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Lot 38

38. COMSTOCK, J[ohn] L[ee]. A History of the Precious Metals, from the Earliest Periods to the Present Time; with Directions for Testing Their Purity, and Statements of Their Comparative Value, Estimated Cost, and Amount at Different Periods; Together with an Account of the Products of Various Mines; A History of the Anglo-Mexican Mining Companies, and Speculations Concerning the Mineral Wealth of California: By J. L. Comstock, M. D., Author of “Philosophy,” “Geology,” “Mineralogy,” “Chemistry,” etc. Hartford: [Stereotyped by Richard H. Hobbs Hartford, Conn.; Printed by Case, Tiffany and Co., Hartford, Conn., for] Belknap and Hamersley, 1849. 222, 4 (publisher’s catalogue) pp., a few text illustrations. 12mo, publisher’s original blindstamped brown cloth, gilt-lettered spine (neatly rebacked, original spine preserved). Binding touched up, corners and edges repaired and recolored, upper portion of front free endpaper clipped, one signature sprung, scattered light foxing. 1898 ownership inscription of E. S. Wilde) on front free endpaper, early owner’s pencil notes and underlinings throughout and on blanks at end.

     First edition. Cowan II, p. 139. Norris 835. Sabin 15074.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 154:

The discovery of California gold made Comstock’s world survey appeal to a much wider audience. He hurriedly included information on California and added a final chapter entitled “Estimated Expenses of Outfits from the United States to California.” He opened by saying his printer allowed him no time to fully develop the subject. Comstock also calculated the cost of going to California, the loss of labor in the eastern United States, and estimated that it would take $22,260,000 in California gold before the United States would realize a profit.


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