A Return to Lilliput on December 8th

On Thursday, December 8th, PBA Galleries will conduct part II of the Rico Onuma Memorial Auction of Miniature Books from the Lilliput Oval Saloon, Tokyo which offers nearly 5,000 volumes in more than 450 lots of fine antiquarian and modern miniature books. Also included is a selection of miniature book bibliographies and references, as well as several fine hand- crafted leather bookcases specifically designed for miniature books, and an assortment of other cases and accessories for the miniature library.

Chief among the highlights is a custom revolving bookcase containing 151 titles published by Barbara Raheb that was displayed, but never offered for sale, at the Lilliput Oval Saloon. The spectacular collection comprises nearly the entire catalog of the press from 1977 through 1979. The four-sided book case was custom made for the Lilliput Oval Saloon and is beautifully constructed of leather-covered wood, has four glass-paneled hinged doors, with latched closures. When a door is opened, there is a small sliding shelf for display of individual volumes; each sliding shelf is shared with the case on the opposing side. (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000)

Among the highlights of the antiquarian miniatures is Oel und Wein by Christoph Gottleib Jacobi, published by Struck in Wernigerode, Germany in 1750. It is an exceedingly rare miniature book of religious proverbs in an unusual oblong format and not located in any institutional collection or recent auction records. (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500)

Other featured antiquarian miniatures are an 1840 Bijou Almanac in fine condition with the original case and magnifying glass (Estimate: $800-$1,200); Galileo’s letter to his patron, Madama di Lorenza, arguing for the harmony of religion and science, in a miniscule edition printed in a fine fly’s-eye type, once the smallest book in the world (Estimate: $1,500-$2,000); and a selection of rare thumb bibles in Dutch, French, and English.

The modern miniature offerings include the prized Ellen Terry edition of Shakespeare’s works published by David Bryce, with the original revolving bookcase (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); Gleniffer Press Catalogue of 3 Point Gill Titling, disqualified as a contender for the smallest book in the world because it was declared a pamphlet by the British Library, still a legendary rarity from this two-time record holder (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); and Eben Francis Thompson’s Rose Garden of Omar Khayyam, published by the Commonwealth Press with a small brass magnifier, as issued, and for twenty years the record holder for the smallest book in the world (Estimate: $800-$1,200).

Also offered are rarer individual titles, special editions, and scarce titles. Following the selection of single titles are more than 150 lots comprising larger groups of books, offered by publisher, with many of the most recognizable presses of the twentieth century well represented, including miniatures from the Black Cat Press, Borrower’s Press, Anne and David Bromer, Bronte Press, Dawson’s Book Shop,  Catharine Press, Gleniffer Press, Hillside Press, Juniper Von Phitzer Press, Junipero Serra Press, Lorson’s Books, Mosaic Press, Barbara Raheb, Press of Ward Schori, Achille J. St. Onge, Peter & Donna Thomas, and many, many others. Several lots from Hungarian and other European presses close out the catalog and will be followed by more than fifty lots of miniatures offered without reserve.

The sale will begin at 11:00am Pacific Time.  The public may preview the auction Monday, December 3rd, 1 – 5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4th and 5th, 9am – 5pm; and Thursday, December 8th, 9-11am or by appointment at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. PBA accepts absentee bids by phone, fax or email or bids may be placed during the sale in person or online. The entire catalog may be viewed at  www.pbagalleries.com.  For more information, please contact PBA at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected].