Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Interesting Early Western Survey-

We're offering an interesting 1857 US/Mexican border Survey for auction this week. The book has a few problems and is rough, but still has many interesting plates.

"United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, made under the Direction of the Secretary of the Interior" by William H. Emory, Major First Cavalry and United States Commissioner. Printed by A. O. P. Nicholson, Printer, Washington: 1857. Volume 1, Parts One & Two.

In 1848 Major William H. Emory, a highly skilled and talented American Army officer, topographer and geologist, was sent to make a survey of the new U.S.-Mexican boundary, as stipulated in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican American War. On his return, an elaborately illustrated report consisting of two volumes, each divided into two parts was prepared for distribution to Congress. A later edition was issued in three volumes.

Up for auction is Volume one of the two-volume set that was originally presented to Congress, one volume at a time.

You can see the auction and many more illustrations here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1854 Map Collection

We've got an interesting 19th century compilation of state maps and charts being offered for auction this week on Ebay. Low starting bid, no reserve!

"Maps and Views to Accompany Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Thirty-Third Congress.” Printed by A.O.P. Nicholson, Printer: 1854.

This is a bound copy of the various maps, charts and plans submitted to the second session of the 33rd Congress of the United States in 1854. It consists of 43 maps and folding plates of wildly varying sizes, from a map of California clocking in at 44"x21" to a plan of the "Triangular Reservation on Pennsylvania Avenue, between Twentieth and Twenty-first Streets West" at a mere 5"x9".

States include California, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Despite the ragged looking edges and some water stains, the maps are quite robust, with all folds intact.

You can see the complete description and more pictures by clicking here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring is finally here-

It hasn't seemed very Springlike, since we still have about 50% snow-cover here, but yesterday I was actually able to get outside and clean off a few beds, and the parsley, lemon balm, thyme and oregano are all coming up. And there are other signs...

The Red Sox are about to open the season. OK, they're opening in Japan, and we'll be listening at breakfast either Tuesday or Wednesday morning (I still haven't figured that out) but Opening Day means Spring!

The sun is now in my eyes in the late afternoon. Our house is oriented exactly North-South (front faces North) and one of my office widows faces due West. In the late afternoon during the Spring, Summer and Fall the sun shines in and reflects off my computer screen. In the Winter, when the Sun traces a much more southerly course, I don't get it in my window in the afternoon. So another sign of Spring here is that the Sun is moving back into the sky high enough to shine in my eye in the afternoon.

So- how long 'till we start harvesting home-grown tomatoes???

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Rare Civil War Poem at Auction-

A cup of cold water
For him wounded sore:
He asks if a brother
Needs it not more.
Look! On this dark skin
Grim slave-scars are found,
Where blood rushes red

From the freedman’s deep wound.

"Our Work" Author unknown, probably printed in New York, circa 1862-1864.

5.5”x8.5” pamphlet. Printed in red and blue. Light soil, and a few spots.

A poem paying tribute to the work of male and female nurses on the battlefield in the Civil war, with an intriguing reference to wounded African-American soldiers.

The poem was also printed in the book “Pen Pictures of the War, and Sketches of the Rebellion”, edited by William Ledyard and published in 1864.

The 1864 printing of Ledyard’s volume is itself somewhat uncommon in the marketplace, and our printing of the poem appears to be downright scarce, with OCLC locating only one copy, which is in the New York Historical Society.

You can see and bid on the poem here.

We have several other interesting 19th Century Americana items up for auction this week. See our Current Auctions for all four Americana items.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

R.I.P., Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke died yesterday. This post is not going to be a review of his life, you can look on Wikipedia or any newspaper today for that.

This is simply a tribute to my favorite science fiction writer, whose death saddens me.

When I was in Middle School and High School I was (surprise, surprise) a nerd. A geek. My friends and I loved science and science fiction. We read it and we watched it and we wrote it. In my own particular circle, the face-off was always between Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and I was an Arthur C. Clarke nerd.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Asimov too, but Sir Arthur had something more for me, and that was a sly sense of humor. You can see it in his mainstream works, such as the ever-popular 2001 (I'm sorry, Dave), and in his lesser-known works, such as his "Tales from the White Hart' series of stories. 'Tales from the White Hart' remains among my favorite science-fiction books ever. It takes place in a British pub, and recounts the tall tales of Harry Purvis, a scientist who can trade stories with the best of them. The stories are witty, intelligent, and funny.

The first Arthur C. Clarke story I ever read was called "The Nine Billion Names of God", in a paperback anthology of the same name. The coincidence here is that this story dealt with llamas in Tibet, who were programming a computer to compute the nine billion names of God, at which point His purpose would be served, and the Universe would cease to exist. Tibet is, of course, in the news and my thoughts today.

When I was in 7th grade we had things called "Mini Courses"- these were extra-curricular course taught twice a week by teachers on subjects like word games, fencing, bargello, weather forecasting, and so on. Somehow my friend Marc and I persuaded my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Lewis, to sponsor us as "teachers" of a Mini-Course called "The Science-Fiction Book Club". We didn't have this idea in time to get it into the booklet they passed around at the beginning of the term, so not many people knew it existed. When Mini-Course sign-up period came, we sat in Mrs. Lewis's room at our own table, ready to take our students, as other students came in for Mrs. Lewis's course on word games.

When the room was full Mrs. Lewis stood up and said "Everyone who is here for Word Games, sit where you are. Everyone who is here for the Science Fiction Book Club, go over and sit with Marc and Forrest".

And everyone looked at us, sitting at our table, all alone, and nobody moved.

But hey, it turned out ok. We had a classroom and a whole two extra periods a week all to ourselves, and we signed the "passed course" sheets for each other the first day, and just read books and goofed off for the entire term. It was cool.

And I read a lot of Arthur C. Clarke stories that period. Arthur C. Clarke had the rare gift to be a serious scientist and a witty and original storyteller, and his passing saddens me.

I raise a glass tonight to Sir Arthur. May the Nine Billion Names of God include yours.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Luck of the Irish-

A day late for St. Patrick's Day, but here's a little gem of a catalog that keeps the spirit goin' -

Davis, John D. The Genius of Irish Silver. A Texas Private Collection. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation: 1991. The catalog of a loan exhibition of 118 pieces of Irish silver from the last decades of the 17th century to 1800. A slim catalog, but beautifully photographed, and uncommon. Softcover. 8.5”x10”, 47 pages, b/w illustrations. Light wear. [31737] $125.00

You can easily order this catalog by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Auctions! Auctions!

We have just posted an online catalog of vintage auction catalogs devoted to Furniture & Americana- many classic sales are included, and also a number of interesting minor sales.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Amber Room-

We have a great new publisher's overstock just in-

"The Amber Room. The Fate of the World’s Greatest Lost Treasure"
by Catherine Scott Clark & Adrian Levy. Published by Walker & Company in 2004.

"The team that reported on the horrors of the Burmese jade trade in The Stone of Heaven here investigates what may be the greatest single art theft in modern history: the looting of the Amber Room from St. Petersburg by the Nazis in 1941. The glittering amber panels, enough to cover a palace room, were a gift of Frederick I of Prussia to Peter the Great in 1701. The stolen panels were displayed in Königsberg Castle in 1944, but disappeared after the city fell to the Red Army. Describing the history, theft, and headline-grabbing search for the Amber Room, the authors suggest it may long since have been destroyed."

Hardcover. 6”x9”, 278 pages, black & white illustrations, dust jacket. New. $12.00