Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2006 Issue

Livres Precieux


An important book, a sumptous binding

The Clavreuils describe it as "Premiere et rarissme edition latine do la letter de Christophe Colomb annoncant las decouverte de L'Amerique." Strictly speaking he didn't say that. L'Amerique was added about 20 years later. Colomb actually thought, or hoped, he was in the Indies because he told Isabella that's where he was going. The price of this item, nicely bound as only the French can do, is P.O.R. Other items in the catalogue are priced and they run to EURO 500,000 so we know this one is higher. The appropriate way to learn about it is to visit Paris for an inspection and discussion.

Then there is a copy of Marco Polo printed in Venetia by Mathio Pagan in 1555. For support in purchasing this book collectors of the New World will find aid and support from none other than Joseph Sabin who includes Marco Polo in his Bibliotheca Americana and says:

"The travel of Marco Polo in the East claim a place in an American collection in consequence of the remarks of distinguished geographers that they were persuaded by Columbus, and that the revelations made by him of the wonders of Cathay and Zipanga stimulated the great navigator to accomplish through the sea, what the Venetian traveler had by land." It is priced at EURO 35,000.

For the same price there is a sumptuous copy of Joao de Barros' translation of Ulloa's first two decades of Travels and Conquests. Sabin mentions this book as well. This copy was printed in Venetia in 1562 and was bound for Giacomo Boncampagni, Duc de Sora. It is a sumptuous example.

For those whose thirst for things French was not quenched in high school and particularly for those enamored of Rabelais there is the opportunity to acquire "Les songes drolatiques de Pantagruel...", printed in Paris by Richard Breton in 1565. This is the original edition so students who latter suffered at the hands of Rabelais can trace their pain to this date. It is illustrated. The binding is exceptional as is the price EURO 135,000.

Then there is Argote de Molina's Libro la Monteria que mando..." printed in Seville in 1582. This is the first Spanish treatise on hunting and includes material on lion and tiger hunting in Mexico and ostrich hunting in Peru. EURO 50,000

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