On Collecting Books

A first edition of D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, with an illustrated dust jacket, is expected to bring in between $28,000 and $40,000 when it is auctioned off by Sotheby's London on October 28. Even without the dust jacket, a first edition of the novel is valuable, going for about $1,600 depending on condition, because, out of the original 2,527 copies printed in 1915, 1,195 copies were destroyed after the book was banned under the Obscene Publications Act. This left only 1,332 first editions in existence, of which very few are believed to still have their dust jackets intact. Two other D.H. Lawrence first editions will be sold alongside this rare copy of The Rainbow; a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover in a rare dust jacket and a limited edition English-issue copy of Women in Love, number 31 of 50 copies signed by Lawrence. These books are part of a private collection comprised of 149 rare books put up for sale by a mysterious 75-year-old man, an "English Bibliophile" who has been collecting for 45 years and now wants to disperse his library through several Sotheby's sales so that "other collectors, young and old" have "the opportunity to acquire such fine books". Also included in the sale is an extremely rare first edition of Peter Pan that is signed by J.M. Barrie and inscribed to Lady Diana Cooper, a close friend of his and well known society beauty. It is estimated to sell for almost $32,000, and the entire collection is thought to bring in nearly $5 million. Rare DH Lawren... [more]

The Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University has recently acquired a collection of 280 rare books and manuscripts concerning scientific discoveries. Included in the collection are a 1495 edition of the works of Aristotle; a 1613 first edition of Galileo's illustrated treatise on the discovery of sunspots; a 1687 first edition of Newton's The Principia; and the first print appearance of Darwin's Theory of Evolution in 1858. There is a small slideshow of selected images here. Johns Hopkins library obtains rare editions [more]

On October 28th, Ken Gloss will be giving a free lecture at the Hingham Public Library entitled, "Is There Value in Your Old and Used Books?". The link provides a profile of Ken as well as more information on the lecture. Ken Gloss coming to Hingham Public Library Brattle Book Shop [more]

The Frankfurt Book Fair commenced yesterday, and with a special focus this year on technology. A new digital initiative, called Frankfurt SPARKS, was launched at the fair, and aims to "provide an initial 'spark' for for future publishing projects" and bring "together providers of innovative technology and those working with creative content- thus breaking traditional industry boundaries," according to Director Juergen Boos. Set apart from all the technological presentations and conferences is the rare and antique book pavilion, in its own separate space for the first time this year. Described as "an oasis of calm, with not an iPad in sight", the rare books dealers may be physically detached from the digital pandemonium, but the subject of digitalization and the possibility of how it may impact their business is still on their minds. ProQuest is a company whose current project is to digitalize all early European books published between 1475 and 1700 and put them online. Come November, 4,000 texts from the Florence library, all dating before 1600, will be published online, including some books owned by Galileo. While acknowledging that they do most of their business online, rare booksellers seemed to balk at the idea that digitilization would truly impact their trade. "Look, the people who buy my books are not really interested in ebooks," said Moritz Backhaus, from the Antiquariat im Hufelandhaus book firm. He continued on to say that if one was interested in the text itself, ... [more]

As mentioned in a previous post, Heritage Auction Galleries' Rare Books Auction will take place on October 14th in Beverly Hills, and will offer a rare English copy of 'Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Stones'. There are a number of other noteworthy items, however. Some highlights include: *First edition of Jane Austen's first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in three volumes *First printing of three of four of Einstein's Annus Mirabilis papers *First collected edition of the "Federalist Papers", originally owned by Jonathan Dayton, a Revolutionary War officer and the youngest signer of the Constitution *First printing of the complete score of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony *First edition, first printing of A Christmas Carol from Dickens' own library *First edition, first issue of For Whom the Bell Tolls with an inscription from Hemingway to his friend Charles Sweeney *Edward S. Curtis' Portfolio 1 of The North American Indian For more information about this auction, click here. Heritage Highlights Heritage Auction Galleries [more]

As previously posted about, in early December Sotheby's will auction off a very valuable and very interesting collection of rare books, including a first edition of Audubon's The Birds of America, which is considered to be the "world's most expensive book". Prior to the auction, the collection will tour and be put on public display in Paris, New York and London. Included in the public viewing will be the letters written by Queen Elizabeth I to jailer Sir Ralph Sadler about the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots, Shakspeare's First Folio, and an illustrated copy of Plutarch's Lives of Romulus. The schedule for the public viewing tour: *October 7-11: Sotheby's Paris, Galerie Charpentier, 76 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré *October 30-November 5: Sotheby's New York, 1334 York Avenue at 72nd Street *December 3-5: Sotheby's London, 34-35 New Bond Street, W1A 2AA World's most expensive book on display [more]

Tomorrow, October 2nd, Adams Amsterdam will hold its rare books, print and art auction, which will feature live internet bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. Included in over the 800 rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, paintings, photographs and other art pieces being offered is the original 1964 manuscript for Ik Jan Cremer. The manuscript is part of a portfolio that includes original cover designs, collages and cover art, and Cremer's own strategy of a publicity campaign for the book. It is expected to bring in between $275,000-$340,000. For more information on the complete catalogue and bidding, visit LiveAuctioneers.com. Orig. manuscript for classic '60s novel at Adams Amsterdam, Oct. 2 [more]

After undergoing extensive renovations, the McKim Building at the Morgan Library and Museum is set to reopen to the public on October 30th. Originally, the building was the private study and library of Pierpont Morgan, and was designed in the style of the High Renaissance. The $4.5 million renovation is truly a gift to the public, as it has greatly enhanced the exhibition space, allowing for more of the broad and remarkable permanent collection to be displayed. The Library, also known as the East Room, is now equipped with a state of the art lighting system, a newly installed 19th century Persian rug that is reminiscent of the rug that originally lay in the room, and newly designed display cases. The inlaid bookshelves that house Morgan's rare book collection have been fitted with non-reflective Plexiglas, allowing visitors a pristine view of the books. There are more than one hundred works that are exhibited on rotation in the Library, and the additional display cases will greatly increase the works on regular view. These works include: "a letter from fifteen-year-old Queen Elizabeth I purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1900; the manuscript for Balzac's Eugenie Grandet (1833) with a torturous mass of revisions, corrections, and additions demonstrating the writer's complex creative process; illustrated notes by Alexander Calder regarding the installation of his "stabiles" from 1941; the Reims Gospel Book, the Morgan's finest Carolingian manuscript, written in gold at the Abbey o... [more]