In the News

Four Days of Unmissable Events - Rare Books London 2019

The second weekend of June 2019 promises to be unmissable for book lovers... read more

America's Rarest Cartoon Cheering the Boston Tea Party Surfaces at Heritage Auctions

Dallas, TX - America’s rarest, rabble-rousing poke-in-the-eye to British Parliament - a seldom-seen political... read more

Assistance Requested: Carnegie Library Theft

In an effort to aid in the recovery of materials missing as a result... read more

Groundbreaking Swedish Underground Exhibition at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, Sept. 8-9

It’s the largest known collection of artwork and photography produced by the leading Swedish... read more

Early Details on the 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

Christie's Presents the Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Collection of Photographic Masterworks

New York - Christie's announces the sale of An American Journey: The Diann G... read more

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Announces 2018 Finalists

Dayton, Ohio - Recognizing the power of literature to promote peace and reconciliation, the... read more

Poster Auctions International, Inc. Unveils New Poster Price Guide

New York - Poster Auctions International, Inc., has unveiled its all-new Poster Price Guide,... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Collectors and Their Collections

The Jewel of the Palace

Lt.-Col. Charles Ramus Forrest, Picturesque Tour along the River Ganges and Jumna in India, $50,000 at Sotheby’s New York on October 18, and $11,250 at Christie’s New York on June 23.

The front cover of the Cosway binding of Picturesque Tour along the River Ganges and Jumna in India, in which a dozen small miniatures surround the principal architectural view. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The twenty-four hand-colored aquatints after Forrest that illustrate this Ackermann publication of 1824 are regarded by some as the finest Indian views by an amateur artist. The exquisite palace that the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan built at Agra in memory of the beloved wife he called Mumtaz Mahal, the Jewel of the Palace, is also principal of three oval miniatures on the lower cover of the luxuriously bound copy of Forrest’s work that Sotheby’s sold as part of the Safra collection of Cosway bindings (noted previously).

Keeping Score

Athletic vs. Atlantic, the first printed baseball scorecard, $36,000 at Swann Galleries of New York on September 15.

An early printed baseball scorecard at Swann’s brought in a surprising $36,000. Courtesy of Swann Galleries.

Partially completed in pencil, this card dates from the days before organized leagues and overt professionalism, though top-level players such as those involved in this ‘Great Game for the Championship of the United States’ were already sharing gate receipts.

Some thirty thousand sports fans came to see this 1866 game between the Athletlic Club of Philadelphia and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Club, in which the Athletics scored two runs in the top of the first inning before the surging crowd—far too many to be accommodated at the rather primitive venue—caused the game to be cancelled in the bottom half of the inning, as reflected on this card.

The card was one of the successes of the first of three sales planned for the dispersal of ‘How History Unfolds on Paper,’ a vast collection of books, manuscripts, autographs, photographs, broadsides, and ephemera that Eric C. Caren has spent years building and revising—and one in which he set himself the surely impossible aim of acquiring a representative document from every important even in modern history.

Franklin on Inoculation

Benjamin Franklin & William Heberden, Some Account of the Success of Inoculation for the Small-Pox in England and America, $15,600 at Swann Galleries of New York on October 17.

The title page of Benjamin Franklin’s book about small pox inoculation. Courtesy of Swann Galleries.

Franklin had once actively opposed inoculation, but the tragic death of his son in 1736 helped change his mind, and he went on to become one of its strongest advocates. Published in 1759, this statistical account of smallpox inoculation in Boston during a 1753-54 epidemic, showing the beneficial results, was written in collaboration with Heberden, who added the “Plain Instructions by which any Person may be enabled the Operation, and conduct the Patient through the Distemper.”

A sometime deaccessioned duplicate from the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, it bore their embossed stamp and bookplate.

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Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.