Exquisite English Rebus Bible at Auction

By Rebecca Rego Barry

Amongst a collection of antique rifles, carved pipes, and Civil War imprints for sale tomorrow at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati is this beautiful late eighteenth-century English rebus Bible. Titled The Hieroglyphick Bible, III Edition by its anonymous creator, the 8 x 12.75” copybook contains selected verses from the King James Bible, illustrated in rebus form, with small watercolors throughout. The auction house believes the illustrator to have been an English seaman–albeit one acquainted with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

The book comes from the collection of E. Norman Flayderman, a collector and antique arms dealer who founded the militaria outfit, N. Flayderman & Co. According to Cowan’s, “Flayderman apparently acquired this while researching his book, Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders: Whales and Whalemen (New Milford, CT, 1972).” Files found with the rebus Bible indicate that it originally hailed from a New Bedford, Massachusetts, family.

This illustrated Bible is, as Cowan’s intimates in its catalogue, sea journal meets Nuremberg Chronicle. It is estimated to reach $15,000-25,000 at auction.

Images via Cowan’s Auctions

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Amber is the current marketing coordinator at Biblio. A lifelong love of the written word brought her to Biblio and she happily spends her days talking about books and delving into the wide world of antiquarian books.

You can also find her in the garden or writing about brewing and plant adventures at Pixie’s Pocket.


Sylvester Stallone, Book Collector

It might be hard to square Rambo with rare books, but then again, people can surprise you. It turns out that actor and director Sylvester Stallone, best known for his beefy roles in Rocky and Rambo, amassed a private library of roughly 1,000 volumes, which will be offered in 40+ lots at Heritage Auctions in New York on March 8-9. (more…)

Amber is the current marketing coordinator at Biblio. A lifelong love of the written word brought her to Biblio and she happily spends her days talking about books and delving into the wide world of antiquarian books.

You can also find her in the garden or writing about brewing and plant adventures at Pixie’s Pocket.


Inauguration Day, 1861

By Barbara Basbanes Richter No matter how you feel about today’s inauguration, take heart and consider the first swearing-in ceremony of America’s sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. On March 4, 1861, the country was a scant six weeks from entering the Civil War, seven states had already seceded from the Union, and rumors of plots to assassinate Lincoln were already swirling in the air. In addition to taking the helm of an ideologically divided country, Lincoln was the first president to … Continued


Archive of Dickens & Tennyson Ephemera at Auction

by Rebecca Rego Barry A small but interesting archive of material relating to Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens has turned up at London-based Chiswick Auctions, consigned by a distant relation of the Ellis family. The product of that family’s long-term association with the two authors, the collection contains correspondence, envelopes, clipped autographs, stereoscopic photographs, a rare program pamphlet (1868) produced for a series of Dickens’ “Farewell Readings,” and a pencil drawing of 48 Doughty Street by a member of … Continued


Personal Archive of P. G. Wodehouse Now Available at The British Library

By Nate Pedersen Sir Edward Cazalet, the step-grandson of prolific British author P. G. Wodehouse, has loaned Wodehouse’s personal archive to the British Library. For the first time ever, the Wodehouse archive is now available for public viewing. Cazalet actively collected the Wodehouse material ever since PGW died in 1975. The archive spans over a century of material, from 1900 until 2005, and includes manuscript drafts and notebooks related to Wodehouse’s fiction and nonfiction. Also included are material related to … Continued


Incredible Austen Artifact at Auction

By Rebecca Rego Barry As literary artifacts go, this one evokes childlike delight: an ivory cup-and-ball toy that once belonged to Jane Austen is headed to auction at Sotheby’s London on December 13, where bids are expected in the £20,000-30,000 ($25,000-37,000) range.   The game, also known as bilbocatch, was a popular pastime for the Austen family. As Jane herself wrote to her sister in October of 1808: “We do not want for amusement: bilbocatch, at which George is indefatigable; … Continued


La Belle Époque of Toulouse-Lautrec

By Barbara Basbanes Richter The mantra for major exhibitions of 2016 seems to be, “go big or go home:” there’s Boston’s Beyond Words multi-venue extravaganza, the Getty’s impressive Alchemy of Color installation, and in 2017, look to the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., which will showcase nearly one-hundred drawings, posters, paintings, and prints spanning the career of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque is the first solo staging in the United States of Lautrec’s art … Continued


Sneaky John Wilkes Booth Letter at Auction

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Listed by William Reese Company – Americana

by Rebecca Rego Barry

Five months before John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, he penned a letter to J. D. Burch, the son of a Maryland innkeeper, regarding something he left behind with a stagecoach driver. Booth is cryptic about what exactly the item is, writing, “You know what I had to take from my carpet-bag. It’s not worth more than $15, but I will give him $20 rather than lose it, as it has saved my life two or three times.” (more…)

Amber is the current marketing coordinator at Biblio. A lifelong love of the written word brought her to Biblio and she happily spends her days talking about books and delving into the wide world of antiquarian books.

You can also find her in the garden or writing about brewing and plant adventures at Pixie’s Pocket.


Civil War POW’s Archive Comes to Light

By Rebecca Rego Barry

Civil War solider John W. Grosh
Part of a letter written by Civil War solider John W. Grosh

An archive of approximately ninety letters written by Civil War solider John W. Grosh and by members of his family, has surfaced at a San Francisco auction house.

Grosh, a Pennsylvanian, enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 and died two years later while a prisoner of war in Virginia. As described by PBA Galleries, which will auction the lot of letters on October 20, the archive covers Grosh’s camp life in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee “with much detail on barracks life, the drudgery and disease, the food, vermin, and other afflictions, the money used by the troops, excursions into towns, with occasional action, and a few false alarms.”

Here is Grosh writing to his mother in 1862: “I suppose you have heard all about the great battle of ‘Chaplin Heights,’ and I need not therefore attempt a description. Well, I was in it and came out safe again, but 24 of our company were not so fortunate. One was killed on the spot and the rest wounded… We fought about 3 hours, the bullets whizzing past our ears faster than we could count them. We suffered much for want of water there was not a drop to be had, the rebels had it all in their possession. Our artillery had not as much as to swab the cannon and one of our gunners had both his hands blown off while loading…” (more…)

Amber is the current marketing coordinator at Biblio. A lifelong love of the written word brought her to Biblio and she happily spends her days talking about books and delving into the wide world of antiquarian books.

You can also find her in the garden or writing about brewing and plant adventures at Pixie’s Pocket.


Found: Thomas Becket’s Personal Psalter

Portrait of St. Thomas Becket, reassembled from fragments by Samuel Caldwell Jr in 1919. Becket Window 1 (n. VII) in the north aisle of the Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral.
Portrait of St. Thomas Becket, reassembled from fragments by Samuel Caldwell Jr in 1919. Becket Window 1 (n. VII) in the north aisle of the Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral.

In case you missed it, the big news in the rare book world that surfaced in early October was the discovery of Thomas Becket’s personal book of psalms in the Cambridge Library. The Guardian provided initial coverage of the discovery, which was announced by Cambridge historian Dr. Christopher de Hamel. (more…)

Amber is the current marketing coordinator at Biblio. A lifelong love of the written word brought her to Biblio and she happily spends her days talking about books and delving into the wide world of antiquarian books.

You can also find her in the garden or writing about brewing and plant adventures at Pixie’s Pocket.