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February 7 

PBA Galleries

February 8-10 

CA Book Fairs

February 21 

Heritage

February 21 

Swann Galleries

February 6 

Bonhams

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In the News

Littmann Collection of German Expressionism & Avant-Garde at Swann March 5

New York-Swann Galleries’ March 5 auction boasts property from the Ismar Littmann Family Collection,... read more

"Lacock Abbey: Birthplace of Photography on Paper" Opens March 2

New York - Photography on paper was born in 1839 in England at Lacock... read more

The Morgan Announces the Restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library

New York-The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the exterior restoration of J. Pierpont... read more

UK Exhibition Of Rare Antarctic Books for Shackleton's 145th Birthday

To celebrate the 145th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton's birth, Jonkers Rare Books are pleased... read more

Special Exhibition of William Mortensen's Photography at the NYC Book & Ephemera Fair

New York — His work was startling and new. It had the power to... read more

4,500 Years of Miniature Books at the Grolier Club

Thousands of years before books were contained within a hand-held technological tablet or phone,... read more

The NYC Book and Ephemera Fair Expands to a Second Day

The Fair that is known as the satellite event, during Manhattan’s celebrated Rare Book... read more

James Joyce-Signed Vintage Photograph Sold for $25,826 at Auction 

Boston—A James Joyce signed vintage photograph sold for $25,826 according to Boston-based RR Auction.... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Maps and Memoirs

Not Morocco Bound—Original Boards are Better!

Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language in its original boards.

Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Heritage of Dallas on February 11-12, $34,655

Unlike the one in the Bing Crosby & Bob Hope song, this Webster was not morocco bound. Even better, it was uncut in the original boards, and folded inside was a four-page working manuscript containing Webster’s notes on the origins of some 126 words.

Webster had begun work on his great dictionary in 1800, and though he produced A Compendious Dictionary in 1806 and an abridgment of it for schools in the following year, it was not until 1827 that this multi-lingual and meticulous lexicographer began to oversee the printing of the first edition of his great work. Containing 70,000 words, a substantial numerical advance on anything previously attempted, and setting new standards in etymological research and accuracy of definition, Webster was first printed in 1828 in a run of 2,500 copies.

Dr. Johnson, in his great 1755 Dictionary of the English Language, famously and self-deprecatingly defined a lexicographer as “a harmless drudge,’ but Webster was a tireless, professional drudge. Sir James Murray, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, proclaimed him a born lexicographer, and the editors of Printing and the Mind of Man said of Webster that he “succeeded in breaking the fetters imposed upon American English by Johnson to the ultimate benefit of the living language of both countries.”

The example in this Texas sale was in the original binding, and though the spines were mostly perished, and the printed-paper spine label replacements and boards worn and scuffed, it remained a fine and clean copy. Of course, the manuscript insertion was a real bonus. The price virtually doubled the previous best at auction.

Kit Carson Approaches the Final Frontier

Signed carte-de-visite of Kit Carson, circa 1860s.

Carte-de-visite of Kit Carson, Swann’s New York on February 11, $35,600

Sold as part of the Jerome Schochet collection of signed historical photographs, this carte-de-visite portrait of the famous trapper, trail guide, Indian agent, and soldier is undated, but given that it was produced in Matthew Brady’s New York studios, it probably dates to the late 1860s, when Carson made a trip to the East to seek medical advice and help. In 1867, ill health had forced him to resign from his post as commander of Fort Garland, Colorado, and he died at his home near Fort Lyon in the same state in February of the following year.

“Breathe Some More Smoke My Way!”

A first edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Heritage of Dallas on February 11-12, $23,900

When Elisabeth Dunn, a journalist from the British Daily Telegraph met J.K. Rowling in June 1997, for what was to be the author’s first-ever interview for a national newspaper, they met in Nicholson’s café in Edinburgh. Much of the book that quickly became a publishing phenomenon had been written there—the café being somewhat warmer than the then impoverished writer’s home.

At the time, Rowling had just quit smoking, as much for financial as health reasons, but Dunn admits that, at the time, she was addicted to Gauloises, those distinctively aromatic and pungent French cigarettes, and the smoke breathed her way during that interview had severely tested Rowling’s resolve. In an explanatory letter accompanying the book (addressed in 2003 to an R.M. Collins), Dunn recalls that J.K. Rowling continually leaned into the smoke to pick up the secondary nicotine.

The copy of the newly published book that Rowling gave to Dunn in the cafe is signed and inscribed, “Breathe some more smoke my way!” An example from the very small print run, it was in the publisher’s stiff pictorial wrappers, showing some slight spine and other creasing as well as a tiny area of blistering on the outer edge of the rear cover.

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