June 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Matthew David Jones

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.