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Biblioctopus

Coelebs In Search of a Wife

Coelebs In Search of a Wife

More, Hannah 2 vols. 1st edition. Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, industrially rebacked with new (Spartan) spines and labels. No half-titles (apparently not called for). Errata for both vols. Vol. II title page expertly extended at lower blank margin and a few other lesser flaws. Hannah More was a literary giant, the most famous and successful woman author of her time, and the best-selling of the female blue stocking writers in the later period of that salon, comprised of both genders, and devoted to establishing the intellectual credentials of women. In 1876 she wrote their anthem (the poem Bas Bleu), and during her career as a literary figure, she transcended the others without ever becoming pedantic. She was a triumphant playwright and poet, and the primary fount of the cheap repository tract, those little 8 page tales of whimsy published with the focused aim of encouraging the poor to read, and surprisingly, she pulled off the miracle, selling 2 million copies of one of them (The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain), an unprecedented feat in the 1790s. She spent her loot setting up Sunday schools to fight illiteracy, then turned to the novel in 1808. Expectedly, her publishers imagined Coelebs would be overlooked since Hanna More was not known as a "novelist." But she had an eerie sense of the public pulse, and publishers notoriously surround themselves with smart people, the way a hole surrounds itself with a doughnut, then ignore those smart people, and make dumb decisions. So the book was issued in a small edition, that was quickly consumed, and read to rag, to be followed by a superfluity of reprints (beginning in 1809) and status as a huge bestseller. Those tears on her cheeks are from laughing.
Les Deux Diane [The Two Dianas]

Les Deux Diane [The Two Dianas]

Dumas, Alexandre 10 vols. 1st edition (?), maybe preceded by Cadot's Paris edition (maybe not), and parallel to the Brussels editions of Lebégue's and Muquardt. The timing is close and Munro only addresses his guess towards the first volume published, not the last. He lists Lebégue's edition before Méline's based on the former having 3 vols. (of the 10) dated 1846, versus Méline's, which has 2 vols. so dated. But digging a little deeper than the superficial, his chronology is reversible. The 3 Lebégue volumes dated 1846, have 354 total pages in 24mo. whereas the 2 Méline volsumes dated 1846 have 464 total pages in 16mo. so more of the novel's text is dated 1846 in Méline's edition compared to Lebégue's (the same relationship also applies to the edition of Muquardt). Further, Munro notes 2 states of Méline's imprint, but the books are without textual differences, and there is no priority between them. Half calf, uncut, very good condition, and with some of the (grubby) original wrappers preserved. I had the doubts of a purest (always dangerous) about whether to sell this title without some warning attached to the authorship. It is found in many of the major sets of Dumas' collected novels that include only his most popular books, and attempt to be concise about which titles they contain, but it is not entirely his work. It is set very early on the chronological line (1521-1574) of Dumas' most famous novels, and Dumas did wrangle the characters and devise the plotline, but he was so busy with 5 simultaneous serializations that he turned over more than the usual amount of the writing to another, in this case Paul Meurice. Nonetheless, the novel remains popular, and in print, despite it lacking the requisite full compliment of Dumas' style and energy.
True 1st Edition of Les Trois Mousquetaires ; [The Three Musketeers]

Les Trois Mousquetaires ; [The Three Musketeers]

Dumas, Alexandre 5 vols. in 2. 1st edition preceding all others, 1st issue (published by Lebègue in 18mo.). The real 1st edition, 1 of 4 known sets, listed first by Munro (Alexandre Dumas Pere. A Bibliography of Works Published in French), without dispute, and prior to anybody else's 1844 edition, including multiple editions listed by Munro from Meline, Hauman, and Muquardt, as well as Lebègue's reissue in 24mo., and Baudry's 1844 Paris edition (issued last of all the 1844 editions). Contemporary half morocco, marbled boards, a complete copy with all 5 half-titles, in very good condition. An amazing unearthing, rare by any criterion. Munro lists a set (not ours), and we know 2 others off a dedicated worldwide search, so that makes 4 recorded, and again, if anyone knows of another real set I'd like to hear about it, but let me continue. No copies of this Lebègue edition at auction in 50 years (the only Brussels editions of Les Trois Mousquetaires recorded as sold at auction were 2 copies, of Meline's Brussels and Leipzig imprint 13 years ago, and that issue is the 2nd Meline edition, the 6th overall, and the most common of the 7 Brussels editions in 1844. More surprisingly, OCLC located no (zero) sets of this Lebègue 1st edition in any National or University library, and only single volumes I, II, and V at Sommerpalais, Germany (OCLC does record libraries holding sets of the other Brussels editions). Collation: [1]-181, [1,blank]. [1]-172. [1]-171, [1 blank]. [1]-163. [1 blank]. [1]-223, [1 blank] pp. Let me repeat. This is, inarguably, the real 1st edition of Les Trois Mousquetaires, as recorded in the most comprehensive bibliography, and with only 4 known sets, that says something huge, so think about this. No other 19th century novel by anybody, with stature comparable to Les Trois Mousquetaires has a census that shows it to be anywhere near as rare. Tous pour un, un pour tous. The 1st appearance was a daily serialization in the newspaper Le Siècle (The Age) from March 14 to July 14, 1844, and the mosh pit frenzy of the Brussels publishers to get the progressive volumes of their editions out as quickly as possible, insures that each individual volume's exact date of publication, and the exact order of those individual volumes will remain an open question. However, Lebègue's edition holds supremacy as the first of all, because their edition had both its first volume and last volume issued before the others. It also holds supremacy as the rarest of all. And all the 1844 Brussels editions precede the 1844 Paris edition (it's more sure with this title than with many of the others) because after the serial was completed, and with the Brussels editions fully published and already being sold, Dumas casually opened Paris book publication rights for bidding while he unnecessarily revised the text (most who have read both texts agree that the original is better than the revised). The winner (in a feisty rivalry) was finally Baudry, and he paid a lot for the rights so he printed a larger than usual edition, but despite his edition not having any priority against the Brussels editions, and being more frequently seen than any of the other Paris editions of Dumas' foremost novels, it would still get hyped as more desirable by some Continental sellers than the Brussels editions that precede it, although in other, wider circles "real 1st edition" still carries all the weight. And yes, it's odd that Baudry's 1st Paris edition of Les Trois Mousquetaires is the most common of the Paris 1st editions of Dumas' major novels (11 copies of Baudry's Paris edition have sold at auction since 1978, 4 copies are for sale right now, and we have a 5th set in hand that's not cataloged yet), while Lebègue's true 1st edition of it is the rarest Brussels 1st edition of them all (no sales at auction and no other set for sale anywhere).
Hand Corrected Manuscript of One Lonely Night

Hand Corrected Manuscript of One Lonely Night

Spillane, Mickey Setting copy of an important novel, the actual hand corrected typescript, with hundreds of changes, corrections, deletions and additions, signed twice ("Mickey" and "M. S.") and dated "9-27-50" (the book was published in 1951). Complete in 251 pages (rectos only), with 7 pages of preliminaries, and 244 pages of novel numbered 1-3, 5-240, plus 5 inserted pages. Some corrections are in the hand of a proof reader, or type setter, but Spillane's deletions are substantial and his own changes and corrections are considerable (found on nearly every page), and all are in his own handwriting. Usual signs of production rites, but very good. Rare. Prominent in its clique. Full morocco case. itself scarce in a ne dustjacket, as are proofs, but what we're offering is both unique, and geometrically greater, the complete manuscript from which the book was actually typeset and printed, and these days noir manuscripts of such magnitude and vintage, are usually not within my (your) frustrated reach, at any price. Spillane wrote in a distinctively blunt narrative prose, with no attempt to make his reader giggle like an Asian princess. Beginning in 1947 he achieved early and immense popularity, wrote steadily for 25 years, took a 12 year break in 1972, then returned to fame with a new generation in 1984. One Lonely Night is a mystery, written at the summit of his energy and imagination. It features his impudent Mike Hammer (4th book in the Hammer series), in a furious spy thriller with more ins and outs than a ddler's elbow. The plot is charged by a surfeit of violence, love, hate, sex, deceit, sadistic crime, corrupt politics, moral ambiguity, and national peril, following a case that sets Hammer (as the angel of death) against an American cell of Communist agents (anticipating 007 and his license to kill by 3 years) in the earliest days of the cold war, when everyone assumed (based on every precedent) it would heat up lethally at any moment.
Dream of the Red Chamber

Dream of the Red Chamber

Tsao Hsueh-Chin, Kao Ngoh, [Translated by] Chi-Chen Wang 1st American edition (in English) of the all-time best selling Chinese novel. A laid-in clipping has offset at page 208 else very good in a price clipped dustjacket with chips, tears, and neat strengthening, but a good jacket, and yes it's flawed, but the old anvil laughs at many broken hammers, and it's the only one I've had (the cleanest shirt in the hamper) because this book has been hard to find in jacket since the ark docked. A novel written in, and set in, the 18th century (Qing dynasty) about conflicts undermining a sizable household, their rise and fall, contrasted alongside their loyalties to, and their plots against, one another, a microcosm that often mirrors the macrocosm of Qing Imperial politics, its ethics, customs, education, religion, economics, laws, culture, and intrigues, during the last period of China's feudal era. Our 1st American edition is preceded in English by a quirky 1892-1893 Hong Kong edition, but quirky or not, that's the real 1st edition in English and thus it's worth more money. The rule that "1st editions are always more valuable than reprints of them" has its exceptions, but the exceptions are so few, and the individual reasons for their exception vary, and vary so haphazardly, that all attempts to form guidelines turn into a long climb up Mt. Anthill, and habitually lead to treeing the wrong bobcat. And in the "so few exceptions to the rule department" here's my query: Is Kim Jong-un, the only Asian who tests badly?
Ten Thousand Dollar Bill

Ten Thousand Dollar Bill

U. S. Currency] An authentic $10,000 U. S. gold certificate (states "payable in gold"). Serial No. M147694 (plate A9). 1900 was the last series of American $10,000 gold certificates (replaced by Federal Reserve Notes in 1918). Obverse portrait of Andrew Jackson, highlights in gold, red seal, 4 full, balanced margins, reverse blank as issued (former owner's neat signature on back). 3 vertical folding creases else near fine (authenticated, slabbed and graded by PCGS as "very fine 20"). That's all nice enough, but here's what's meaningful. When the government recalled this denomination, each bill was punched with numerous holes and then perforated with a treasury stencil. Ours is unpunched and unstenciled and it's of redoubtable rarity in this natural state, but since $10,000 gold certificates are no longer legal tender, you can't take it to the (any) bank and demand your tower of gold coins. Small stamp ("to the order of") Federal Reserve Bank of NY, dated Aug. 3, 1917. Reference: Friedberg (1995), page 144, design No. 156, reference No. 1225, stating that there were 3 series of $10,000 gold certificates (all of them printed between 1882 and 1900) consisting of 12 total varieties, and here's a reality check. Finding one of the other 11 is harder than taking an eel out of a tub of water. Friedberg's census, and his analysis that flows from it, clearly states that of the 11 other varieties that were issued, there is one type that he calls "extremely rare" (so much so that he lists no value for it). 7 others are characterized as "unknown" and the other 3 are remarked upon as "all redeemed [with] none outstanding.".
Typed Manuscript Lyrics for "Lonesome Susie"

Typed Manuscript Lyrics for “Lonesome Susie”

The Band] Richard Manuel's typed, working manuscript of Lonesome Susie, with his 5 final handwritten changes, amending the lyrics from the song he typed to the song as recorded. The 9th track on The Band's 1968 first album, Music From Big Pink. The complete lyrics in 19 lines (159 words), on one side of a sheet of 8 1/2" X 11" paper. Some stains and edge wear, a few unrelated, typed words and a pencil scribble on the back, else very good. The only manuscript from Music From Big Pink that I have ever seen for sale, and this one is cooler than sending somebody else to pick up your laziest person award. Ex-Sotheby's NY, Dec. 10, 2016, lot 3 (purchased by private treaty). In 1966 and 1967, the 5 members of The Band played behind Bob Dylan in all his live concerts, and were his co-musicians on The Basement Tapes. Big Pink was the name given to personify the house shared by 3 of them in West Saugerties, New York. Dylan wrote 2 of the album's songs, painted the cover, and guided their debut with élan. The album became legendarily influential. Eric Clapton said Music From Big Pink's roots rock style convinced him to quit Cream, and Roger Waters said it affected Pink Floyd deeply, calling it, "the second most influential record in the history of rock, after Sgt. Pepper." All 5 musicians played on Lonesome Susie, Richard Manuel-piano (he also sang the lead vocal), Robbie Robertson-electric guitar, Rick Danko-bass guitar, Garth Hudson-organ and soprano saxophone, and Levon Helm-drums.