In the News

The Morgan Acquires Drawings by Major African-American Artists from the South

New York—The Morgan is excited to announce that it is expanding its collection—one of... read more

Illustrations from Treasured Children's Literature at Swann on December 6

New York - Swann Galleries continues their auction season with Illustration Art on Thursday,... read more

Minnesota Center for Book Arts Announces "New Editions" Book Art Event

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) invites the community to attend New Editions, a... read more

Manuscript of Gettysburg Address on Display at Library of Congress for 155th Anniversary

On Nov. 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The... read more

Potter & Potter's December 1 Vintage Travel Poster Event

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce its 750 lot Vintage... read more

The Holy Grail of Glenn Gould Manuscripts at Bonhams

New York - On December 5, Bonhams Books and Manuscripts sale will offer Glenn... read more

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Acquires Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Archive

New York — The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New... read more

Russian Literary First Editions Coming up at Christie’s

London--On 28 November, Christie’s will present the single owner auction Russian Literary First Editions... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Feature

Booksellers’ Best

Earlier this year, we invited hundreds of antiquarian and rare book dealers to submit their most noteworthy sales of books or manuscripts over the past twelve months. Fine Books staffers then sifted through those entries and culled the list down to twelve outstanding items. Thanks to all who participated!

Courtesy of Hordern House.

Australia’s First Book

It was the Sydney-based rare book dealer Hordern House that sold this rarity to a private collector: Francois Pelsaert’s Ongeluckige Voyagie, Van’t Schip Batavia… (1647), showing the first views of Australia in the first Australian book. Pelsaert’s account of the “unlucky voyage” and wreck of the Batavia off the western Australian coastline in 1629 and its gruesome aftermath is the first published account of any voyage of Australian discovery. A small quarto, the book contains six full-page plates comprising fifteen separately engraved images. According to the bookseller, this is one of only two copies of the first edition known to be held outside institutions. The price was $485,000 (AUD), or about $358,000 (US).

Darwin Association Copy

A first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection… (London: John Murray, 1859) is a high spot for many collectors and can be found at auction with regularity, but this copy is something special: inscribed by Leonard Darwin, Charles Darwin’s son, with related material bound in at the end, including a two-page letter signed by Darwin, and an unrecorded offprint of a paper on Darwin’s work. A private American collector purchased it for $120,000 from Salt Lake City’s Ken Sanders Rare Books. Bonus points for the slip bound in at the end by Sir Charles Langham, 13th Baronet of Tempo Manor, noting that Leonard Darwin had signed the book while visiting him, and that in 1946, the book was appraised at £20.

Book image Courtesy of Ken Sanders Rare Books.

(Almost) Unbroken Provenance

From Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford, England, comes this 547-year-old book, printed in Venice by the famous French printer and type designer Nicolas Jenson, no less. Additionally, this third edition of Quintilian’s Quintilianum eloquentiae fontem has, according to the bookseller, “an almost unbroken, and somewhat distinguished, provenance since publication, all English, including an archbishop of Canterbury and two Wardens of All Souls.” Sold at £50,000 ($65,600), it now resides in a UK library.

Courtesy of Blackwell’s

Daunting Dante

If size mattered, the submission sent by Zinos Books in St. Paul, Minnesota, would top this booksellers’ best-of list. The three-volume elephant folio set of Dante’s La Divina Commedia, printed in Milan between 1931-1941, that they sold late last year weighed about 250 pounds! Commissioned in commemoration of the 600th anniversary of Dante’s death, this monumental edition is illustrated by one hundred sublime colored lithographs based on Italian artist Amos Nattini’s original watercolor paintings. Bound in full calf, the set is “rarely found on the market,” said the bookseller Nicholas P. Zinos, thus the $12,500 price tag.

Courtesy of Zinos Books

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