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Lot 65

“Exceedingly Rare Pamphlet”—Holmes

65. COXE, William. A Comparative View of the Russian Discoveries with Those Made by Captains Cook and Clerke; and a Sketch of What Remains to Be Ascertained by Future Navigators. London: J. Nichols for T. Cadell, 1787. vii [1], 9-31 [1, blank] pp. 4to, full contemporary speckled calf, marbled endpapers (earlier rebacking, gilt decorated calf spine with later dark green gilt-lettered calf label). Covers moderately scuffed and stained, corners bumped; except for minor foxing, interior very fine.

     First edition. Beddie 1640n. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 135. Holmes 64 (“exceedingly rare pamphlet”). Howes C835. Sabin 17312. Strathern 131. Streeter Sale 3481. The text was also incorporated into the 1787 octavo edition of Account of the Russian Discoveries (see Item 63 herein); these quarto copies were issued separately for owners of the 1780 quarto edition and the Errata is for that edition. Half title reads “Supplement to the Russian Discoveries.” The ad on page [viii] advertising the octavo edition as forthcoming makes it clear that this quarto edition was printed first.

     Coxe is quite evenhanded in his treatments of discrepancies between the English and Russian explorers, often reminding readers that the latter worked under the most difficult circumstances. He does, however, laud Cook for being the first to realize correctly the geographical nature of the separation between America and Asia. An extremely rare and elusive Cook item. ($5,000-10,000)

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