Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2012 Issue

Spectacular Maps and Other Cartographic Items from Daniel Crouch Rare Books

Crouch4

Twenty-five outstanding cartographic items.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books, the London-based merchant of maps, atlases, and other high-end cartographic items, recently released their Catalogue IV. This is a thick, 127-page tall volume offering just 25 items. Naturally, these are all very special selections. With an average of five pages each, the descriptions are thorough, the illustrations copious. For anyone who collects maps at the highest level, the catalogue is a must. Here are a few of the pieces being offered.

We will start with the quintessential look at the pre-Columbian world, Cosmographia, better known as the Ulm Ptolemy, the great atlas printed in 1482. It was the first atlas printed outside of Italy, and it displays the world as known for almost 1,500 years, since the age of Ptolemy. Little could its editor, Nicolaus Germanus, have known that maps that had so long stood the test of time would soon be outdated by the Age of Discovery, then just beginning to dawn. This was a much smaller world than we know today. It consisted of Europe, northern Africa, and eastern and central Asia, including India and as far as the Malay Peninsula. Newer discoveries of Iceland and Greenland make it to the corner of the world map, and a massive southern continent attached to Africa turns the Indian Ocean into a closed sea. Vasco da Gama could not have made his journey to India around the southern tip of Africa just 15 years later if he took this map too seriously. The atlas contains 32 maps. Item 2. Priced at £750,000 (British pounds, or approximately $1,190,600 in U.S. currency).


Just as the Ulm Ptolemy was the greatest collection of pre-Columbian maps, this next item was the greatest history of the world up to that time. Item 4 is the Liber Chronicarum, better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartman Schedel. Crouch describes it as “a mixture of fact and fantasy,” starting with creation, Adam and Eve, and moving through Noah, antiquarian times, ancient Greece and Rome, and right up to the present, which in the case of this book was 1493. That was the year Columbus returned from his discovery of America, so the great explorer’s findings were not yet available to Schedel. His map is of the Ptolemaic world, to which he has added creatures at times fantastic, such as a four-eyed man and one with six arms. Imaginations ran wild in the days when no one knew what was out there beyond the horizon. The book includes 1,809 woodcut illustrations taken from 645 blocks (Schedel frequently repeated his illustrations). Among those who likely worked on the woodcuts was a young assistant named Albrecht Durer. £320,000 (US $509,500).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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