Featured Rare Books

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  • "Who is the most important person I've ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling": First Edition, First Printing of J.K. Rowling's Rare First Book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; Signed by Her

    ROWLING, J.K.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    London: Bloomsbury, 1997.

    First edition, first printing with all the prerequisite first issue points called for (including “wand” listed twice on page 53). Octavo, original illustrated boards, without a dust jacket as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page,  “to Bryony – who is the most important person I’ve ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling.” The recipient, Bryony Evens worked as an office manager in a small publishing company in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1995 J.K. Rowling sent the first three chapters of Harry Potter to that publishing company and it would have gone unseen if it wasn’t for Bryony. Bryony read them and fell in love with the story, and encouraged her boss Christopher Little to ask Rowling for the full book. Rowling then sent a full copy to Bryony when it was published by Bloomsbury in 1997. A year later Bryony went to visit Rowling at a book signing event, and when Rowling recognized her she gave her a big hug and wrote a special inscription, or message, in the book she’d brought. In near fine condition with a touch of rubbing to the extremities. Only 500 copies of the first printing were published, with over half making their way to libraries. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association and effusive inscription to the person who first recognized the value of Harry Potter.

    Price: $300,000.00     Item Number: 115640

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  • “AMERICA’S FIRST GREAT SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION”: Rare First Complete Edition of Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America

    FRANKLIN, Benjamin.

    Experiments and Observations on Electricity made at Philadelphia in America… To which are added, Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects. The Whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one Volume, and Illustrated with Copper Plates.

    London: Printed for David Henry and sold by Francis Newbery, 1769.

    First complete edition of “the most important scientific book of 18th-century America” and “America’s first great scientific contribution” (PMM). Octavo, bound in contemporary half calf over marbled boards, morocco spine label. Advertisement & errata leaf inserted following preface. Illustrated with 7 copper-engraved plates, 2 of which are folding. In very good condition. First editions are rare, exceptionally so in a contemporary binding.

    Price: $40,000.00     Item Number: 116750

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  • Rare Five-page autograph letter signed and entirely in the hand of beat icon Allen Ginsberg regarding his favorite musical compositions from Bach to Bob Dylan

    GINSBERG, Allen.

    Allen Ginsberg Autograph Letter Signed.

    1971.

    Rare five-page autograph letter signed and entirely in the hand of beat icon Allen Ginsberg regarding his favorite musical compositions, from Bach to Bob Dylan. Five pages, the letter is is dated Feb, 10, 1971 and reads, “Dear Symphony School & Mr. Loratz & Students: My favorite musical compositions in ear/mind for several decades to present include, since you asked: A. Jannequin [sic] 0 des oiseaux (See Ezra Pound’s 1970 edition Cantos); Alphonse De Mudarra – David’s Lament ‘Triste Estaba El Rey David’; Bach – Unaccompanied poitras (Esp. #2) Mass in 5 minor & St. Matthew’s Passion; Beethoven – Grosse Fuge, Piano Sonata Op. III, Quartet op 116 (?) the one so strain’d, Missa Solemnis; Schubert – Op. posthumous piano sonatas & forget which number – A Major?; Brahms – Trio no. 1 – youthful tender lyric nostalgia; Prokofieff – Good old Alexander Nevsky (a favorite of poet Kerouac’s); Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, or Stockhausen’s Kontakt. B. Prajnaparamita Sutra [Highest perfect Wisdom] – as chanted by Eino-Japanese presently in USA by S.F. Soto Zen Temple – by Rothi Suzuki & Disciples – Send someone to learn from them and you can perform it as a musical presentation of chanting which will turn everyone on!; Hare Krishna Mantra – Any ISKON version… on George Harrison’s record “My sweet Lord, or as done by Swami Shaktuvedanta’s groups around USA & London. It would be fine for improvisational choral & lead also joyying it up ecstatically – either spontaneous or arranged, but rehearsed so everyone knows the words… C. Scott Joplin – Maple Leaf Rag (& others), Opera: Treemonisha (can get score & recorded version from scholars Sam & Ann Charters c/o Gotham Bookmart); Ma Rainey’s version of Easy C.C. Rider blues “See, See what you done” etc., and other (forget names) – “I’m gonna buy me a pistol, just as long as I am tall, Lord Lord Lord Kill my man and Hit the Cannonball…. Bessie Smiths Version of – Empty Bed Blues, At the Christmas Ball, Gimmie a pegfoot & a Bottle of Beer, Young Woman’s Blues especially; Leadbelly’s versions of Boll Weevil, Black Girl, Irene; Ray Charles version of “Feel all Right” I got a Woman; Billie Holidays Version of Strange Fruit, Fine & Mellow, I for a right to Sing the Blues, Easy Living; Thelonius Monk: Mysterioso, Round about Midnight; Charles “Bird” Parker — Ornithology; Lester Young’s Lester Leaps In. I put these, listed above, as examples of Classical American Music which, if singers & musicians have proper training, they can approximate, imitate, or improvise in the spirit of original, for mind’s historical pleasure, & for cultural revolution’s acknowledgement as “classic U.S. art. Opera: Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill, MAHOGONY, Greatest of XX Century operas, perform as much of it as possible. Pop addenda: Some Version of Rolling Stones’ Let’s Spend the Night Together; Beatles: I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Early Beatles), I heard the News today Oh Boy (Pepper), I am a Walrus (Difficult composition), Strawberry Fields; J. Lennon – Give Peace a Chance; Geo. Harrison (as before) – My Sweet Lord (Extended & improvised with varying mantras chorused in background); Bob Dylan – Masters of War & Hard Rain, Tambourine Man, Sad Eyed Lady of Lowland, Gates of Eden. I ask your students to check out, hear, my own recorded versions, tuned to music, of Blake’s Songs of Innocence… recorded last year 1970 – to see if they are singable by others than myself – especially Nursed Song and The Grey Monk – That is all I can think of, fast – Love Allen Ginsberg.” Ginsberg has added a drawing of a daisy at the tail of the final ‘g’ in ‘Ginsberg’. In near fine condition. Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope printed in the defense of John Sinclair, John W. Forrest and Lawrence, three members of the White Panther Party charged in September of 1968 with the bombing of a CIA office in Ann Arbor. Ginsberg testified in the pretrial hearings in Detroit one month prior to sending the present letter. A scarce and intimate glimpse into the great Beat poet’s influences and eclectic musical taste.

    Price: $7,500.00     Item Number: 117347

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  • "What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?—I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can": First Edition, First Issue of A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof; Signed by Tennessee Williams

    WILLIAMS, Tennessee.

    Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

    New York: New Directions, 1955.

    First edition, first issue of one of Williams’s best-known works and his personal favorite. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Tennessee Williams on the title page. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing to the extremities. Jacket design by Alvin Lustig. Rare and desirable signed.

    Price: $4,750.00     Item Number: 102375

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  • "Time moves slowly, but passes quickly": First Edition of The Color Purple; Signed by Alice Walker and Steven Spielberg

    WALKER, Alice [Steven Spielberg].

    The Color Purple.

    New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982.

    First edition of Walker’s third novel, in which she became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize. Octavo, original half cloth. Boldly signed by Alice Walker and director Steven Spielberg on the half-title page. Spielberg produced and directed the 1985 motion picture bearing the same name. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket design by Judith Kazdym Leeds.

    Price: $2,500.00     Item Number: 100542

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  • “THE STANDARD HISTORY OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE NEW WORLD”: 1777 FIRST EDITION OF ROBERTSON’S AMERICA, WITH FOUR FOLDING MAPS

    ROBERTSON, William.

    The History of America.

    London: Printed for W. Strahan, T. Cadell, J. Balfour, 1777.

    First edition of this important history of America, with four large engraved folding maps by Thomas Kitchin. Quarto, bound in full contemporary diced calf, gilt titles to the spine. In near fine condition, with the maps in fine condition. An exceptional example.

    Price: $1,500.00     Item Number: 99633

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