Rare Books

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Below are images of
some of the first editions
that have left our shelves
over the past year:













THE RARE BOOK ROOM
What is a rare book?

Many booksellers define a rare book as one they may have encountered only once or twice in their entire career. We have a few of those upstairs in Walden Pond Books' Rare Book Room, but the majority of books we collect there are better defined as "scarce", or "uncommon", or "unusual", or simply plain... "interesting".

Some are first editions of works by famous (and not yet famous) authors, and some are signed by those authors. Some are noteworthy for their age, or for their beautiful bindings, or for their unique illustrations. And some are just books that need care and protection. We value them all, and we hope you'll find a book or two in the Rare Book Room that you'll value enough to take home with you. Stop by and browse or call 510-832-4438 for an appointment.

Be sure to browse through our current offering of books on eBay. We take pride in our status as a Top Rated Plus Seller with 100% customer satisfaction! We add books weekly so check back often!

Here are a few of our favorites - recently sold or currently shelved in the Rare Book Room:

BABE RUTH'S OWN BOOK OF BASEBALL
by George Herman Ruth
G.P. Putnam's Sons, (Knickerbocker Press), New York/London, 1928
First Edition (so stated)
301 pp. ~ Dimensions: 5 & 1/2" x 8"

AN INDISPENSABLE BASEBALL MEMOIR - SCARCE IN THIS CONDITION
A handsome copy of the scarce stated first edition of Babe Ruth's autobiographical book of baseball strategy and tactics.

The gilt titles and crossed bats decoration on the front board are bright and unrubbed. The spine is slightly rippled and sunned yet its titles are clearly legible. The royal blue cloth covers are clean and bright with just a bit of rubbing to the corner tips. The binding is very firm and tight with no endpaper gutter cracks or splits. All is intact and complete with all 31 photographs present. The interior is fresh and crisp though with a slight crease to the bottom inner edge of some pages. There are no tears or dogears, no previous owner's name, no bookplate, no writing or marking whatsoever. The rear affixed endpaper bears a tiny label from the original bookseller (J.W. Robinson Co. of Los Angeles) with the original price ($2.50) still attached.
CONDITION: VERY GOOD
PRICE: US$ 950.00


SOLD!


THE GREAT TAOS BANK ROBBERY
AND OTHER INDIAN COUNTRY AFFAIRS

by Tony Hillerman
Flat-signed by the author on the half-title page
University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1973
First State, First Printing, First Edition (so stated)
147 pp. ~ Dimensions: 5 & 1/8" x 8 & 3/8"

A VERY RARE flat-signed first state of the first printing of the first edition
A true first printing with the very scarce first state dust jacket bearing the single drawing of Shiprock (rather than two photos) on the rear panel

In this extraordinary collection, Tony Hillerman presents the Southwest as only he can, choosing remarkable true tales from his personal archives of New Mexico lore. From the amusing title story of the holdup that didn't happen, to the riveting account of scientists tracking the Black Death through the arroyos, to the ironic account of how a black cowboy's common-sense intelligence destroyed the dogma of the Smithsonian Institution, master storyteller Tony Hillerman reveals the present and timeless past of one of America's most beautiful and haunting regions. VOLUME CONDITION: NEAR-FINE
DUST JACKET CONDITION: VERY GOOD
PRICE: US$ 200.00


SOLD!


TWO IN VAGABONDIA ~ An Interlude
by Mary Lyle McClure and Mary Louise Sims
Inscribed and signed by Mary Lyle McClure on the front free endpaper
Illustrated with full-page photographic plates
Meador Publishing Co., Boston, 1932
FIRST PRINTING, FIRST EDITION
198 pp. ~ Dimensions: 5 & 3/4" x 8 & 1/8"

A scarce and sought-after travelogue/memoir - rarely found in this excellent condition, signed by Mary Lyle McClure, and with an unclipped dust jacket.
The remarkable experiences of two American girls travelling through Germany in the first decade of the 20th century. Even more remarkable a century later is the experience of reading of a world now forever gone - of characters, institutions, buildings, and beliefs which the ravages of two World Wars would destroy. The charm and innocence of this book (and of its authors) has only been enhanced - heartbreakingly so - by history.
VOLUME CONDITION: NEAR-FINE
DUST JACKET CONDITION: VERY GOOD
PRICE: US$ 350.00


VATHEK
by William Beckford
Illustrated by Mahlon Blaine
The John Day Company, New York, 1928
First printing, First Edition thus
229 pp. ~ Dimensions: 6 & 1/4" x 9 & 1/2"

VATHEK - A gothic feast of decadent luxury, grotesque evil, and arcane wisdom
  • Written in 1782 by the legendary hedonist William Beckford, Vathek was the first Oriental-Gothic horror novel in English literature. It tells the story of Vathek, the debauched and pleasure-seeking ninth Caliph of the Abassides. Vathek is a classic tale of greed and lust for power containing magic, trickery, and betrayal all culminating in an age-old showdown between good and evil.
  • William Beckford (1760-1844), the "Fool of Fonthill," was the son of a Lord Mayor of London, fluent in seven languages and schooled in philosophy and law. He is perhaps best remembered as the builder of the Gothic monstrosity Fonthill Abbey and also for his involvement in a number of sexual scandals around Europe.


  • MAHLON BLAINE - The enigmatic fantasy artist who purposefully veiled his life in mystery
  • Like Aubrey Beardsley, to whom he is sometimes compared, Mahlon Blaine gravitated to the edges of "respectable" literature. Blaine illustrated over eighty major books, winning the Grolier award for his artwork in Beckford's Vathek.

  • CONDITION: NEAR-FINE
    PRICE: US$ 50.00


    SOLD!


    LOLA BLANCA Y AZULEJO DE PUEBLA
    Texto, fotografias y dibujos de Enrique A. Cervantes
    (Text, photographs, and drawings by Enrique A. Cervantes)
    IN TWO VOLUMES:
  • Tomo Primero (Volume I): Pre-colonial to 16th century history, overview of techniques, makers' marks, ceramic composition, etc.
  • Tomo Segundo (Volume II): 17th to 20th century history, architecture, design, techniques, etc.

  • Privately printed in Spanish in a limited and numbered edition
    Mexico, 1939 ~ First edition, First printing
    Dos mil ejemplares numerados - 629 (2000 numbered copies - this copy is 629)
    Vol. I: 303 pp. + index and prelim. / Volume II: 332 pp. + index
    Dimensions of each volume: 8 & 5/8" x 11 & 1/4"

    Enrique A. Cervantes' work is the most comprehensive and detailed study of over four centuries of Mexican earthenware and ceramics ever written.
  • Almost never found outside libraries and private collections, these volumes in the Walden Pond Rare Book Room are perhaps the last available copies in pristine condition and in their original glassine jackets as first issued.
  • Hundreds of drawings and photographs of tile design, architectural exteriors and interiors, etc. Scores of full-page tipped-in plates - most in bright color - of statuary, ceramic vases, pitchers, plates and tiles.
  • The ceramic ware examined by Cervantes is known in Mexico today as "talavera poblana", named after the colonial ceramic center of Puebla de los Angeles (commonly known as Puebla).

  • CONDITION: FINE
    PRICE: US$ 400.00


    SOLD!

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