A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 Sep 3, 14:40 -0700
Jackson, you wrote:
"Another rare first edition Bowditch (1802) is coming up for auction."
These things are nowhere near as rare as the auction houses would have you believe. There are many editions of many books which are much rarer, but first editions of Bowditch are "fetish properties"... It's like vinyl fanatics searching for "original, not rereleased – underlined – Frank Zappa albums." (that's a line from one of my favorite movies from a generation ago, referenced here). A first edition of Bowditch fetches a high price, not because it's extraordinarily rare and certainly not because it contains priceless or revolutionary content, but because collectors are a little bit nuts.
If anyone's interested in browsing the first edition of Bowditch (for content, not for antique value), don't forget there's an archive of Bowditches and other historical navigation books here on the NavList website: http://fer3.com/arc/navbooks2.html. Specifically, the first edition via archive.org: https://archive.org/details/newamericanpract00bowd. By the way, if any of these are unavailable due to geographic restrictions for any of you, please let me know, and I'll post other links (for up to five titles/editions at a time, please).