Rare and Unusual Books

The VNSA Book Sale includes a special section for rare and unusual books.  The following is a sample of the books that were offered at the 2018 sale. (Note: these books are not currently available.)


Little Ann: A Book

By Jane and Ann Taylor, and Kate Greenaway (Illus) Published by Frederick Warne, London  (Early Issue)

Description:  A great collection of poems by the Taylors (best know for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and beautiful color illustrations by Kate Greenaway.

Set of Oz Books, 14 Volumes

By Frank L. Baum
Published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago (1956)

Description: Complete fourteen volume set of Oz books.  The set includes the following: “The Wizard of Oz”; “Ozma of Oz”; “The Lost Princess of Oz”; “Glinda of Oz”; “The Tin Woodman of Oz”; “Tik-Tok of Oz”; “The Magic of Oz”; “The Land of Oz”; “The Patchwork Girl of Oz”; “The Emerald City of Oz”; “Rinkitink of Oz”; “The Scarecrow of Oz”; “The Road to Oz”; “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.” Uniformly bound in white cloth and color pictorial covers. Illustrated by W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill.

Through the Looking Glass – And what Alice Found There

By Lewis Carroll
Published by Dodge Publishing Co., NY (1909)

Description:  The frontis is a chessboard that lists the moves in which Alice will win in eleven moves.  The introduction is a poem followed by Christmas-Greetings which is a poem from a fairy to a child. The illustrator (Bessie Pease Gutmann) was an American magazine, calendar and postcard illustrator and her Alice is charming and appealing.

Sanders' Pictorial Primer

 By Charles W. Sanders, A.M.
Published by American Book Company, NY (1958)

Description:  Contains an early baseball illustration.  Among the many illustrations in the book is one that depicts a boy batting a pitched ball.  Unlike most pre-Civil War baseball illustrations, the batter has assumed a likely looking stance.

New Wonderland

By Frank L. Baum

Published by R.H. Russell, NY (1900)

Description: This is the first children’s book written by the author of the Wizard of Oz series. Although Mother Goose in Prose was published first, this book was written earlier and delayed in publication. It has 15 two-color plates by Frank Verback. It is a first printing, binding B.


Atlas Shrugged

By Ayn Rand
Published by Random House, NY (1957)

Description: Stated First Printing.  It is the author’s fourth and last novel.  It is the one she considered to be her best.  It includes elements of science fiction, mystery and romance, and contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism.

From Snow to Snow

By Robert Frost
Published by Henry Holt & Company, NY (1936)

Description:   No indication of printing, believed to be the second printing.  Signed by Author. It contains a poem for each month of the year, selected by Frost from previously published work. Includes two of Frost’s best-loved poems, The Road Not Taken and Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening.

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemingway
Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY (1952)

Description:  First Edition.  Scribner “A” and seal on copyright page.  Brown printing on the flaps and author’s photo tinted olive.  The dust jacket is price clipped.  This is a beloved classic, Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature.

Preface to This Side of Paradise

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published by The Windhover Press, Iowa City and Bruccoli Clark (1975)

Description:  Edited by John R, Hopkins.  One of 150 copies of this reproduction of Fitzgerald’s preface to This Side of Paradise with a drawing by John Thein.  Printed from handset Palatino types on Rives Heavy French mould-made paper.

The Song of Hiawatha

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Published by Houghton and Mifflin and Company, Boston (1891)

Description: Illustrations from designs by Frederic Remington. Limited edition number 79 of 250 copies.  242 pages.

The Wayward Bus

By John Steinbeck
Published by Viking Press, NY (1947)

Description:  First Printing.  Jacket designed by Robert Hallack.  “A cross-section of life in the form of a group of bus passengers temporarily marooned at a filling station in the California desert.”


Just Cocktails

By W.C. Whitfield
Published by The Three Mountaineers, Inc. (1942)

Description:  A vintage collection of recipes.  Carved wooden boards, brass hinges, and leather string binding.  Illustrations by Tad Shell.  It includes old favorites, epicurean and local cocktails,  cocktails of the gay nineties and a glassware chart.

Napoli in Bocca

By Antonella Santolini
Published by Edikronos, Italy (1981)

 Description:  Corrugated cardboard cover and heavy stock paper. It is in English and Italian. A lovely classic cook book based on the cooking of Naples.  It showcases the best of home cooking.  It also contains anecdotes, words of wisdom and poems.


The Intellectual and the Market Place and Other Essays

By George J. Stigler
Published by The Free Press of Economic Affairs, London ((1963)

Description:  A First Edition, Signed copy.  The author was one of America’s leading economists and, in 1982, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.  He was defender of competitive private enterprise.

The Road to Serfdom

By Fredrich A. Hayek
Published by University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1944)

Description: First Edition, Second Impression.  It is a landmark of twentieth century conservative/libertarian economics. A seminal work in social philosophy with a forward by John Chamberlain.

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Two Sermons Preached Before the Twenty Eighth Congressional Society of Boston

By Theodore Parker
Published by Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., Boston (1853)

Description:  A sermon that inspired Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Theodore Parker was a Boston clergyman and abolitionist, whose writings were collected and given to Abraham Lincoln. His words inspired one of the most famous oratorical phrases in American history. He wrote ”…a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people…”

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Foundation and Empire

By Isaac Asimov
Published by Gnome Press, NY (1952)

Description:  First Edition, Second Printing.  This is the second volume of Asimov’s science fiction Foundation trilogy that won the one-time Hugo award for the Best All-Time Series in 1966.

Second Foundation

 By Isaac Asimov
Published by Gnome Press, NY (1953)

Description:  First Edition, Second Printing. The third volume in the Foundation series.

The Outsider and Others

By H.P. Lovecraft
Published by Arkham House, Sauk City, Wisconsin (1939)

Description:  First Edition, First Printing (1939).  A seminal work in the genre of weird fiction and horror.  The first book published by Arkham House and the book for which the publishing house was founded.

The House on the Borderland and Other Novels

By William Hope Hodgson
Published by Arkham House, Sauk City, Wisconsin (1946)

Description:  First Edition. This collection of four novels are in the genre of the weird and fantastic.  With an introductory essay by H.C. Koenig.  Hodgson (1877-1918) was an English author who produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping categories including horror and science fiction.


The Nicodemus Era

By Scott Wells
Published by Speedhorse Publications, Oklahoma (1982)

Description:  Numbered 220 of 1500) and signed by both the author and Jerry Nicodemus. This is a biography about a jockey and about the colorful industry of horse racing,  Includes 150 photos from Nicodemus’ personal files.

The Winchester Book, Silver Anniversary Edition

By George Madis
Published by Art and Reference House, Brownsboro, Texas (1985)

Description:  One of a thousand copies.  Signed by George Madis on the title page. Considered by many to be the best book written on the history of the Winchester Rifle.  Contains many photographs and drawings.


Collection of Old Chinese Porcelains

By George R. Davies
Published by Gorer, London (1913)

Description:  Illustrated with 25 color plates from photographs of old Chinese porcelain vases, figures, plates, etc. A great catalogue of pieces from the Sung to the Kien-Lung periods (10th to 18th centuries).

Delightful Journey Down the Green and Colorado Rivers

By Barry Goldwater

Published by The Arizona Historical Foundation, Tempe, Arizona (1970)

Description: First Edition, Signed “Best Wishes, Barry Goldwater.”  Illustrated with photographs taken by the author, suggestions for further reading, and with detailed maps on the endpapers.  It is a great journal of river running before the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives

By Wil Wheaton
Published Subterranean Press, Pasadena, CA (2009)

Description:  Signed by Wil Wheaton.  He is best known for his portrayal of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is his third book, a collection of stories about being a geek, passing his geeky hobbies and values along to his children, and painting what it was like to grow up in the 70’s and 80’s.

History of English Words

By Owen Barfield
Published by George H. Doran Company, NY (1926)

Description:  Barfield was a member of the Inklings: an informal literary discussions group associated with the University of Oxford, England.  They were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction and encouraged the writing of fantasy. Barfield was a regular member along with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Instructions for the Care and Operation of Model A-1-E Hispano-Suiza Aeronautical Engines

Published by Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, New Brunswick, NJ (1918)

Description: Many photos of the engine and many fold-out diagrams.  The introduction has 17 pages of photos and commentary from aces.


Nikola Tesla Collection

Dr. Nikola Tesla: Complete Patents, Vol 1 and Vol 2
Published: 1979 Bound in plastic comb

Dr. Nikola Tesla: Complete Patents
Published: 1983 Hardcover

Description:  A compendium of all the Serbian-American inventor’s patents.

Originally published in two volumes in 1979, the Tesla Company decided to publish this extensive work in one volume.

Nikola Tesla: Colorado Springs Notes 1899-1900
Published by NOLIT, Beograd, Yugoslavia (1978)

Description:   The first publication of Tesla’s scientific commentaries concerning his work in Colorado Springs, when he tapped the earth’s electromagnetic waves, a technique that led directly to the development of radio transmission.

Solutions to Tesla’s Secrets and the Soviet Tesla Weapons
By T. E. Bearden and John T. Ratzlaff
Published by Tesla Book Company, CA, 1981

Tesla Coil, Radio Tesla: the Secret of Tesla’s Radio and Wireless Power, and Tesla: The Lost Inventions
By George Trinkaus
Published by High Voltage Press (1986-1993)

Three pamphlets.

Particular History of the State of Jalisco (Historia Particular del Estado Jalisco)


By Luis Perez Verdia
Published by Tip. Of the School of Arts and Crafts of the State, Guadalajara (1910-1911)

Description:  Three volumes. In Spanish.  Numerous illustrations in black and white and one color illustration of the coat of arms of Guadalajara.  This is the best and most extensive history of the Sate of Jalisco.  It has illustrations of old buildings and famous people. The author was a prominent educator and historian.

The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver
Published by HarperFlamingo, NY (1998)

Description:  First Edition, Signed by the Author.  This is one of the author’s best-known works; it chronicles the lives of the wife and daughters of a Baptist missionary on a Christian mission in Africa during the dramatic political period of the Congo’s fight for independence.

The Popes.  A Papal History.  Saint Peter to John Paul II

By J. V. Bartlett
Published by SimRidge Publishing, Scottsdale, AZ (1990)

Description: Each pope has a has full-page biography and a color portrait. In between is each pope’s coat of arms. It is a large book: 12.5” by 19.3”

Rick Joy: Desert Works

By Rick Joy
Published by Princeton Architectural Press (2002)

Description:  This book is the Rick Joy’s first monograph.  He and his firm have won numerous awards.  Joy has lectured extensively throughout the US and globally, and is considered an important contributor in the global discourse on modern architecture.