mo, was estimated at $1,000-2,000 and made $4,800 - almost five times the low estimate. This signed work, numbered 4/75, was printed by Maurice Payne on Chisbrook handmade paper and published by the Petersburg Press in 1968. William Adolphe Bouguereau's beautifully rendered Study of the Head of a Brunette Woman, sold for …more
A notice that Mystery Books in Brattleboro, VT is closing... notes that it is "the last mystery bookstore in New England and one of the last in the country". While specialty bookshops dealing in some nonfiction categories have survived and even thrived, those devoted to fiction genres (excluding juvenile fiction) seem to have stalled. Rankings of bestseller novels, with their sales noted on weekly charts, will always survive, but titles on the backlist – unless they or their authors win awards – quickly wither away,
Parallel to this decline is a decline in book clubs. Book clubs, beginning with the 30-volume Little Leather Library, specialized with the Book of the Month Club in 1926 and later produced the spin-off Quality Paperback Book Club, History Book Club, and Children's Book of the Month Club. Book clubs may seem redundant now, but in the past – when a huge number of readers didn't have access to a town large enough to support a bookstore – they were a lifeline to the larger world. Because they were a "club", the members met in groups to …more
Philadelphia has moved cautiously to “Green” status, and the Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co./SessaBks now joyfully invites your visits by individual appointment. The firm's 19th-century building is large and airy and was built when cross-ventilation could not be an afterthought. The bookrooms are spacious. And the front porch, with its almost iconic rocking chairs now set on blue x's six feet apart, is perfect for outdoor socializing between browsing sessions.
Arrangements to visit should be made at least 24 hours in advance, as plans for this first stage of reopening will see the shop receiving only a person or two or one household at a time. Masks will be de rigueur indoors, and the ritual handwashing that once was a precaution taken to protect the books and manuscripts will now be part of the program for other reasons - to protect the health of other people. The proprietors, Cynthy Buffington and David Szewczyk promise that the books will be here and they're eager to see you exactly as always. The Summer Garage Sale will be extended into early autumn, weather permitting, to all regular late-summer visitors. For more information, please call (215) 744-6734 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hindman’s fall fine art auctions shattered expectations once again, selling above and beyond presale estimates. The four sales together fetched more than $7.5 million across three days, led by the sale of two works by American master, Alexander Calder.
“We were delighted by the performance of the sales last week - the success of these auctions once again proves the art market is stronger than ever,” said Joe Stanfield, Director of Fine Art for Hindman. “Strong bidder engagement and impressive prices realized continue to drive the market, and the caliber of works we are offering are benefitting greatly from this highly performing market.”
Hindman’s Post War and Contemporary Art auction (October 1) was an outstanding success. Led by two works by Alexander Calder, the auction finished the day at $4.2 million against the sale’s presale estimate of $2.5 million. In addition to the top lots of the auction, works by Chicago Imagist artists, once again saw strong results with Gladys Nilsson’s 1965 oil on canvas, Untitled (Hairy Legged, Star Tattooed Giantess in Striped Dress Skipping Rope), selling for $162,500 against a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000 making it the third highest selling lot of the sale.
Alexander Calder’s standing mobile, Triple Cross, 1947, more than tripled its pre-sale estimate. The work was one of two offered at the Thursday auction by one of the most the revolutionary artists of the 20th century. Triple Cross, 1947, held a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000, and set a record for the highest sale price …more
A top Democratic operative says voter fraud, especially with mail-in ballots, is no myth. And he knows this because he’s been doing it, on a grand scale, for decades.
Mail-in ballots have become the latest flashpoint in the 2020 elections. While President Trump and the GOP warn of widespread manipulation of the absentee vote that will swell with COVID polling restrictions, many Democrats and their media allies have dismissed such concerns as unfounded.
But the political insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears prosecution, said fraud is more the rule than the exception. His dirty work has taken him through the weeds of municipal and federal elections in Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Hoboken and Hudson County and his fingerprints can be found in local legislative, mayoral and congressional races across the Garden State. Some of the biggest names and highest office holders in New Jersey have benefited from his tricks, according to campaign records The Post reviewed.
“An election that is swayed by 500 votes, 1,000 votes — it can make a difference,” the tipster said. “It could be enough to flip states.”
The whisteblower — whose identity, rap sheet and long history working as a consultant to various campaigns were confirmed by The Post — says he not only changed ballots himself over the years, but led teams of fraudsters and mentored at least 20 operatives in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — a critical 2020 swing state.
“There is no race in New Jersey — from city council to United States Senate — that we haven’t worked on,” the tipster said. “I worked on a fire commissioner’s race in Burlington County. The smaller the race, the easier it is to do.”
A Bernie Sanders die-hard with no horse in the presidential race, he said he felt compelled to come forward in the hope that states would act now to fix the glaring security problems present in mail-in ballots.
“This is a real thing,” he said. “And there is going to be a f–king war coming November 3rd over this stuff … If they knew how the sausage was made, they could fix it.”
Mail-in voting can be complicated — tough enough that 84,000 New Yorkers had their mailed votes thrown out in the June 23 Democratic presidential primary for incorrectly filling them out.
But for political pros, they’re a piece of cake. In New Jersey, for example, it begins with a …more
Early Aeronautica has just finished listing several rare Cold War pilot manuals and unusual aviation books; also some choice WWI Imperial German airship banners and several Wally Schirra space items. After browsing the various categories, inquiries are invited from those needing more information or photographic description.
After publishing 14 paper catalogs over 45 years, Early Aeronautica has moved into the modern era. They're now including rare and unusual aviation memorabilia and relics in their online catalog that was first published ten years ago. Their most current offerings appear at the beginning of each category. Autographs is a new tab with many Aces and Medal of Honor additions as is the new Photo Album category. Early Aeronautica actively seeks the WWI aviation paintings and lithographs of Henri Farre, memorabilia of Samuel F. Cody and of Thaddeaus Lowe.
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)
D & D Galleries (P.O. Box 8413, Somerville, NJ). Founded in 1985, with specialties in British and American literature. Eclectic inventory (mostly English language) ranges from the 15th through the 20th centuries with sub-specialties in Fine Bindings, S.T.C. and Wing books, Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson), Charles Dickens, presentation and association material as well as 17th and 18th century British history. Members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and the Provincial Bookfair Association of Great Britain. Tel: (908) 904-1314.(Featured Selections)
Early Aeronautica (Midland, MI). Vintage books, documents & ephemera relating to early aviation. Tel: (989) 835-3908; (520) 373-2622 (Newest Arrivals)
Gibson's Books (3137 Old Highway 431, Owens Cross Roads, AL). Large stock, specializing in local and southern history, including Civil War, Southern fiction, cookery & ephemera. Also, back issues of Book Source Monthly/Book Source Magazine from 1985-2013. Tel: (256) 316-0054. (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)
Old Editions (954 Oliver St., North Tonawanda, NY). Rare & Antiquarian Books, Paper & Ephemera/Prints, Posters & Original Art Works. One of the largest antiquarian bookstores in New York State. Tel: (716) 842-1734. (Featured Selections)
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! email@example.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)
R & A Petrilla, Booksellers. (P.O. Box 306, Roosevelt, NJ). Established 1970. Online since 1995. Trading in unusual books, documents, and manuscripts in various fields of interest, including farm life.(New Arrivals)
The Jumping Frog. (56 Arbor Street Suite 107 Hartford CT) 160,000 items of ephemera, selected books & other collectibles. Established 1983. Not currently open for in-person browsing. Tel: 860-523-1622. Use Coupon "FrogBSM" for 20% discount at checkout. (Browse)
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)
Justin Raimondo, founder and moving spirit of AntiWar.com, died a little over a year ago and we were remiss in not calling attention to his passing at the time. After all, his organization has been represented on this magazine's website for many years. American Spectator published an obituary that will give non-libertarians a sense of who Justin was (and is, for those who still read his articles and columns). In this election year it is particularly important to learn about other perspectives, other priorities, other points of view, and for that reason we've provided a link to the original piece.
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
J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their new catalogue, number 89, “Summer Potpourri.” It contains 194 items and includes important autograph letters of Bellini to Count Apponyi in Paris discussing the composer’s constant work on his opera I Puritani; Berlioz to a conductor at the Paris Opéra regarding his Les Troyens; Gounod to the famous opera singer Adelina Patti praising her performance as Juliette in his Romeo and Juliette; Verdi to his librettist Francesco Piave regarding his opera Jérusalem; and Wagner discussing his early opera Rienzi as well as his proposed biography of Beethoven.
Opera performers are represented by letters and photographs of Caruso, Chaliapin, Jean de Reske, Gilbert Duprez, Adelina Patti, Marcella Sembrich, Rosine Stoltz, and two collections of original and vintage photographs of singers from the Golden Age of opera.
Musical first editions include works by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Robert Schumann. The catalogue also contains a wide variety of original fine engravings and etchings of composers and musicians from the 17th through the 20th centuries. There is, in addition, a smattering of books about music and musicians.
The Hobart Book Village is now open and is expanding. In addition to the four anchor shops – Adams’ Antiquarian Books, Blenheim Hill Books, Creative Corner Books and Liberty Rock Books – two more book shops will be joining the Book Village this summer. More Good Books will offer books on trains, planes, automobiles, shipping, pets, sports, games, and hobbies. It will be located in the building next to the Dinner Plate with the entrance via the door in the parking lot. More Good Books will share the space with the Community Children’s Library and My Vintage Bottega, the latter focusing on vintage clothing and accessories.
Later in the summer another new book shop will open: NY Books & Ephemera. This shop will be located next to Creative Corner Books and will offer new, used, and vintage books about New York State as well as vintage ephemera relating to the Empire State. Part of NY Books & Ephemera will house Made in New York, which will carry local foods (jam, honey, maple products, etc.) and gifts handmade by local artisans (jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, kitchen linens, tote bags, etc.).
The four “old” book shops are open daily, 7 days a week, through Columbus Day from 11 am to 5 pm. As of the July 4th weekend, More Good Books will also be open these same hours. While NY Books & Ephemera will not be fully open until later this summer, it will be able to provide visitors on the July 4th weekend a “sneak” preview of what they will have to offer.
"Booksellers' Gulch" 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 area was northern New England's version of Manhattan’s Book Row and a bibliophile’s paradise. Nowadays “Booksellers Gulch” is our metaphor for where the books are. We hope that bookhunters on the road or just exploring areas near where they live, will find this guide helpful. This feature of Book Source Magazine had been neglected in recent years, but is now being added to on a fairly regular basis
As this geographically arranged directory grows and as time goes on, it will be hard 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 wish to apply for a free listing should call (315) 655-9654 or e-mail for particulars. Please click on this sentence to see the complete list as it exists at the moment.
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
Hindman Auctions hosted a series of Fine Art sales last week, realizing $3.4 million overall, beating presale estimates and setting two new global auction records. Incredibly high interest and participation, as well as extremely competitive bidding, drove top results with bidders on the telephones and on four online bidding platforms.
“We were delighted to, yet again, offer record breaking works of art in our Post War and Contemporary Art auction at Hindman,” said Joe Stanfield, Hindman’s Senior Specialist and Director of Fine Art. “This week of Fine Art sales was a great success, and we were thrilled to see such high engagement and top results across the board. Works by the Chicago Imagists and the Hairy Who continue to bring strong prices on the secondary market.”
Post War and Contemporary Art (May 21st) continued to see strong demand for works by the Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists. After Hindman saw a record setting year in 2019, the market for these works is still heating up as every lot offered found a buyer at or above presale estimates. Hindman set yet another record in this category with Barbara Rossi’s, Mir-ror Grr-L realizing $55,000 against an estimate of $30,000-50,000, eclipsing the previous benchmark set by Hindman last December. Additional highlights from this session include Miyoko Ito’s Irrigation which almost tripled it’s $40,000-60,000 estimate selling for $112,500, Roger Brown’s Dancing Houses-The Earthquake of 1994 which brought $100,000 doubling the presale estimate and Gladys Nilsson’s A Man with a result of $55,000 exceeding the high end of the $30,000-50,000 estimate.
The top lot of the auction was Bob Thompson’s 1961 ambiguously allegorical painting The Sack (The Snook) which saw fiercely competitive bidding from all sectors and ultimately sold on the telephone for $212,500, more than ten times the strategically conservative $20,000 to 30,000 estimate. Zack Wirsum, Senior Specialist of Post War and Contemporary Art, said of the work, “This rare, early example from Thompson’s tragically brief career was an exception in both content and scale. In addition, the work was part of a single private collection prior to the sale, another contributing factor to the incredible result. The painting depicts a staggered arrangement of figures - some crowned in wide brimmed hats and dunce caps, others lurking ominously behind trees and others still alarmingly ensnared in sacks and cloaks - all in active gestural monochrome, evoking more dreamscape than landscape. The universal themes of capture, loss and surrender that carry through much of Thompson’s work reverberate with sustained resonance in The Sack.”
The Prints and Photographs (May 21st) auction exceeded expectations, confirming the consistent market for works by blue chip artists. Works by artists like Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein were among the top lots. Roy Lichtenstein’s, Crying Girl, and Blonde, each sold well beyond their presale estimates. Blonde, estimated at $10,000-15,000 sold for $35,000 and Crying Girl, realized $32,500 over a presale estimate of …more
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 254-4710, ext. 12 or the literature and art books specialist, John D. Larson at email@example.com or (212) 254-4710 ext. 61.
(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
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  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