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PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal


Book Fair Calendar

Northampton Antiquarian Book, Ephemera, and Book Arts Fair.  Northampton, MA.   December 3–4, 2021.

Rose City Book & Paper Fair.  Portland, OR.   December 10–11, 2021.

Papermania Plus.  Hartford, CT.   January 15–16, 2022.

York New Year Book Fair.  York, England.   January 15, 2022.

Virtual Antiquarian Book Fair & Antiques Show.  .   January 21–23, 2022.

Denver Postcard & Paper Show.  Denver, CO.   January 21–22, 2022.

Stratford-upon Avon Book Fair.  Stratford-upon-Avon, England.   January 29, 2022.

Rare Books LA.  Pasadena, CA.   February 4–6, 2022.

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  South San Francisco, CA.   February 4–5, 2022.

California International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Oakland, CA.   February 11–13, 2022.

Ephemera 42.  Old Greenwich, CT.   March 17–20, 2022.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 18–19, 2022.

Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.  Sacramento, CA.   March 26, 2022.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 1–3, 2022.     (more information)

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   April 21–24, 2022.

Denver Postcard & Paper Show.  Denver, CO.   May 27–28, 2022.

Northern New England Book Fair.  Concord, NH.   June 3–4, 2022.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 25, 2022.

Denver Postcard & Paper Show.  Denver, CO.   July 8–9, 2022.

Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Paul, MN.   July 8–9, 2022.

Vermont Summer Book, Postcard & Ephemera Fair.  Bennington, VT.   August 7, 2022.

Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Book Fair.  Castle Rock, CO.   September 9–10, 2022.

Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair.  London, England.   November 4–5, 2022.

Book Auction Calendar

Hindman Auctions.  Chicago, IL.   November 18, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   November 18, 2021.     (more information)

Potter & Potter Auctions.  Chicago, IL.   November 20, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   November 23, 2021.     (more information)

Sotheby’s.  Paris, France.   November 30–December 8, 2021.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   December 2, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   December 2, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   December 9, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   December 9, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   December 16, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   December 16, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   December 23, 2021.     (more information)

Auktionshaus Kiefer.  Pforzheim, Germany.   February 18–12, 2022.

AntiqueShowsCanada Virtual Event to Change Emphasis

According to fair organizer and manager Jeff Gadsden – “AntiqueshowsCanada’s Virtual Book fair held November 5 - 7, 2021 was well-attended with 21 booksellers and a handful of antique dealers participating.  It was a very strong show, particularly for the booksellers.  The total number of sales doubled the previous show and the total dollar volume was by far the best to date.  Average sales per booth exceeded $2100.  Only two participants of 25 failed to sell, a new record for AntiqueshowsCanada”. 

The next event, retitled Virtual Antiquarian Book Fair & Antiques Show, reflecting the shift in emphasis, is scheduled for January 21 - 23, 2022. For more information call (647) 236-3277.

Preview of PBA Galleries' December 2nd Auction

PBA Galleries' auction of Antiquarian Books on December 2nd, 2021 is comprised of nearly 250 lots featuring children’s books, works from the golden age of illustration, posters, decorative & graphic arts, and antiquarian books. Highlights also include a custom-made art deco chandelier from San Francisco’s premiere movie palace the Fox Theater, a three-sheet color lithograph poster from magician Carter the Great, a complete set of William Pickering’s Book of Common Prayer, and several classic works of the Western canon.

Highlighting the sale is a rare, complete set in seven volumes of William Pickering's printing of the historical Book of Common Prayer, as issued by the different English monarchs. Typographic facsimiles of the original black letter editions, each volume is magnificently printed handsomely bound in the original vellum over marbled boards with ornamental title pages and decorative head and tailpieces (est. $3,000-$5,000).

A number of documents related to the Napoleonic era include a Napoleon signed letter. Written in August of 1797 during the Italian Campaign in which Napoleon, then General in Chief of the Army of Italy, gained much of his early fame, Napoleon directs procedure for the confiscation and distribution of rations and other goods, requests an intelligence officer for a planned raid, and describes other specific tasks for his officers (est. $1,000-$1,500).

A unique manuscript ledger and cutlery design book from the Argyle Cutlery Works in Sheffield, England is illustrated throughout with pen and ink knife designs. Dating from the early 20th century, the lot also contains other bits of ephemera including …more

Results of Hindman's Antiquities & Ethnographic Art Auction

On November 18th, Hindman Auctions achieved $1,121,063 in its Antiquities and Ethnographic Art auction, which included  ancient Egyptian sculpture. Figural stone sculptures and portrait heads also attracted  strong bidding activity. The auction offered rare objects from the fifth millennium B.C. to the 20th century A.D.

Emerging as the top lot of the auction was an Egyptian granodiorite falcon, which shattered its presale estimate of $7,000-9,000 to sell for $93,750. The falcon is seen as a powerful and fierce bird in ancient culture. Bidders recognized value in the fine craftmanship and overall remarkable condition.

An Egyptian alabaster canopic jar soared well above the estimate of $30,000 - $50,0000 to achieve $87,500. The jar, from the reign of Tuthmosis III, remains impressively intact with much of its original pigment. The inscription is for …more

Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Auction Nearly Doubles Presale Estimate

Hindman Auctions set a house record on November 9 and 10 when its “Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, including Americana” auction achieved a sales total of $1.5 million, the most ever for a various owner Fine Books & Manuscript auction in the company’s 39 year history. The 686 lot auction saw competitive bidding from around the globe that resulted in lots consistently soaring past their presales estimates on both days. “I am proud of this department and everyone who helped us achieve this tremendous result,” said Gretchen Hause, Hindman’s Director and Senior Specialist of Books & Manuscripts. “The results of the past two days demonstrate not only the strength of the market, but the breadth and diversity of interests of collectors today.”
The strongest category of the sale was Printed and Manuscript Americana, which accounted for 8 of the 15 highest prices of the auction, including the top two lots. A first edition of the Federalist Papers (lot 281) published in 1788 took the top honor selling for $175,000 against a presale estimate of $40,000 - $60,000. Written under the pseudonym "Publius" by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, the collection of 85 essays is widely considered to be instrumental in garnering public support for the framework that would become the United States Constitution. …more

by John Huckans
Reflections on the 2020 Election (Part 4)

By many accounts there is a human disaster unfolding in Afghanistan. According to one report back on August 26, a distraught Afghan father shot his daughters to prevent their being taken to be given as “comfort women” to Taliban soldiers. Some have predicted that the human rights abuses that will be occuring in the weeks and months to come will rival or surpass those of Benghazi (2012) or the fall of Saigon in 1975.  Whatever happens, there will be efforts by the administration and their allies in the press to shield those responsible.

And what is seen by many as a crisis at the southern border may be viewed as political opportunity by the administration that helped to bring it about. Apart from the grave health risks of a “super-spreader event” posed by an indeterminate number of …more

The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures

The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures opened on September 24, 2021. This permanent exhibition at the iconic 42nd Street library showcases over 250 rare items from the Library’s renowned research collections, giving visitors a unique opportunity to see and explore objects and stories that have helped shape our world.
The objects—spanning 4,000 years of history—represent moments, movements, and stories that have helped shape the world. They continue to inspire curiosity, conversation, and a stronger understanding of the past to inform a better future. The exhibition draws exclusively from the Library’s research collections, which contain over 45 million objects including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, maps, ephemera, audio and moving image, and more, collected over the institution’s 126 years and accessible at the Library’s research centers: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Library for the Performing Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Timed tickets are available at

In its inaugural iteration, The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures is organized into nine sections: Beginnings, Performance, Explorations, Fortitude, The Written Word, The Visual World, Childhood, Belief, and New York City. Each section highlights …more

Full Measure News (October 3)

Full Measure's investigative news program for October 3rd, 2021 leads off with a behind the scenes look at the debate over the teaching of critical race theory in Loudon County Viginia. Also video coverage of protest demonstrations occuring in Habana over the summer, and finally an upsurge in domestic medical tourism caused by widespread inequities in the pricing of surgical procedures in various parts of the United States. Watch here.

Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale Achieves Record Results

Potter and Potter's recent Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale was the company's highest grossing auction to date. After a day of spirited bidding, 107 lots realized between $1,000-4,999; 22 lots realized between $5,000-9,999; and 16 lots broke the five digit mark. Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Collections of writings from Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain, 1835–1910) and Charles Dickens (1812–1870) were high spots in this sale, with two generating world-record prices. A 38 volume set of Twain's works, was estimated at $4,000-6,000 and sold for $33,600 - a new world's record. Published in New York by Gabriel Wells in 1923–1925, this example, number 499 of 1024 copies of the “Definitive Edition,” was signed (in advance) by Twain on the front flyleaf of volume I with the attestation on the facing page signed by Clemens' biographer and executor, Albert Bigelow Paine.  Another 22 volume set of Twain's work, was estimated at $600-800 and brought $8,400. It was published in Hartford, CT by the American Publishing Company in 1901. This set retained the original dust jackets, was number 583 of 625 copies printed, and was the first uniform edition of all Twain’s works.  
A collection of five Christmas books by Dickens, was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and fetched $28,000 - another world's record. All were first editions and published in London in the 1843–1848 period. Titles included A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man. Each volume was finely bound , with their upper covers featuring various color morocco inlays depicting a Dickens character from its corresponding work.

Materials related to Herman Melville (1819–1891) caught the eye of enthusiasts worldwide. A first American edition, first binding of Melville's Moby–Dick; or, The Whale, brought …more

Vintage Aviation from Early Aeronautica

Early Aeronautica's most recent offering of aviation ephemera includes original WWII intelligence maps for the Anzio landing (Italy) in 1943, a WWI U.S. Navy pilot archive of Ensign Rettig Arnold Griswold #248, and other uncommon items relating to military and commercial aviation from the first half of the last century. For a deeper dive into the unusual material on offer, click here.

by John C. Huckans
Family Letters (reprinted from October 2020)

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

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Recent Offerings

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts latest "Twenty for Tuesday" includes a wide-ranging pot-pourri or mixed offering of finely bound and illustrated editions of both classic works and uncommonly available rare items, such as one of the first books printed in the Mpongwe dialect of the Myene language spoken by a small group of Bantus living in Gabon. For more information, simply click on Twenty for Tuesday XXXIII.

Imperial Splendor: The Art of the Book in the Holy Roman Empire

A new exhibition entitled Imperial Splendor: The Art of the Book in the Holy Roman Empire (ca. 800–1500)  will be on view at the Morgan Library and Museum from October 15, 2021 through January 23, 2022
Imperial Splendor offers a sweeping overview of manuscript production in the Holy Roman Empire – a complex of territories in Western, Central and Southern Europe – which represents one of the most impressive chapters in the history of medieval art.

While little known and rarely seen by the general public, these illuminated manuscripts count among the most luxurious works of art from the Middle Ages. Designed to edify, to entertain, and above all to embody the sacred, these manuscripts and their spectacular illuminations retain the ability to dazzle and inspire modern audiences just as they did those of the Middle Ages.

Bringing together some seventy manuscripts from collections across the country, the exhibition begins with the reforms initiated in the early ninth century by Charlemagne the first emperor following the fall of Rome. It ends with the flurry of artistic innovation coinciding with the invention of the printing press and the onset of humanism in the fifteenth century. As the first major presentation of this subject in the English-speaking world, Imperial Splendor introduces visitors to fundamental aspects of this history, including how artists developed a visual rhetoric of power, the role of the aristocratic elite in the production and patronage of manuscripts, and the impact of Albrecht Dürer and humanism on the arts of the book.

The exhibition will remain on view through January 23, 2022. For more information call (212) 590-0310 or (212) 590-0311.

by John Huckans
Reflections on the 2020 Election (Part 3)

The  election of 2016 was in many ways about class struggle, with shifting alliances and a strange new cast of players. Wealth and economic power, built largely through the skills and hard work of the American working and middle class, had became increasingly concentrated in the hands of the super rich – CEOs of major corporations, international banks, money managers, hedge fund operators, “non-proft” foundations and the entertainment industry.  For the purpose of this discussion, I would define the entertainment industry as including movies, network news, televised spectator sports, and much of reality television – 21st century purveyors of bread and circuses or opioids for the masses. Orchestrated attempts to divert people from thinking about …more

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Celebrates 2021 Reopening

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manusripts has just announced to "old friends of the Tuesday Twenties" the revival of their regular series of  "score-at-a-time" offerings of new acquisitons and rare books of importance. The offerings were largely suspended while PRB&M was preoccupied by the pandemic & other events of the past year, and they now offer as a make-up and apology for the hiatus "Fifty for Friday", a special enlarged edition, to restart the series and to simply celebrate their summer of 2021 reopening. To see the list of this week's offerings, click on Fifty for Friday.

Important Americana & Rare Cartography at PBA's July 8th Sale

Seventy-five choice lots of rare and valuable Americana and cartography drew strong interest in PBA Galleries’ July 8th auction. The sale was highlighted by an amazing record price of $361,500 (including the buyer’s premium) for the first book printed in California, José Figueroa’s Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana, 1835, the then-governor of California’s defense of his policies and actions in connection with the Hijar and Padrés colonization scheme. Though the scheme and its relation to the secularization of the California mission properties is of great importance to historians and scholars, that is overshadowed today by its significance as the first substantial book printed in California, and undoubtedly the most important book produced in California during the Mexican period, printed by California's first printer, Agustin V. Zamorano.  For this, the book is rewarded with a prime position in the Zamorano 80, a list of the eighty most important and influential books on California and its history compiled by members of the Los Angeles-based bibliophilic organization, the Zamorano Club, with the list published in 1945. Of the estimated 19 copies of the book extant, only five are believed to be in private hands.

The price achieved at PBA Galleries shattered the previous auction record of $40,250, set by the Plath-Robbins copy sold at PBA in 1996, with two copies selling in 1994 and 2003 for $34,500 each, both at auctions conducted by the late Dorothy Sloan. Indeed, the book also bested itself by a considerable margin – the Estelle Doheny copy, previously sold at Christie’s in 1988 for $15,400. The book also set another milestone by a wide mark – the highest price brought at auction for a book on the Zamorano 80 list., previously held by Lansford Hastings’ The Emigrants' Guide, to Oregon and California, 1845, at $194,500, was nearly doubled by the Figueroa.

Other highlights from the auction include a striking lithograph of Sacramento in 1857.  A Birds-Eye View of Sacramento, "The City of the Plain", by George H. Baker, 1857, considered the greatest of gold rush-era lithographs of the city, the central image surrounded by pictorial vignettes sold for …more

by John Huckans
Reflections on the 2020 Election (Part 2)

The post-war exportation of jobs began in the 1950s in places like Gloversville and Johnstown (Fulton County, NY) when glove factories discovered it was much cheaper to ship unfinished leather goods out of the country for completion.  The perfect storm of post-war strikes for higher wages accompanied by a shrinking market for leather gloves accelerated the change as manufacturers and their suppliers struggled, and often failed, to survive.  The surge in unemployment and economic decline that began in Fulton County was already well-established long before the term “rust belt” had even been thought of.  And to give readers an idea of the importance of this “canary in a coal mine” case, consider that while growing up in Gloversville some people we knew looked with condescension on their “poor cousins” who lived in the small city of Saratoga Springs a few miles to the east.

Years later as industries throughout the country began closing in response to cheaper goods being imported from Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and elsewhere,  factory workers were losing their livelihoods at an accelerated but manageable rate.  It really wasn't until the 1990s that the flood of imported products from China, often under international trade terms lacking in reciprocity, that the accelerated industrial decline turned into a rout. Far from being an old Russian-style, Marxist economy based on state ownership of the means of production (with all of its inefficiencies and uniformly low standard of living), China has more in common with the 1930s German national socialist partnership with private businesses operating under close governmental scrutiny and control.

A few of the companies that prospered (often using enforced or slave labor) under German national socialism included Hugo Boss (made snappy uniforms for the Brown Shirts, the SS and other government agencies), Volkswagen, BMW, Siemens, I.G. Farben (manufacturers of Zyklon-B), and others. Also, American companies operating in Germany that …more

Results of Hindman's May 12 Auction

On May 12, Hindman Auctions realized over $883,000 in 367 lots in its Fine Books and Manuscripts, including Americana sale. Active and competitive bidding led to the highest sold total for a Books and Manuscripts various owner sale in Hindman’s history and a robust 96 percent sell through rate. Outstanding bidder engagement was seen throughout the entire auction, but particularly with fine collections of Bibles and Currier and Ives prints. Since March, the Books & Manuscripts Department’s auctions have realized over $1.32 million.
The auction began with strong response to a selection of Bibles, which led to a 98 percent sell through rate for the session, highlighted by a copy of Robert Barker’s “He” Bible, the first edition of the King James Bible, published in 1611 (lot 7), which sold for $52,500 against a presale estimate of $8,000-12,000. A very fine tall copy of the Rheims New Testament (lot 4), the first edition of the Roman Catholic version of the New Testament in English, reached $17,500 thanks to competitive bidding.  A copy of Richard Jugge’s Bible, the third quarto edition of Tyndale’s version and the last of Tyndale's New Testament (lot 3) realized $23,750, nearly four times its presale estimate.
The American Prints session, highlighted by a fine selection of Currier and Ives prints from a private collection, saw competitive bidding across all channels and ultimately achieved a 100 percent sell through rate. Leading the session was Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (lot 298) which sold for $22,500 against a presale estimate of $7,000-10,000. A Currier and Ives’ print of Yosemite Valley (lot 311) achieved a top price of $21,250, more than five times its presale estimate. Another highlight from the session was …more

Hindman's Fine Art Sales Week

Hindman Auctions presented its spring Fine Art sales this week, realizing more than $7.4 million across three days of sales, beating presale estimates, and setting global auction records. A renowned selection and competitive international bidding along with strong engagement with works by artists such as Alphonse Mucha, Woman with Flowering Branches, 1920. Alphonse Mucha. (Czech, 1860–1939). Price Realized: $456,500Edward Willis Redfield, Jim Nutt, Bernard Frize, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella fueled high prices ensuring the success of the series of auctions. Property from the Collection of Noel and Kathryn Dickinson Wadsworth (Atlanta, Georgia), the Estate of Avis Hope Truska (Scottsdale, Arizona), the Miriam B. Swanson Trust (Chicago, Illinois), and the Collection of Ms. Mavis Staples (Chicago, Illinois), among others, contributed to the success.
The May 3 American and European Art auction fetched over $3.2 million in 136 lots, and featured a significant selection of Impressionist landscapes, and Modernist and Ashcan works. Leading the auction was Alphonse Mucha’s painting Woman with Flowering Branches (lot 136), which shattered its presale estimate of $60,000-80,000, ultimately achieving $456,500. Top performers also included Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita’s Les Deux Amies (lot 72), which realized $384,500 against a presale estimate of $150,000-$250,000. Strong engagement with Pennsylvania Impressionist works was demonstrated, including with Edward Willis Redfield’s The Peaceful Stream in Winter and Daniel Garber’s Near Solebury (lot 51 and 50), both of which realized $150,000, well above their presale estimates. George William Sotter’s Winter Night (lot 52) also saw competitive bidding and realized $118,500, more than double its presale estimate of $50,000-70,000.  
Other standouts included Jean Dufy’s Vue de Balcon (lot 74) from 1926, which soared past its estimate of $40,000-60,000 to realize $81,250. Orville Bulman’s In the Jungle (lot 9) and Lê Phổ’s Fleurs (lot 68) also beat expectations, realizing $75,000 and $65,625, respectively. A new record was set by Mary Nicholena’s Looking Toward the Sea (lot 57), which realized more than double its presale estimate, selling for $17,500.
The May 4 Post War and Contemporary Art auction, set new records and realized over $2 million. Leading the auction was …more

by John Huckans
Reflections on the 2020 Election

It will be a long time before a full and accurate account of the 2020 U.S. presidential election will be published. Passions remain high, wounds are fresh, friendships have been damaged and lost, and one person's facts are another person's unverified anecdotal evidence – both sides claiming ownership of the real truth. And in case you haven't noticed there are few, if any, reliable fact-checkers to check the fact checkers.

Election fraud is nearly as old as the Republic – the origins of Tammany Hall predate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution by about a year, and in all that time we've never looked back. In modern times the Daley Machine, long a fixture in Chicago politics since its founding in the 1930s by Anton Cermak, became world famous in 1960 when late on election night it delivered Illinois' electoral vote to John Kennedy, thus ensuring his election as the 35th president. The process was simplicity itself.  Chicago would traditionally hold its vote tally back until the downstate returns were in – then enough newly discovered votes would often be produced to ensure a Democrat victory. By some accounts the Nixon people were well aware of the fraud but in the interest of national tranquility, didn't challenge the results. On a smaller scale Frank Hague (Democrat) and “Nucky” Johnson (Republican) ran dueling election fraud operations in northern and southern New Jersey, according to the late American historian, Thomas Fleming.

Overshadowing everything in 2020 was the Trump factor.  Even before the 2016 election he had become a favorite target of hatred and derision mainly because of his unfiltered and bombastic approach to addressing the very real problems facing the nation, along with people he didn't like very  much.

As a one time Democrat turned populist with street smarts, Trump understood that the ruling elites of today have moved beyond Wall Street. Today they also occupy K Street, where money and political power have combined to …more

Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection

The Morgan Library & Museum proudly presents Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection, on view May 28 through September 12, 2021. The exhibition explores the elaborate stage design drawings produced by the Bibiena family and collected by the internationally acclaimed lighting designer With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings highlights the visual splendor of the Baroque stage. Many demonstrate the family’s signature invention: the scena per angolo, or “scene viewed at an angle.” Replacing the static symmetry of earlier theater designs, the scena per angolo used multiple vanishing points to imagine sets of unprecedented monumentality, with a complexity of space never previously seen on the stage. Jules Fisher. It marks the first exhibition dedicated to Bibiena drawings in the United States in more than thirty years. For nearly a century, members of three generations of the Bibiena family were the most highly sought theater designers in Europe. Their revolutionary stage designs were used for operas, festivals, and courtly performances across Europe: from their native Italy to cities as far afield as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, Saint Petersburg, and Lisbon. While some of these productions are recorded in engravings, the Bibiena style survives above all in the family’s extraordinary drawings, which demonstrate the range of their output—from energetic sketches to highly finished watercolors.

With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings highlights the visual splendor of the Baroque stage. Many demonstrate the family’s signature invention: the scena per angolo, or “scene viewed at an angle.” Replacing the static symmetry of earlier theater designs, the scena per angolo used multiple vanishing points to imagine sets of unprecedented monumentality, with a complexity of space never previously seen on the stage. The Bibiena family of artists traces its origins to Giovanni Maria Galli (1618–1665), who was born in the Tuscan town of Bibbiena but moved to Bologna, where he worked under the painter Francesco Albani. Following a common practice of the time, he came to be known in his adopted city by a toponymic surname, Galli da Bibiena (with “Bibbiena” shortened to “Bibiena”). His children and descendants, though born in Bologna and elsewhere, continued to use “Galli Bibiena,” or simply “Bibiena,” as the family name. …more

Biblio Paradiso (24/7/365)

The antiquarian book fair that never closes.  Any sponsoring friend of Book Source Magazine is eligible for free participation ("booth" or "stand") in our virtual book fair


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

Back of Beyond Books  (83 North Main St., Moab, UT). Rare Books, Americana, Books on the American West. Tel: (435) 259-5154; (800) 700-2859. (Rare Book Catalogue, vol. XXII, Summer 2020)

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

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)

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! 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)

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)


Results of Potter & Potter's March 13 Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale

Potter & Potter Auctions' March 13, 2021 Fine Books and Manuscripts auction fetched more than $510,000 with a 96% sell-through rate. This exciting, 600 lot sale event featured extraordinary selections of antiquarian to modern titles, including first editions and important letters.

Potter and Potter's early spring literature event was a success by every measure. After a long day of energized bidding, 107 lots realized between $750-1,999; 50 lots realized between $2,000-9,999; and 6 lots broke the five digit mark. Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Lot #275, a typed signed letter from Albert Einstein to  Mr. Sol Stein, estimated at $4,000-6,000 sold for $28,800. Dated March 10, 1954 and sent from Princeton, NJ, this one page note, written in English on embossed personal stationery, addressed the question, “What do you think about the nature of Communism and what are the best methods of combatting its influence?” 

Lot #529, a typed signed letter from novelist James Baldwin including an unpublished essay and literary critique, was estimated at $2,000-3,000 and brought $14,400. This letter, dated March 1956, was postmarked from Paris and included its original envelope. It addressed many facets of the cultural and socio-economic hardships and realties faced by African Americans in early postwar America.

19th century books also did extremely well at this early spring event. Lot #127, J.J. Audubon's three volume The Quadrupeds of North America from 1854 was estimated at $3,500-5,000 and sold for $10,800. Published by V.G. Audubon in New York in 1854, this early octavo edition of Audubon’s final work contained 150 hand colored lithographed plates from the 1845–48 folio edition of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of America, and five of the plates from the rare …more

WPA Artists at Swann

The Artists of the WPA were on exhibit at Swann Galleries’ Thursday, February 4 auction. The multi-departmental sale was headed by Harold Porcher, the house’s director of Modern and Post-War Art, and featured paintings, prints, photographs, posters and related ephemera by artists whose careers were sustained by the Works Progress Administration and other agencies of the New Deal.
The sale was led by a selection of 38 vintage silver prints spanning 1932-42 by John Vachon, a record for the grouping, that sold for $37,500. Vachon began his work for the Farm Security Administration as an assistant messenger. As his interest in photography grew, he began to make his own photographs and accompanied Arthur Rothstein on one of his assignments; in 1938 Vachon would have his first solo assignment for the FSA in Nebraska.  Other photography highlights included Dorothea Lange, with Hoe Culture, Alabama Tenant Farmer near Anniston, silver print, 1936 ($8,125), and Migrant Mother, silver print, 1936, printed circa 1970 ($7,000); Berenice Abbott with Manhattan Bridge (Looking Up), silver contact print, 1936 ($7,000); and Peter Sekaer with Old Fashioned Kitchen on Virginia Farm, silver print, 1936, which was acquired by an institution ($5,250).
Norman Lewis, who worked sporadically with several entities within the WPA, produced one of the highlights among the prints on offer, with his 1943 lithograph Comrades selling for $9,375.  Other lithographs that captured collector attention included Benton Spruance’s The 30’s-Windshield, 1939, which brought a record for the print at …more

by John C. Huckans
Race to the Bottom (or plumbing the depths of unethical conduct)
(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

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 dystopia 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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