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    "The Scarcest Edition"

    [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay]. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays. Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. In two volumes. New York: Printed and Sold by John Tiebout, 1799. First collected edition of the "Federalist Papers;" reissue, with cancel title-pages, of the 1788 edition printed by John and Archibald M'Lean. Two volumes. Twelvemo (6.25 x 3.75 inches; 158 x 96 mm.). vi, 227, [1, blank]; vi, 384 pages. "Articles of the new Constitution; as agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787" (pages [367]-384). Contemporary tree calf, sympathetically rebacked to style, retaining the original gilt-lettered spine labels; later minor repairs to the joints. All edges trimmed. Original endpapers, flyleaves. Spines somewhat worn with a couple of minor gouges; spine ends chipped, particularly to the crown of the first volume, causing the removal of the upper-most gilt rule; edges worn with the boards largely exposed; corners rounded; boards lightly scuffed. Top edge of both text blocks dust-soiled; tiny ink splash to the top edge of the first volume, a series of small ink stains to the bottom of the second volume; corners of the text softened. Hinges reinforced at the time of the rebacking, currently starting but still sound; front endpapers of the first volume with old annotations in ink and pencil, partially obscured by a bookplate; closed tear of about one and one-half inches at the fore-edge of the front free endpaper. Text somewhat toned; intermittent mild foxing; occasional dog-eared leaves and marginal thumbsoiling; preliminary and terminal leaves faintly discolored in the margins, offset from the leather; faded pencil annotations in first volume; small tear to the fore-edge margin of leaf Gg6 in the second volume, not affecting the text. Very good. Early previous ownership signature of James Gibson on both front flyleaves and title-pages; Harbor Hill bookplate, dated 1905, presumably that of Clarence Mackay and from his Long Island estate, in both volumes.

    Rare, without a single auction record in ABPC or Rare Book Hub.

    "It is said that in the year 1799 a new edition of The Federalist, the fifth in book-form, was published by John Tiebout, in the city of New York; and that the copy which Mr. Madison used and annotated was of that edition. The most diligent search has been made for a copy of that edition, but without finding it or obtaining any other information concerning it. It is not in any of the principal public libraries, nor, so far as can be learned, is a copy of it in any private library in this part of the country. The newspapers of that period-both Federal and Republican-have been carefully examined, with the hope of finding the Proposals for its issue or the advertisement of its publication; personal inquiries have been made of Mr. Tiebout's sons, and of several of the older inhabitants of the city; and those whose intimate knowledge of books entitles them to the respect of every student have been applied to on the subject; yet no trace whatever, beyond the single allusion above referred to, has been obtained from any quarter, concerning this or any other edition of The Federalist from the press of John Tiebout. It is, nevertheless, known that such a printer lived and transacted business at No. 358 Pearl Street, in the city of New York, in the year 1799; and it is far from impossible that copies of this rare edition may yet be in existence among the rubbish which has accumulated in the garrets of some of the older families of this city and its vicinity" (Henry B. Dawson in his introduction to The Federalist, published by Charles Scribner in 1863.)

    Since Dawson's introduction, it appears over a dozen copies have made their way into institutional holdings (according to WorldCat), including the mentioned copy that James Madison used and annotated, which now resides in The New York Public Library (call number *KD 1799 (Federalist. Federalist)). According to "Madison's Authorship of The Federalist, 22 November 1787-1 March 1788 (Editorial Note)," his annotated copy was sent to Jacob Gideon, who was preparing a new edition of The Federalist, and Gideon then used Madison's copy to identify, and publish for the first time, the original author of each essay. His new edition was published in 1818.

    Curtis, Bibliography to Constitutional History of the United States..., 46 ("Of the first edition of The Federalist a few copies remained unsold which passed into the hands of John Tiebout who reissued it with new titles only"). Evans 35581 ("This is the first edition of "The Federalist," with new title-pages only"); Ford, Bibliotheca Hamiltoniana, 20 ("It is the scarcest edition"); Grolier, 100 American, 19 (first issue). Howes H114. Printing and the Mind of Man 234 (first issue, "The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government"). Sabin 23980. "Madison's Authorship of The Federalist, 22 November 1787-1 March 1788 (Editorial Note)," Founders Online, National Archives (

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2018
    13th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,618

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