First Edition

First Edition Books for Sale Online

Raptis Rare Books maintains an extensive collection of rare and first-edition books from a variety of authors and publishers. Navigate through our full selection of first-editions below to find a particular item you're looking for, ask a question, or order online today!

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  • “I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying": The Works of Oscar Wilde; One of 80 Sets Bound in Japanese Vellum

    WILDE, Oscar.

    The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.

    London: Methuen & Co, 1908.

    First collected edition, one of 80 sets on Japanese vellum, the rarest and most desirable of Wilde’s works. Octavo, 14 volumes, bound in original vellum, gilt titles and tooling to the spine and front panel with the design by Charles Ricketts, top edge gilt. “The text is taken in most instances from the last editions issued under the superintendence of the author. In some cases the volumes contain additional matter which had not previously been reprinted, while some of the volumes contain matter here published for the first time” (Mason). In near fine condition. Rare and desirable, especially in this condition.

    Price: $27,500.00     Item Number: 103150

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  • Rare French Military Artillery and Fortification Manual with text in manuscript and technical drawings throughout

    French Military Artillery and Fortification Manual.

    Metz: Ecole Royale de l'Artillerie et du Genie, 1818-19.

    Rare early 19th century French military manual created in manuscript for the Ecole Royale de ‘Artillerie et du Genie (School of Application of Artillery and Engineering of Metz) containing lessons and technical drawings in the mechanics of artillery and construction of temporary and permanent military fortifications. Quarto, ten volumes bound in three quarters morocco over marbled boards with gilt titles to the spine and front panels, text in manuscript with technical drawings throughout. In near fine condition, internally exceptionally clean. A rare and desirable piece of 19th century French military history.

    Price: $15,000.00     Item Number: 109852

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  • First edition of the second book on architecture published in America: Owen Biddle's The Young Carpenter's Assistant

    BIDDLE, Owen.

    The Young Carpenter’s Assistant; Or, A System Of Architecture, Adapted To The Style Of Building In The United States.

    Philadelphia: Benjamin Johnson, 1805.

    First edition of the second book on architecture published in America, second only to Asher Benjamin’s Country Builder’s Assistant’ published in 1797( Shaw & Shoemaker, 8018). Quarto, bound in full calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, gilt ruled to the front and rear panels, illustrated with 44 engraved plates, 2 folding. In very good condition. Scarce with only 2 copies having appeared at auction in the past 50 years.

    Price: $15,000.00     Item Number: 117672

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  • “It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present": First Edition In Parts of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield

    DICKENS, Charles.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield.

    London: Bradbury and Evans, May 1849-November 1850.

    First edition in parts of “the most perfect of all the Dickens novels” (Virginia Woolf). Original serial issue. Twenty parts in nineteen, octavo four to thirty-two pages of preliminary advertisements; text continuously paginated 1-624; eight leaves of preliminaries follow text in final part. Frontispiece, vignette title-page and thirty-eight additional inserted plates, the majority with tissue inserts as issued. Original blue-green illustrated paper wrappers. Several backstrips chipped at head and foot; some light soiling, wear at hinges; some parts skewed. In excellent condition, an unrestored example of Dickens’ classic work. Includes  the scarce insert “Lett’s diaries” advertisement at end of Part VIII, which unfolds to a 26 inches, with ten specimen diary leaves. According to Hatton & Cleaver, this is a “particularly scarce” insert. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 253-272.  Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise box. A very nice example.

    Price: $9,800.00     Item Number: 91369

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  • “It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present": First Edition In Parts of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield; from the library of Steve and Peggy Fossett

    DICKENS, Charles.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield.

    London: Bradbury and Evans, May 1849 - November 1850.

    First edition in the original monthly parts of “the most perfect of all the Dickens novels” (Virginia Woolf). Octavo, original blue-green illustrated paper wrappers, twenty parts in nineteen, frontispiece, vignette title-page and thirty-eight additional inserted plates. In near fine condition, an unrestored example of Dickens’ classic work which is virtually complete with all preliminary advertisements with the exception of the slips after plates parts 9, 13, 14, and 16; all front advertisements in part 11 and the “Household Words” advertisement in part 15. With all of the rear advertisements with the exception of “The Theory of Musical Composition”, “Illustrated Weekly Journal” and “Penny Maps” in part 15, and all advertisements in parts 2 and 8. Housed in two custom full morocco and chemise boxes. From the library of Peggy and Steve Fossett with their bookplate to the pastedown. Scarce and desirable in the original parts which were “much read and roughly handled,” with “fine, clean and unrepaired copies difficult to procure” even in 1932 (Hatton & Cleaver pp.253-272; Sadleir 686; Yale/Gimbel A121).

    Price: $9,800.00     Item Number: 96035

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  • “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all": Complete Works of Oscar Wilde; One of 52 Copies; Finely Bound In Full Morocco

    WILDE, Oscar.

    The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.

    London: Keller-Farmer Co, 1907.

    The Astral edition of Wilde’s works, one of 52 sets, this is number one. Octavo, 15 volumes. Bound in full morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, floriated corner devices in gilt, red and green, raised bands, moire silk endpapers, top edge gilt. With photogravures in two states from paintings, photographs, and drawings (4 of which are by Aubrey Beardsley). In near fine condition. An exceptional set.

    Price: $9,500.00     Item Number: 104968

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  • First Editions of each volume of Lewis' Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, The Panjab, & Kalat; from the library of Adventurer and Aviator Steve Fossett with his bookplate to each volume

    MASSON, Charles [James Lewis].

    Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, The Panjab, & Kalat, During a Residence in those Countries.

    London: Richard Bentley, 1842.

    First edition of this narrative of Lewis’ travels between 1826 and 1838 through Balochistan, Sind, the Hazara, Afghanistan and the Punjab. Octavo, four volumes. Bound in full morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, morocco spine labels, gilt ruled, marbled endpapers, illustrated with engravings, folding map. From the library of James Stephen “Steve” Fossett with his bookplate to the pastedown of each volume. American businessman and record-setting aviator Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in 2002 in his 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom. He completed the 2002 trip in 13 days, 8 hours, and 33 minutes and set records for both the Longest Distance Flown Solo in a Balloon and Fastest Balloon Flight Around the World. Fossett was also one of sailing’s most prolific distance record holders set the Absolute World Speed Record for airships with a Zeppelin NT in 2004. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career including aviation’s highest award, the Gold Medal of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which he was awarded in 2002. Fossett disappeared on September 3, 2007 while flying a light aircraft over the Great Basin Desert, between Nevada and California. Provenance: from the library of John Archibald Shaw Stewart with a gift inscription to him on the front free endpaper of volume one, “from his sincere friends William Thomas Markham and Charles Henry Mills on his leaving Eton, Xmas 1845.” An exceptional association with noted provenance.

    Price: $5,500.00     Item Number: 95145

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  • Guest Book With Drawings by Architect Addison Mizner

    MIZNER, Addison.

    Farmholme Guest Book: With Drawing by Addison Mizner.

    London: Doves Bindery, 1906.

    Quarto, bound in full green morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, all edges gilt. With original caricature and artwork by architect Addison Mizner. Entries dated between 1906 and 1929 and about two-thirds of the leaves remaining blank. Mizner’s contributions include to the guestbook include three self-caricature sketches and also a watercolor, each signed by Mizner. Besides Mizner’s contributions, there are two other watercolors, one a cameo of a bucolic classical ruin, another, a dog looking out onto a panoramic view of pines and the coast, undoubtedly a view from a Farmholme prospect, or nearby, before it was overrun with suburban development. And there are several other fun drawings, including ones of a race car and of a plane. Mizner is credited with pioneering the Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial stucco architectural style in Southern Florida, and also Southern California and Beverly Hills. As virtually integral as this style has become to these places and elsewhere, before Mizner designed the Everglades Country Club’s clubhouse in Palm Beach in 1918, the prevailing style there was Victorian Queen Anne and Colonial Revival shingle homes such as one would have found in Northeastern resorts. Admiration for the Everglades clubhouse made Mizner the go-to architect for millionaires who competed against one another through the 1920s for the most impressive mansion in Palm Beach, formerly primarily a hotel resort, and his style was emulated by other architects hired to build less august developments. Among his legacy is the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Mizner, though, was not your typical nose-to-the-grindstone architect but also a highly colorful figure, famed as a raconteur, a co-author of the satiric “The Cynic’s Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1903” and many sequels, and a bit of a scoundrel, who with his brother was implicated in some shady transactions relating to the Florida land boom of the 1920s, and this served as the basis for the Stephen Sondheim 2008 musical, “Road Show”. It is the social animal that Mizner was, someone who was able to exploit social connections, that should give this guest book a certain resonance to those fascinated by him and his career. Also, Mizner was a somewhat unconventionally trained architect. He didn’t go to a modern sort of architecture school, but apprenticed in an architectural office, and perhaps it was unorthodox training that later made him so much an original, and eccentric, architect, famous for glitches in his designs such as stairways that went nowhere. But he was regarded as a highly proficient draftsman and talented artist, abilities perhaps all too in short supply in the architectural profession, and here are examples of his quick dash art that provide some delightful corroboration of this reputation. Another guest at Farmholme was Ethel Watts Mumford (Grant), his co-author, who in one place contributed four lines of comic verse and a drawing of two monkeys. Other guests included Elisabeth Marbury, the prominent theatrical agent and lesbian lover of Elsie de Wolfe; Mary Livingston Hunt, of the Old Knickerbocker Livingstons; and many others who were undoubtedly secure in their Social Register bona fides — people with names such as de Forest, Alsop, Callander, Ogden, Hotchkiss. Whoever many of these people were, the same people came back again and again over the two decades, suggesting a close knit group of friends. While many of the entries are just autographs, sometimes accompanied by an anodyne sentiment, not a few are accompanied with a few lines of appreciative verse or snippets of musical notation. One guest, an Eduardo Bucco  left several entries in Italian verse. The painter of the watercolor cameo signed in reverse — one needs a mirror to make out the name, which looks something like Raymond Tumball. As august as Farmholme must have been, based on its guests, bits and pieces hinted at in the text of entries, the painted view, the exquisiteness of the guest book itself, we were not able to discover anything definitive about the estate.

    Price: $4,800.00     Item Number: 81005

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  • “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all": The Works of Oscar Wilde

    WILDE, Oscar.

    The Works of Oscar Wilde.

    London and Paris: Methuen Charles Carrington, 1907-22.

    The works of Oscar Wilde, bound in the original cloth, one of 1000 sets made on handmade paper. Octavo, 14 volumes, original cream cloth, decorated and lettered in gilt, top edges gilt. One of 1000 sets of this edition on handmade paper. In near fine condition.

    Price: $2,800.00     Item Number: 111362

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