June 2011 Archives

mw_liberty3.jpgJust in time for Independence Day, artist and co-founder of the Booklyn Artists Alliance Mark Wagner opens an exhibit tonight titled Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death. Wagner's collage art explores the intersection of art and politics, and he often uses dollar bills as art supplies (called "currency collage"). His monumental 17' x 6' collage, Liberty, (part of it seen above) is an altered Statue of Liberty composed of 81,895 pieces cut from 1,121 US dollar bills. For the current exhibition, Wagner actually built a custom viewing platform that allows for closer examination.  

According to the press release, "Wagner continues to insert his particular brand of word play and satire in everything he touches, proving that a seemingly limited material - the dollar bill - is for him limitless." Considering the economic climate--and with Wall Street just about three miles south--Wagner's ability to impact his viewers is magnified.

Thirty of Wagner's recent works in letterpress, wood and bronze sculpture, abstract painting, and mixed media collage round out the exhibit. Below are a few pieces on exhibit, a vivid and compelling group of works.

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Red Tape, 2011
 Currency collage and mixed-media on panel, 24 x 24 inches.

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*&?#!, 2011 Currency collage and mixed-media on panel, 12 x 16 inches.

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Cutting Ties, 2011
 Currency collage and mixed-media on panel, 30 x 18 inches.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death is at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in downtown Manhattan through August 12.

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) follows the footsteps of our founding fathers in a 180-mile journey along a four-state region, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, from Gettysburg to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Explore the changing landscapes from rolling mountain ranges to softly plowed fields, study the architecture from colonial homesteads to regal plantations and savor the local cuisine from country cooking to wineries and fineries. The book, The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, The Official Guide to Where America Happened from Gettysburg to Monticello, by David Edwin Lillard, journals the trail in regions and towns highlighting battlefields, scenic drives, outdoor excursions, lodging, distinctive shopping and historic tours.  

Novel Stamps

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There have been oodles of illustrious authors on postage stamps, from Mark Twain to Albert Camus. Take a lick, err, look at them, here.

Beginning tomorrow, the Designer Bookbinders, a UK-based group of artists devoted to spreading the word about hand-bookbinding, goes on tour. This is the group's first major tour in years, and it opens at the Sophie Schneideman Gallery in London. The exhibition will remain there until July 23, after which it will travel for an entire year--to The Hull History Centre (Aug. 5-Sept. 16), the Dean Clough Galleries in Halifax (Oct. 22-Jan. 15, 2012), Newcastle City Library (Jan. 20, 2012-March 23, 2012), the Bodleian Library (March 31, 2012-May 27, 2012) and finally to the John Rylands Library in Manchester from June 29, 2012-July 27, 2012).

According to the DB catalogue, "The venues represent some of the best contemporary exhibition spaces available today and we are delighted to be able to bring modern design bookbinding to a new audience, many of whom will be discovering the medium for the first time. The show aims to represent the current state of British bookbinding and includes bindings by some of the most respected practitioners working today. For over fifty years, their constant pushing of the boundaries of technique and craftsmanship has laid the foundations for what can all too easily be taken for granted today."

Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful bindings on display.

Oxford PM.pngStuart Brockman's vivid Oxford shows the view of the spires of Oxford from South Park in spring. The covering is full transparent vellum over watercolor painting, with black goatskin onlays, gold tooling, lettering, and edges. This binding has a dreamy fairytale quality to it.

Shepheards.pngLester Capon's The Shepheards Calendar is a stunningly rich and vibrant design, bound in full blue goatskin with multi-colored calf and goatskin onlays and tooled in blind and gold with gold lettering. Inside is a 1930 edition of Edmund Spenser's poem, with illustrations by John Nash.

NY Revisited.pngJenni Grey's New York Revisited caught my eye first because it is lovely, and second because the summer issue of FB&C contains an extensive Q&A with Gaylord Schanilec, the wood engraver whose work is bound here in Grey's limp suede. The book is further enclosed in a box made of padouk wood with brass fixtures and name plate.

Shaman.pngLori Sauer has several pieces in the exhibit, and her Shaman: Anthropomorphic Figures in North American Rock Art is book, art, and object combined. She bound this limited edition miniature in suede with a separate handmade folder containing a map, all of which is placed within a beaded suede bag.

The full catalogue is viewable here.

malcolmx.jpegHistorian Manning Marable's recently published biography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, Viking) is likely to be the definitive account of X's life for some time. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and justly so. The book is impeccably researched and extensively documented. The larger accomplishment, however, is that Marable keeps Malcolm's story, one already famous from X's 1965 autobiography, so fresh and readable while not sacrificing any authority. Much has been made of some of the revelations about both X's sexuality and murder, but these never overshadow the man himself, who despite the flaws and contradictions Marable addresses -- indeed in many ways because of them -- comes off as more deeply human and admirable.

But even setting these accomplishments aside, for bibliophiles (even those not particularly interested in the history of black America or the civil rights movement) Marable's book has much to recommend it. At its core, A Life of Reinvention is as much the story of the events of Malcolm's life as it is the story of the development of his ideas. In this regard the book does better than any previous biography in demonstrating an aspect of X too often under-appreciated: his willingness to question and reconsider his own assumptions and beliefs. Marable spends much of his time delving into the books and writers both who influenced and who wrote about the black leader. The book therefore is in many ways a narrative of X's travels through the black authors and thinkers of the first half of the 20th century. There is a sort of bibliographic mystery to X and Marable untangles it well. 

Given then Marable's accomplishment as a writer, the book's importance to African American studies, as well as its rich bibliographic landscape, it is especially disappointing that so little attention was apparently paid by the publisher to the physical book itself. The first edition I have just feels cheap. It is bound in plain black paper boards rather than a more appropriate cloth, and is printed on a thin, low-quality paper I strongly suspect is not archival (for more on this unsettling trend, see this excellent Millions post from last year). Even the jacket's design is rather drab and unimaginative. As frequently mentioned in press coverage, Marable's biography was more than two decades in the making and he died just days before its release. He deserved a final product better suited to its importance, commensurate with his efforts, and more worthy of his legacy.
Barbara Werner van Bentham interviews ILAB president Arnoud Gerits -- an excellent read, full of quotes like this, "Since the rare bookseller never closes his shop in his mind, these are also my business interests. When I read a new book for example about Leibniz or Spinoza, I am even more excited to sell the old books by the great philosophers during the business hours. You sell what you read. Once a bookseller, always a bookseller." ... 
In New Orleans this weekend at Neal Auction Company, Arader Galleries is auctioning several lots of nature prints, books, and maps for charitable causes. As Graham Arader posted earlier this month on his blog:

On anything that you buy in this sale I will give 20% of the hammer price to the charity of your choice. Over $2,000,000 has been raised in previous auctions and this sale hopefully will generate $750,000 in charitable contributions!
     This is a sale that includes a spectacular collection of the aquatints of birds by John James Audubon (lot 81 through 146 - all being sold without any reserves.) And then there is the masterpiece of the sale - a complete set of Audubon's Quadrupeds - all 150 of his Imperial Quadrupeds in mint condition in three volumes.
      Then there will be some single examples of his Imperial sized lithographs of Quadrupeds (lots 155 through 166 - again NO reserves). There also are fine examples of the complete works of John Goulds Hummingbirds (lot 167,) Birds of Great Britain (lot 173) and Birds of Europe (lot 174.)...
What else? Check out the full catalogue here.

I have a secret admirer. Recently I received a copy of the Folger Library's new exhibition catalogue, Foliomania: Stories Behind Shakespeare's Most Important Book, without a note or any accompanying information. It is an impressive volume -- and what is immediately striking is the fact that its format and layout mirrors the First Folio. The colophon confirms this and describes the type, the design, the paper, and the binding. This is one example of how thoughtful editor Owen Williams has been in creating this catalogue.

003281W5.jpgThe catalogue accompanies the Folger's new exhibit, Fame, Fortune, and Theft: The Shakespeare First Folio (open though Sept. 3 of this year). As Folger Shakespeare Librarian Stephen Enniss writes in the foreword, the exhibit takes up where the 1991 folio exhibit left off and reminds us, "what this iconic book has meant to readers over the years." Eighty-three First Folios are on exhibit (82 owned by the Folger, plus one private copy), "the most ever assembled in one place since their original dispersal from Jaggards' print shop."

Anthony James West, curator of the exhibit, provides a wonderful overview of the exhibit and the catalogue. He explains briefly what each essay covers -- one on the paper by Carter Hailey, one on bindings by Frank Mowery (with great images), one on type by Paul Werstine, one of the Droeshout Portrait of Shakespeare by Erin C. Blake and Kathleen Lynch. Steven Galbraith gives a brief history of the First Folio and the Folger Library -- one of the images that accompanies his essay shows the Folger's First Folio vault, practical and yet amazing to behold. West offers an essay on Constantine Huygens' copy of the FF, Steven Escar Smith covers the Shakespeare collections of William Evans Burton and Edwin Forrest, and Don Weingust looks at the FF as an actors' text. If I had to choose a favorite essay, though, it would be Georgianna Ziegler's essay on "Gentleman, Ladies, and Folios: The Lure of the Chase." It details the relationships between Folio collectors, particularly between Mr. and Mrs. Folger, the Halliwell-Phillipps family, and the Burdett-Coutts family. The catalogue ends with an excellent glossary of early printing and Shakespearean terms (e.g., collation, King's Men, vatman).

All together, this seems less like an exhibition catalogue than a 72-page, well-illustrated book of essays about the First Folio by the foremost experts in the field. The price is $24.95 at the Folger shop; I say take money out of thy purse for this one. 
erez-1.jpgBonhams New York has two exciting sales coming up tomorrow -- Fine Books & Manuscripts, and then a double sale containing The Golden Age of Illustration Art and Modern Illustration Art. There's no way to do them justice here, so I picked just one amazing item to highlight: Melville's travel desk. A mahogany lap desk, it has brass handles and a velvet lining, and it contains an agate snuff box, two small pen knives, a glass inkwell, a pair of tweezers, a glass seal ("EMM" for E M Marrett, a relation who owned the desk before Herman), and a erez.jpgmother-of-pearl pen. Under the lid are two small mounted sheets inscribed, "Our Box at the Post Office is 1162" and "Herman Melville / 104 East 26th St / New York." And yes, there are three secret drawers! How cool is that. The estimate is $20,000-$30,000, and you can even throw in a first edition of Moby Dick for another $15,000-$25,000.  

Photos courtesy of Bonhams.
Some big news from the NYPL late last week -- it purchased over three hundred boxes of material belonging to psychologist and author Timothy Leary, who advocated the use of  "psychedelic substances to promote psychological well-being, increased creativity, and spiritual renewal" for a trippy $900,000. The archive contains letters, manuscripts, photographs, video and audio tapes, posters and flyers, Harvard research notes, government documents, and more, dating from the 1920s to his death in 1997. Allen Ginsburg, Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey (and G. Gordon Liddy!) -- they're all here. Read more about the acquisition in the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Preview of the remaining June sales:

  • Christie's New York has Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts on 23 June, in 325 lots. A signed first edition of Joyce's Ulysses, from the collection of John W. Boylan is estimated at $350,000-450,000, while a collection of Franklin's Paris and Passy bagatelles could sell for $250,000-350,000. An early manuscript copy of Mateo Ricci's world map is estimated at $150,000-250,000. Lots of Bob Dylan manuscripts and many other interesting lots here.
  • Bonhams will sell some Pacific Voyages and Hawaiiana books on 26 June.
Catalogue Review: Matthew David Jones, catalogue #1

Just a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist reviewing a bookseller's very first catalogue, and I'm happy to report (for the sake of the industry) that I get to do the same thing this week. Matthew David Jones is a bookseller in the San Francisco area who specializes in Greek and Latin classics and scholarly editions. He came to bookselling after several years in numismatics, and--full disclosure--he has written a few articles for FB&C over the past year. He just published his first catalogue, a glossy black-and-white booklet with fifty-four items to offer.

Aldine.jpgThe 8vo edition of the complete works of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius published by Baskerville in 1772 in its original full vellum binding is a neat find ($595), as is the six-volume uniform set in full sprinkled calf of Plutarch's Lives, printed for Lackington, Allen & Co. in 1803 ($475), and an Estienne edition of Diogenes Laertius ($2,395). A 1572 printing (third) of Livy's Ab Urbe Condita, printed by Paulus Manutius, is in very good condition, even if rebound in maroon calf ($2,750). He also has a 1514 Aldine edition of Valerius Maximus in early vellum (seen here, $6,750). Who doesn't want an Aldine?

Philosophy, history, grammars; Aristotle, Hegel, Justinus. This is the specialty Jones has selected. But not all are Greco-Roman tomes, there is a selection of books on books from Basbanes and Dibdin and more than a handful of modern firsts that bear mentioning. A lot containing two Fran Lebowitz editions--Social Studies and Metropolitan Life--is interesting because the are, notes the catalogue, "a little smoky smelling" ($95). Since Lebowitz is "a notably staunch advocate of smoker's rights," it's interesting to muse on whether the smoky smell somehow enhances these books! Jones also has a signed edition of William Burroughs' Junkie from 1966 ($750) in the original green printed wrappers that shout "Olympia Press," and a signed first of Dave Eggers' Zeitoun ($50).

Check out the catalogue online or email matthew@hitliterature.com for a printed catalgoue.

On Saturday, Morphy Auctions of Denver, Pennsylvania, is holding a 900-lot antique advertising sale, featuring the collection of the Gotham Cigar Museum of Tampa, Florida.

"It's amazing how many different types of cigar-related items are sought after by collectors. This premier collection traces to the early days of the cigar industry in America and includes everything from cigar boxes to hand-painted cases to beautiful die-cuts and figural advertising pieces," said Dan Morphy, owner of Morphy Auctions.

Take a look at some of the eye-catching items up for grabs.

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A tramp art cigar box, c. 1900-1910, with a Green Bay Baseball Club label pasted inside. The estimate is $600-$3,000.
 
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A life-sized Indian Chief cigar store display model, c. late 1800s, made by W. Demuth & Co., 501 Broadway, New York City. In very good condition, with this stunning face. The estimate is $20,000-$30,000.

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Roar! A Royal Bengals Cigar advertising poster, c. 1890s. Framed, with some condition issues. The estimate is $200-$400.

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The Log Cabin cigar box, from the 1880s, with an African-Americana lithograph label inside. The estimate is $200-$400.

Photos courtesy of Morphy's.

MurderCentury.jpgOn sale today is Paul Collins' newest book, Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked The Tabloid Wars. How do you know Paul Collins? FB&C readers may recall that he wrote for the magazine once or twice, that he is NPR's "literary detective," and that he is the author of such bookish titles as Sixpence House, a memoir of life in Hay-on-Wye, and The Book of William, a sleuthing history of the first folio.

This new book is an account of a grisly New York murder at the tail end of the nineteenth century. A human torso is found floating in the East River, severed limbs in Harlem, and a mysterious bloody pool in Long Island -- and who's piecing it all together but the newspapermen employed by Joseph Pulitzer (for the World) and William Randolph Hearst (for the Journal). The vile details of this murder mystery created the perfect storm for tabloid journalists, who, in many cases, worked harder and better at locating evidence and suspects than the police. Of course, they also plotted against each other, fighting for higher circulation.

Though a different case, Collins' true crime tale is reminiscent of Patricia Cline Cohen's The Murder of Helen Jewett. His publisher also makes an apt comparison to Larson's Devil in the White City. Which is to say that this is a book that has been thoroughly researched and has solid history within, and yet it is far from a dry, scholarly tome. The rich cast of characters -- a married midwife murderess among them -- is better than one finds in fiction. Collins is a skillful writer, and his narrative zips the reader from beginning to end.

Murder of the Century will keep you up at night, borrowing time from tomorrow to read ten more pages. Look no further for a summer read that will entertain and educate in the way that only the best books can.
In addition to occasionally posting here for FB&C, I recently assumed the editorship of The Standard, the online newsletter of The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA). I am pleased to announce that the first issue in more than two years has recently been posted, along with a revamped design:

http://www.ioba.org/standard/

New issues will appear quarterly. Though primarily aimed at booksellers, likely to be much there of interest to other readers of FB&C as well. Hope you'll drop by. And those interested in being notified via email when new issues are published can sign up here. RSS is also available.
I've written previously for "Fine Books Notes" about the theft of one of Union College's Audubon volumes in 1971; having attended Union and knowing this particular set of Birds of America well, I take a great interest in not only their present well-being but also in the story of their theft and subsequent recovery. A just-released article [PDF] in the Union College Magazine, by the college's Director of Media and Public Relations Phil Wajda, sheds new light on the case, and calls into question the long-held view of just how the Birds came to be stolen and Texas book dealer John Jenkins' role in their recovery.

Wajda talked to the actual thief who broke into Union's library in 1971 and stole the Birds, damaging some of the plates as he cut them from their binding. Kenneth Paull, now retired and living in Pennsylvania, told Wajda that the theft was no spur-of-the-moment crime, but a carefully-laid scheme ... and that Jenkins himself was the intended buyer of the Audubons.

It's quite a tale, and certainly worth a read. Phil's done some really interesting detective work, and I'm going to be fascinated to know what more we learn about this case now that his story is out. I'm sure I'll have more to say on it soon, as well.
A loving look at designer Herbert Bayer's World Geographic Atlas (1953), the first in a series just posted by Nate Burgos, who writes on his Vimeo page, "This series is about the timeless character of books. Their message and what they look like are what is celebrated here. As our culture becomes digital in a lot of ways, it is all the more important (not to mention inviting) to revisit and learn from the early design challenges, creative solutions and general lessons that the 'old' print world keeps relevant."

Watch, and then stay tuned!


Rare Book Feast #1: Herbert Bayer's Book of Maps from Nate Burgos on Vimeo.

Book artist (and FB&C columnist) Richard Minsky announced today that his Third Exhibition of American Decorated Publishers' Bindings is being acquired by the Boston Athenaeum. The books will be available for study in the Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow Special Collections Room once they have been entered into the Athenaeum's system. He wrote today:

The three exhibitions in this series together have presented 1,100 cataloged designs, plus many variants, with 141 identified cover artists. All the original books will be available to researchers, with geographic diversity. The first exhibition is now available for study at the University of Alabama's W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library:
http://bindings.lib.ua.edu/gallery/minsky.html

The second exhibition is at the Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. It has not yet been integrated into IUCAT, and will be available when that is completed.

Institutional libraries often have hundreds of these books, still in circulating stacks. One use that librarians are making of the data file on the CD-ROM that comes with each catalog is to run a comparison with the library catalog for an automated search of these books in their collections. They then can be removed from circulation to preserve them, and can be the basis for an exhibition that will be of interest to Friends of the Library and the outreach community.

If you do not have the catalogs, there may be an institution near you that does: There is a fairly complete list at http://minsky.com/orderform-subscription1.htm#collections.

Hank Holland has lived with Cerebral Palsy all his life, but today he finds salvation inside a canvas living with his family in the twilight landscapes of Lockport, Louisiana. Following his mother's footsteps, Hank is a self-taught artist and believes his art is a testament in how to overcome obstacles and realize your dreams. Just three years ago on May 28, 2008, he picked up his first canvas, a few tubes of paint and a cheap set of brushes. Today he does shows across the south, his art hangs in homes and businesses across the country and beyond. In a recent interview he directed me to his Facebook page for his most recent work, and there I found these words on the day of his anniversary. "Wow 2800 paintings later and fans and friends from all over the world, I am so humbled. My work hangs in homes in all 50 states and 54 countries. THANKS Y'ALL for giving me a wonderful life."

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A quick post today, as I point you instead to reading Brewster Kahle's blog post, "Why Preserve Books? The New Physical Archive of the Internet Archive."

Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitized versions become more available. This is an important time to plan carefully for there is much at stake. ...
re-library.jpgThere may be some stalwart bibliophiles who cringe at the thought of altered books, but carefully practiced, it's an art that produces stunning book objects. In her new book, The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life, Lisa Occhipinti takes "orphaned books" and turns them into such household items as a chandelier, a lampshade, and a "narrative vase." The "story time clock" is one of my favorites, and the "lettered wreath" made up of sculpted paper rosettes would be wonderfully welcoming on any book lover's door.

The decoupage "biographical bracelet" would be a great project for girls, and the "kindle keeper" (complete with library pocket) perfect for the bibliophile who enjoys his e-reader as well as old books. The illuminated switch plate looks simple enough for anyone to attempt and would make a neat accent to bookish decor.

Occhipinti is responsible about discussing the types of books she uses--bookstore remainders and unwanted ex-library books--and gives a brief overview of collectible books and how to avoid using a valuable book for an art project in chapter one, "Books, Tools & Techniques." She acknowledges that "spotting rare and collectible books is an art form in and of itself, replete with loopholes and expert-only savvy," and she offers some basic instruction. I have one minor criticism here. She suggests that, when in doubt, you consult your local librarian. No offense to any local librarian, but that's a terrible idea; with very few exceptions, local public librarians have absolutely no training in rare books (and are far too busy with summer reading programs and reference queries). If you don't have a knowledgeable bookseller nearby, a few good searches on Abebooks or Biblio might be preferable.

Occhipinti's "repurposed" books are truly beautiful art objects, and whether or not you're crafty enough to give them a try yourself, her book is thoroughly enjoyable.

To read more about Occhipinti, take a look at this Q&A from the New York Times.
Nuremberg.jpgTwo of the most famous early printed books will be in the same saleroom this week. At Bonhams Printed Books and Manuscripts sale on Wednesday, a fine first edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle (seen above), printed by Anton Koberger in July of 1493, should be the star of the show. A breathtaking book and one of the first to combine text and illustration, it is a history of the world illustrated by more than 1800 woodcuts. About four hundred of the Latin editions are extant. The estimate is £25,000-30,000 ($40,000-$50,000).

The second big title is the first edition of the King James Bible, which happens to be celebrating its four-hundredth anniversary this year. This copy has some condition issues; still, as a masterpiece of the English language, printed by Robert Barker, it's quite a valuable book. The estimate is £6,000-8,000 ($9,800-13,000). 
I heard about this project over the weekend and thought ye lovers of type and letterpress would be interested. Lead Graffiti is a letterpress shop in Newark, Delaware, that has posted a project on Kickstarter--the web-based funding platform for creative projects. They're hoping to raise a total of $3,400 before July 3rd, and if they do, this is their plan:

We like spontaneous projects, the Tour de France, and excuses to put ink on paper.
Pitting our print race against their bike race, we intend to produce a minimum of 25 portfolios of 23 posters (about 15" x 22") via letterpress, one for each stage of the upcoming Tour de France (Saturday, July 2 through Sunday, July 24) plus its two rest days (they can rest, but we won't). ... 

Want to learn more? Watch this.

The epic book celebrates its 75th this month. Ellen F. Brown, longtime FB&C columnist and co-author of the recently published Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood, was interviewed on CBS News today about the anniversary as well as the manuscript she found during her research. Congratulations, Ellen!

 Watch it here:

To read our review of the book & an exclusive excerpt, turn back to our February issue.
Catalogue Review: Ten Pound Island Book Co., List 202

toc.jpgA timely catalogue review, as Ten Pound of Gloucester, Massachusetts, just released this "maritime list" last week, and of course, with the unofficial start to summer behind us, aren't we all thinking about 'maritime' things? Ten Pound gives us 124 to consider here, in range of prices and formats.

There are beautiful color plates in Clifford W. Ashley's The Yankee Whaler ($250). Published in a limited edition of 1,625 copies, the catalogue calls it "one of the key books on American whaling." Another classic first edition listed here is William M. Davis' Nimrod of the Sea; Or, The American Whaleman ($200).

When the catalogue hails an item as "gruesome and spectacular," you know you need to take a closer look. Mutiny and Murder by Charles Gibbs (a.k.a."Gibbs the Pirate") was published in Providence in 1831 ($750). In it, Gibbs confesses to killing nearly 400 people. A scarce title, this one is complete but lacks its blue wrappers.

The main topics at hand are whaling, scrimshaw, sailing, Navy, pirates, shipwrecks, and merchant ships -- with charming titles like Ocean Melodies ($75), Sea Diseases ($75), and Sea Yarns ($150). There is a selection of ephemera, including a replica of Drake's "plate of brass," mounted on fabric and backed with masonite ($25), and some fabulous manuscript items, such as the 450-page log of the H.M.S. Star ($1,250) and a large original plan in ink for Vanderbilt's yacht, Alva ($250).

The book cover that Ten Pound is using for its catalogue cover is #124 on the list -- believed to be a true first of Rosalind Amelia Young's Mutiny of the Bounty and Story of Pitcairn Island from 1894 (125).

Download the entire list here. Then, hit the beach!
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No matter how many e-books are created, and how many tablets are created and how many new web platforms are made, there will still be a place that printed books will always rule -
the rare book market.

From a story in the Bend Bulletin...

"The fact that actual books are going to become more scarce really helps us doesn't it?" says Kim Herzinger, a retired literature professor and owner of the 7-year-old Left Bank books in New York City. "Books are going to be seen more and more as pretty and special objects," Herzinger says. "No one is going to say, 'I want to put my iPad on the shelf so that people can see what nice books I have.'"

Digital books may sell at a discount, but dealers expect that physical first editions of established collectibles will continue to appreciate. Scarce classics like a first edition of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" already fetch thousands of dollars. A copy of the first folio edition of Shakespeare plays sold for more than $5 million in 2006.

"It is a completely different market," says Michael DiRuggiero, co-owner of the Manhattan Rare Book Co. in New York City. "The idea is that you want a piece of history. The first edition is the closest you get to the birth of a specific idea, cultural or scientific."


0061834408_l.gifReading this article in the Atlantic about Thomas C. Foster's new book, Twenty-Five Books That Shaped America, prompted me to think about "book collecting by list." The ones Foster picked for his book would certainly make a neat little collection, as would the shorter list created by Jay Parini in his Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America. The Private Library has a wonderful post on collecting by lists, e.g. Booker Prize winners. I recall that "the man who loved books too much," a.k.a. John Gilkey, used the Modern Library 100 as his guide. One could even go with the NYPL's Books of the Century list and create one heck of a collection of modern firsts. What other lists might collectors use? How about you?

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