coming eventsComing Events

December 4th

Swann

December 4th

Sotheby’s

December 8th

PBA

December 16th

Stockholms Auktionsverk

December 17th

Profiles in History

January 3rd-4th

Book & Paper Row

Find More Events in the FB&C Calendar

In the News

The Rosemary Verey Collection Sells for $187,500 at Bloomsbury Auctions

London—The working library of one of the most distinguished and influential garden designers of... read more

Jerry Garcia Letter Written to Vogue Cover Model for Sale at RR Auction

BOSTON, MA—An extremely rare handwritten letter by Jerry Garcia will be offered during a... read more

Major Exhibition of Book Artist Werner Pfeiffer Planned by Toledo Museum of Art

TOLEDO, OHIO—Plain paper in the hands of an artist can become magical, and that’s... read more

The Folio Prize Announces 2015 Nominations

London, UK, December 14, 2014—THE FOLIO PRIZE, sponsored by The Folio Society, has revealed... read more

Benjamin Franklin Printing Blocks Identified

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—December 12, 2014—Three extremely rare 18th-century type-metal blocks on deposit with the Library... read more

Gerald W. Cloud Named Curator of Early Books & Manuscripts at the Ransom Center

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of... read more

Highlights of 2015 Edition of Master Drawings in New York

NEW YORK—The 2015 edition of MASTER DRAWINGS IN NEW YORK (January 24 - January... read more

Newly Discovered Works by Oscar Wilde to be Displayed in Exhibition at the Rosenbach

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Dec. 3, 2014—The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia is thrilled to... read more

Advertise with Us
2014 Bookseller Resource Guide

Chronicles of Narnia, Virginia, and Greece

Washington at Work and Play

The Journal of Major George Washington and Washington’s copy of The Beauties of Swift, each $104,500 at Sotheby’s New York on October 15.

The American edition of this book did not contain this Map of the Western parts of the Colony of Virginia, a folding engraved frontispiece map, partially handcolored. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

When this work was published in England in 1754, the young Washington was serving with—not fighting against—the British army, and his journal is an intelligence report relating to the early stages of the French and Indian War. It records his meetings with French forces on the Ohio and contacts with the Indian peoples west of the Alleghenies that he had made at the instructions of Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia.

His report had had been first published in Williamsburg earlier that same year, but this scarce English edition contains a map not found in the US version.

Washington’s signed personal copy of The Beauties of Swift. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

This was part of the ongoing dispersal of the James S. Copley library, and among other appealing Washington lots was a book from his own Mount Vernon library that matched the Journal for price.

Although he did own a copy of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, there were few other volumes of contemporary literature on Washington’s shelves, but here, signed on the title page by the great man, was a 1782 copy of The Beauties of Swift: or, the Favorite Offspring of Wit & Genius.

A contemporary estate appraisal had valued this little book at just fifty cents (and a companion volume on the Beauties of Sterne at seventy-five cents), but values have changed a little since then—not least since this book last came to auction in 1891.

Quick Returns on Las Casas

Complete Set of the Indian Tracts of Bartolomé de las Casas, Euros 120,0000 ($166,095) at Gonnelli/Casa d’Aste of Florence on October 8.

The title page of Las Casas’ Indian Tracts in red and black ink, with a four-part woodcut border that incorporates the arms of Spain. Courtesy of Gonnelli/Casa d’Aste.

Bishop of Chiapa and ‘Apostle of the Indians,’ the Dominican priest Las Casas campaigned throughout his life for better treatment of the indigenous American peoples by their Spanish conqueror, which inflicted appalling atrocities on those they had subdued. Beginning in the 1540s, he wrote a series of eight tracts on the theme—all of them printed for the first time in Seville in the years 1552-53.

Less that a year ago, in a December 2009, Bloomsbury New York sale of Bruce McKinney’s ‘De Orbo Novo’ collection on the early years of exploration in the New World, a very rare complete first edition set of these tracts that McKinney had bought for $42,500 from the Librairie Thomas-Scheler of Paris in 1995, came back to auction to sell for $134,200.

The usual rule is that a quick return to auction is not a good financial move, but less than a year later that same set, bound in seventeenth-century speckled calf, and once in the old Scottish collection of Andrew Fletcher, came back up for sale in Italy.

It proved to have been a very good short-term investment indeed, with the set increasing in value by more than $3000 each month!

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next