Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Association Copy With Detective
    James B. Hume's Ownership Stamp

    [Gold Rush] Thomas Fitch & Company. Directory of the City of Placerville and Towns of Upper Placerville, El Dorado, Georgetown, and Coloma. Containing a History of These Places, Names of Their Inhabitants, and Everything Appertaining to a Complete Directory Together With a Business Directory. Placerville: Placerville Republican Printing Office, 1842. First edition. Octavo. 128 pages. "Explanation" (errata) slip tipped to front free endpaper. Association copy with the 19th Century ownership ink stamp of noted lawman and Wells Fargo detective James B. Hume "Special officer W.F. & Co. San Francisco, Cal." at the top edge of the front free endpaper. Original brown sheep over paper-covered boards, titles printed in red on the front board and advertisements printed in red on the back board. Titles lettered in gilt on the spine. Binding with light wear, some toning and mild dampstaining to the lower right corner; spine leather chipping and with some small areas of loss; spine neatly repaired; endpapers toned, otherwise nicely preserved and in very good condition. Offered in a custom clamshell case with gilt stamped spine label.

    Known previously as Dry Diggin's, and later "Hangtown" due to its notorious reputation for hangings, the city was renamed Placerville in 1854 upon its incorporation. At the time it was California's third largest city. Placerville was a central hub for the Mother Lode region's mining operations. The town had many services, including transportation of people and goods, lodging, banking, and had a market and general store. The "Explanation" errata makes a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to the city's hanging past: "A slight error occurs in the History of Placerville, which was not discovered until after the work was in the binders' hands. The Soubriquet of 'Hangtown' was applied to Placerville not from the hanging of 'Irish Dick' in 1850, but from the summary execution of the two Frenchmen and the Spaniard, who were hung in 1849, and not in 1854 as stated on page 11. No hanging, by a mob, has occurred here since 1850." James B. Hume, whose ownership stamp is present in this copy, is considered by many to be one of the first modern detectives in the United States. He was involved in several shootouts and standoffs, his most famous case his tracking and arrest of the outlaw "Black Bart". Hume is listed on page 44 as "deputy collector; house; Piety Hill".

    References: Graff 1339; Greenwood 1685; Howes F159 and P405.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    6th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 354

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $200,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 April 23 Historical Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931