PEN ULTIMATE RARE BOOKS

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    MICHAEL MONTAGNA
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  1. “I started collecting stamps when I was ten years old,” wrote 69 year old Ayn Rand in blue ink on blue paper, where she proclaimed her passion for philately on a heavily annotated and corrected 16-page manuscript (“Why I Like Stamp Collecting”) offered for sale at The New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the granddaddy of all book fairs. This manuscript along with other Rand treasures bedazzled the Fair, where Ayn Rand commanded record-breaking prices. My reconnaissance — to locate every Ayn Rand offering – began on Friday with my friend Don Hauptman, who introduced me to Tony Freyberg of Quaker Hill Books, who had graciously offered both of us passes for the day. Serendipitously, Tony was offering for sale another luscious Rand manuscript, the only other at the Fair, one of two missing from the my own collection of Rand’s LA Times articles I am offering for sale through Pen Ultimate Rare Books. With a noticeably heavier emphasis on “antiquarian” this year, more so than in years past, Rand unquestionably made her presence known. I spied a lovely signed first edition copy of Rand’s courtroom drama, Night of January 16, offered at $2500. First edition copies of Atlas Shrugged — UNsigned — in dust jackets, shaky to stunning, ranged from $4500 to $5900. An inscribed photograph of Rand, which I’d sold the dealer earlier this year for under $3000, is now asking $5000. Unsigned first Revised editions of both We the Living and Anthem in a wide range of conditions punctuated the aisles, asking mid-three to low-four figures. I did need to alert one dealer to the error he made (common and unintentional) in characterizing the Second Issue of the First American Edition of Anthem as the “First American Printing”. Just to be precise: Anthem, the rarest of Rand “Firsts,” was originally published in Great Britain by Cassell in 1938, Rand’s British publisher of We the Living. Its first American printing was published as Volume III, Number 1 of the magazine The Freeman, published by Pamphleteers, (1946) in an estimated run of 2000 copies mailed to subscribers. Its copyright page contains the Los Angeles address 725 Venice Boulevard. Later printings contain a different LA address. While the dealer had a lovely copy of the second issue of the first American Anthem, it was grossly overpriced. To be sure, other, non-Rand items at the Fair tempted sophisticated bibliophiles, sumptuous rarities worthy of manor libraries and museums. Eye candy included illuminated leaves from the 15th century, engravings of the extinct dodo, a hastily scribbled lyric penned by Bob Dylan, and an R. Crumb (who designed the cover of Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album, of which I’ve a copy, signed by Joplin) drawing of him and his wife. How about that later printing of Gone with the Wind signed by all major cast members? Or that first edition copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five, emblazoned with an inscription and self-caricature complete with his ever-present smoking cigarette? Intoxicating, I suppose, until I saw, illuminated under glass on the top shelf, two mouth-watering first edition copies of The Fountainhead. My heart stopped. Howard Roark laughed. The less expensive copy, at $75,000, is the loveliest copy I’ve seen to date. Its binding was strong; its unclipped jacket still bright. Clearly it had been read, but its previous owner cherished this 1943 unsigned first edition copy, as if predicting the valuation history would place on it. The other first edition copy, not quite as dazzling but still quite noteworthy for a book approaching 75, was inscribed by Rand in 1949 to Jack Warner, President of Warner Bros which produced the screen version of The Fountainhead later that year. In full, Rand’s inscription reads: “To Jack L Warner — Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture — with my profound gratitude — Ayn Rand”. This one-of-a-kind copy of the first edition of The Fountainhead is asking $125,000. The Fountainhead has punctured the 6-figure barrier. Out of her way, Gatsby!
  2. I met Dr. Branden only once, in 1997, on the occasion of the 40 Anniversary celebration of Atlas. Like the full-time collector I am, I nabbed him as he was returning to his seat after a trip to the men's room, asking him to sign a number of books, articles, LP's that I'd hunted down and brought with me. His abundantly glowing smile reminded me of Francisco. He even expressed surprise upon seeing a few items (e.g., the LP, "Nathaniel Branden Discusses Teenagers Questions on Sex") which he'd not seen in decades. He was curious about my collection, asked a number of pointed questions, and invited me to contact him. I remember thinking, "That is an Ayn Rand hero." Thanks Dr. B. You'll not be forgotten by many, many people you helped and touched.
  3. I agree Brant. It sounds as though it might be an earlier version of "The Intellectual Bankruptcy of our Age" addressed specifically to undergrads. Still, would love to know more from someone who's heard it or has a recording.
  4. Yes Mikee Found that this morning and already devoured it. Mentions both Queens College and the Runge Torigian Newsletter, but doesn't expand details.
  5. Today is the first time I've looked at this thread. I'm appalled upon reading that only AR's works from The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist were included on the research CD-ROM. Without the "full context" of the complete publications, a person who wasn't there then would be at a loss to acquire a proper sense of what it was like then, as the ideas and the Objectivist culture were developed in process, month by month, with new articles appearing -- or to acquire a sense of the extent to which especially Nathaniel's articles were crucial to the world view in formation. Are the original, uncut magazines available in hardcover anywhere, does anyone here know? Ellen ___ Dear Ellen There is a hardbound issue of The Objectivist available. The only problem is that the hardbound issue omits all the advertisements on the last page, the opposite side of the back cover, many of which refer to works and quotes cut from the CD-ROM. If you're interested, in these, please contact me: michael@penultimaterarebooks.com Michael
  6. Hello Kat Might it be possible to include a link to my web site, PEN ULTIMATE RARE BOOKS, somewhere on this list? PURB has the world's single largest collection of Ayn Rand manuscripts, signed books, and first editions. Additionally, its holdings include books, articles, LP's written or recorded about Rand. PURB also sells other signed first editions of books by other authors which may interest Rand's readers and collectors. Here's the link: http://www.penultimaterarebooks.com/ Thank you, Michael
  7. Collectors of rare books and manuscripts, it has been said, are the custodians of history. Anyone interested in building or supplementing an Ayn Rand and/or rare book collection, please check out the link below: http://www.penultimaterarebooks.com/ Thank you, Michael PEN ULTIMATE RARE BOOKS. "Hers was, indeed, the Pen Ultimate."
  8. When this article appeared in The Voice of Reason, edited by Leonard Peikoff, Rand's original text was altered to read as follows: Stolen Concept On stolen concept, I found the following reference by Ayn Rand in the "Forward" of "Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology," The Objectivist (July 1966): In the Meridian 1990 Expanded Second Edition, edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff, the same paragraph reads as follows: Note from Michael: This 1990 version of ITOE is the only one I have at present, but I will go on the presumption that this paragraph was given the same way in the 1979 First Mentor Printing. Also, in the early 70's, before I went to Brazil, I used to own a paperback printing of ITOE that was thin, but wider and taller than a typical paperback, with a cover that had a green stripe running down it. I don't know the date and lost that book in Brazil, but I seem to remember that it did not include the Peikoff essay, "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy." The reason I remember this so vividly is because I remember the excitement of seeing the new essay in the Mentor printing on a vacation trip back to the USA years ago, which is the reason I bought it. Does anybody else remember this original printing? I would be interested to see if it came out before the break and if the paragraph mentioning Nathaniel Branden was altered there also. Michael You are positively correct that the original "First Printing" of ITOE did NOT include Peikoff's "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy". The first printing of ITOE (in book form, 1967) was simply a reprint of the series of articles Rand wrote under the same title for TOM in 1966-7. The monograph includes a single paragraph (a summary of Ch. 8) which did not appear in TOM.(By the way, I have several copies of this monograph, from inexpensive reading copies to a rare beauty signed by Rand, if you're interested. I have a question for you about the brilliant Barbara Branded, whom I was fortunate enough to meet several times. BB wrote an article entitles "Collectivism in the Classroom," which Leonard Reed, who had published Anthem in his journal The Freeman, refused to publish. If you know anything about this, please let me know. With appreciation, Michael
  9. More greetings from Manhattan Morning (afernoon or evening) to all. I've been away a spell, hunting down rare Ayn Rand works and cataloging them on my web site. Good to be back in NYC. During my search, I came across two pieces of information which interest me and which I hadn't known of. First, I learned that c 1960, Rand gave a talk at Queens College here in NYC entitled "The Twentieth century Revolt against Reason". While she used that phrase ("revolt against reason") to describe the 20C, there is no reprint of that talk anywhere in her published works. Does anyone know more about this speech? Second, I learned of The Runge Torigian Newsletter, printed in 1960-1, an "Objectivist Calendar" of sorts, before there was The Objectivist Newsletter. Very interested in learning more about this undertaking. Anyone with information or copies, please contact me. I am interested in a purchase or perhaps a trade. Thanks to all! Hope you enjoyed a fine holiday. Michael
  10. I would believe that "growing up Italian" would be framed by where your ancestors originated from in Italy and where you grew up here in New York. A... Do your parents speak Italian in the home? I imagine, but know not, that that'd be "growing up Italian" (in America). --Brant Yes, Italian was spoken in our home, or rather Siciliano. And yes, I meant growing up Italian American in New Jersey whence I originate. The office of The Ayn Rand Letter was only a 30 cent Path Train ride away. I would go spend my allowance there every week and buy all those back issues of TON, TOM, and TARL. I'd often finish reading everything before I returned to Jersey City. The Anarchist Bastard evokes many of these memories. Its author, too, developed interest in AR, but the book does not cover that. At least not yet. Left it near the pool and I'm in the city now : (
  11. What better way to show what happens when "Atlas shrugs" than by showing a container holding hot molten steel "shrugging"? Michael, that hadn't occurred to me. Excellent observation!
  12. I loved the dynamiting at 16 and still do decades later. With the help of a great high school teacher, Mrs. Johnston, I realized that Roark was blasting away the doctrines of collectivism, altruism, and all those "maudlin slogans, mawkish pleas, and ponderous volumes of verbal rat-traps" that build Cortlandt.
  13. Thanks Brant. Haven't read Ninety Three, but will after I finish The Anarchist Bastard, written by a friend of mine. Makes for light poolside reading about growing up Italian. .
  14. I seem to have minority status here (and I don't mean b/c I'm gay). I think Rand was a great novelist. We the Living (which I reread only recently) The Fountainhead (my all-time favorite) and Atlas are all great novels. In case anyone wonders, my idea of another great non-Rand novel is Stendhal's The Red and the black. Loved GWTW as well. Yes I know she mentioned GWTW, but not Stendhal to my knowledge. I enjoy Stuart Woods stories as well, but I wouldn't say they're great novels. And while I never heard of Rand's expressing opinions of herself as a novelist, if what Barbara Branden wrote in POAR is true--that Rand spent her final years reading and rereading passages from Atlas--surely, she thought herself a great novelist. Though just how BB knew that, she doesn't say. It may be from her friends (like the Blumenthals) who still had contact with Rand. Gorgeous day here in NYC. I believe I'll head out and enjoy it. Michael
  15. My pleasure Pen! I am not aware that Rand ever did evaluate herself as a novelist, do you have more info on this? very intriguing! Carol I was mistaken about your reason for doubting Rand's assessment of herself. Rand never did publicly evaluate herself as a novelist in her essays or elsewhere. At a FHF Q&A, she was once asked why. She replied--I am not quoting her here, but I recall the essence--that as a critic, it's proper to exclude your own work from the criticism. Of course, this did not prevent her from comparing 'style" in Thomas Woolf to herself. But there (in "Basic Principles of Literature"), I think, she was a teacher rather than a critic. Michael Hmm, widow women flirting with the new potential millionaire... Could this be the proof that the "pen" is mightier than the "sword." Some really fun images in there...lol A... Adam Had no idea that anyone was flirting with me. Can't wait to tell my partner of 26 years how you called "pen mightier than the sword", His name's Joe.. Michael