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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 89 & 90: Fantastic Early California Iconography

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89. GERSTÄCKER, F[riedrich Wilhelm Christian]. Scènes de la Vie Californienne. Geneva: Jules-Gme Fick, 1859. 260 [4] pp., 6 India-proof mounted etched plates (by Adolphe Gandon). 8vo, original brown blind-stamped cloth, spine gilt-lettered. Slightly shelf-slanted, light foxing to some plates, otherwise fine. This copy is in much better condition than usually found, and the unusual etchings are very fine.

    First edition in French (first edition, Leipzig, 1856). Braislin 821. Cowan I, p. 96. Cowan II, p. 234. Graff 1541. Hill 696: “Charming western scenes.” Howell 50, California 483. Howes G135. Jones 1409. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 266b. Norris 1214. Rocq 25823. Sabin 27188. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 81n. Gerstäcker, one of the more acute observers of the Gold Rush, wrote numerous works about California.

This translation contains six beautifully etched plates by Swiss artist, teacher, and author Adolphe Gandon (1828-1889) not found in the original edition (see Bénézit). The author spent six years in the U.S. and began publishing his accounts of life there after he returned to Germany. Presented here are six accounts, each illustrated by its own plate, including a bullfight, frontier justice, and a night on the town.

One suspects that the author crosses the line between truth and fiction.
($200-400)

Magnificent Panoramic View of San Francisco
Over Eight Feet Long

90. GIFFORD, C[harles] B. & L[ouis] Nagel. [Title on each of the five double-sheet sections of panorama]: San Francisco, 1862. From Russian Hill...Published by A. Rosenfield, S. F. [lower left below image]: C. B. Gifford, Del. et Lith. [lower right below image]: Printed by L. Nagel, S. F. [label title]: Panoramic View of San Francisco. Lithographed folded panorama on tinted ground with key identifying 121 points by name extending across panels at bottom, on 5 joined and linen-backed sheets (31.9 x 270.5 cm; 12-1/2 x 106-1/2 inches) folded into contemporary green cloth gilt-lettered pictorial covers with illustration of a train (upper cover has repoussé oval inlay of Buswell & Co., SF), with broadside Historical Sketch of California ([San Francisco]: Towne & Bacon) as front pastedown (39.3 x 28 cm; 15-1/2 x 11 inches).

Large original blue gilt-lettered and decorated pictorial paper label affixed to verso of first panel. Panorama slightly darkened, minor image loss at one fold, slight darkening on one sheet due to adhesive, two sheets trimmed close at bottom with some loss of imprint. Broadside with some browning and small loss in blank margin. Covers lacking ties, otherwise very fine. Preserved in green cloth slipcase with chemise. “One of the rarest and most important of items relating to San Francisco” (Eberstadt 133:236).


    First edition, first state (reprinted in 1863 with only the date changed); the version printed on thin paper and mounted on cloth as a single sheet folded in an album. Baird & Evans 38a. Groce & Wallace (Gifford & Nagel). Peters, America on Stone, p. 195 & 291: “This is very rare.” Peters, California on Stone, p. 123 & 167-168: “This important, rare panorama is...so arranged that every house is plainly shown and all prominent buildings are numbered and the names given beneath.

Not only the city but the surrounding land and water are visible. The view embraces the entire circle, commencing at the Golden Gate and ending at the place of beginning.”

This large panorama, taken from Russian Hill, is described on the broadside: “The ‘View’ embraces the entire circle, commencing at the Golden Gate and ending at the place of beginning, in five sections.” Streeter Sale 2872. Reps, Views and Viewmakers of America 290 & p. 178: “Gifford’s finest and most ambitious view was a sweeping panorama of San Francisco as seen from Russian Hill...issued in 1862 by A. Rosenfield of San Francisco. Gifford put his own drawing on stone, and it was carefully printed by Nagel. Rosenfield made at last three versions available to his customers: one printed on thin paper and mounted on cloth as a single sheet folded in an album, the second with single sheets printed on heavier paper, and the third mounted on cloth and fastened to wooden rollers. A second state of the view appeared in 1863, but the only real change was the date.”

An astonishing production, not only because of its size, but also because of the wealth of detail and animation present in the view.
($15,000-25,000)


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