Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #101 begins on 25 Aug 2022

US Auction #12 has ended

Colvin, Ian D

The Cape of Adventure (first edition)

Being strange and notable discoveries, perils, shipwrecks, battles upon sea and land, with pleasant and interesting observations upon the country and the natives of the Cape of Good Hope. Extracted from the writings of the early travellers. With numerous illustrations. Dedicated to Sidney Mendelssohn, the South African bibliographer [to whose volumes the present author wrote an introduction]

Published: T C and E C Jack, London and Edinburgh, 1912

Edition: First

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In his book, Colvin reprints one or more extracts from the works of each of more than forty travellers in the Cape, nearly all of them famous and only one anonymous, as well as 5 other items in the Cape Archives, introducing each - as well as a general introduction - with his own short commentaries; making this an invaluable reference work to a wide range of Cape Africana. The illustrations are as invaluable as the text - frontispiece (Daniel from Barrow) and 25 other plates. (Of these, the frontispiece and another Daniel work, from his own African Scenery, are missing, while a third, also Daniel, is damaged.)

Maroon cloth-boards. Plain oatmeal endpapers, i-xv prelims, xvii-xxxi introduction, 1-459 pp of text and index + frontispiece and plates.

The copy was professionally rebacked - before, during or after its sojourn in the library of St John's College, Johannesburg - with a new matching maroon spine and the spine details hand-lettered in gilt. There is a library sticker on the front paste-down and the remains of a "date sheet" on the back free endpaper.  There is a binding crack where the frontispiece was removed, but the binding remains very good. Apart from the defects already referred to, this more than one hundred year old book is perfect, and delightful, with its generous typography and cartridge text pages as clean as a whistle.

For anyone starting an Africana collection, this example of Colvin's talents would be an easy first choice - and much preferred to a reprint: even most starting collectors would be able to afford this ever so slightly faulty copy of the first edition.

  • Binding Condition: Near Very Good (repaired)
  • Overall Condition: Near Very Good
  • Size: 220 x 175 x 45; 1 kg
  • Sold By: Fontein Books
  • Contact Person: Richard Proctor-Sims
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 051 773 0486/+79 546 4032
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Eft (South Africa), SWIFT (rest of world), or $ checks for US or Australian buyers
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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