January 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

The Collective

Catalogue Review: The Collective, Seven Booksellers of Uncommon Ability and Perception to be Found in San Francisco and Pasadena

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 9.00.43 AM.pngFor this week's catalogue review, something a little different as we lead into the California book fair(s). The slim but beautifully designed list provides a sampling of offerings from seven ABAA booksellers: Book Hunter's Holiday, The Book Shop LLC, Lux Mentis Booksellers, Ken Sanders Rare Books, Anthology Rare Books, B&B Rare Books, and Tavistock Books. To give a fair representation of its contents, I've chosen one favorite (not at all easy) from each bookseller to highlight here.

Book Hunter's Holiday has a rare engraved miniature broadside of the Emancipation Proclamation from 1864 with an early occurrence of Lincoln's image ($5,000). According to the bookseller, Chris Lowenstein, this miniature is held only by the Library of Congress, and she found no record of any previous availability at auction.

From The Book Shop LLC, I was smitten by their excellent copy of On Sunset Highways: A Book of Motor Rambles in California by Thomas D. Murphy ($750). In its original blue cloth trade binding featuring Art Nouveau designs stamped in gilt, green, and orange -- not only a beauty of a publishers' binding from the period, but with the dust jacket to boot. 

Lux Mentis, Booksellers, will have Russell Maret's newest limited edition, Specimens of Diverse Characters, in which "sixteen complete alphabets are displayed; one of which, Iohann Titling, has been cut, fit , and case in foundry metal specially for the edition at the Dale Guild Type Foundry.

Having published an article about Lynd Ward in our current issue, I was excited to see an inscribed first edition of Mad Man's Drum: A Novel in Woodcuts ($450) in Ken Sanders' section of the catalogue. However, I couldn't pull my attention from another of his selections: a collection of 21 "mechanical brides" carte de visites by Edward Bateman ($300). Just so cool.

Anthology Rare Books has John Muir's copy of Richard Jefferies' Red Deer ($1,500). A second edition bound in purple cloth with 17 relief half-tone illustrations, all VG, but it is Muir's bold signature on the flyleaf that will draw visitors to their booth, particularly in San Francisco!

From B&B Rare Books, you could have fine editions of Austen, Scott, or Yeats. Me, I'm partial to the Wharton -- a first edition in its jacket, limited to 130 copies, of Twelve Poems from 1926 ($15,000). This one is a presentation copy to Wharton's friend and fellow writer, Edward Marsh.

Last but not least, Tavistock Books will have Dickens on hand to be sure. But I quite enjoyed looking at the 1904 framed studio photography of Clara Barton that they have ($3,750). It is signed and inscribed by the famous American nurse.       

What a wonderful idea to pool the talent (and the stock) of these booksellers for a collective catalogue. See for yourself: Download it here from Book Hunter's Holiday's website, and check them all out in person in at the SF fair & the CA fair in Pasadena next month.