Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2005 Issue

Maps, Books, and Manuscripts From Asher Rare Books

R1213

Atlases, Books, Globes, Manuscripts and Maps from Asher Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Asher Rare Books
has just released a new catalogue entitled "A selection of 50 interesting Atlases, Books, Globes, Manuscripts and Maps." Asher Rare Books is located in the Netherlands, so this catalogue skews a bit toward Dutch items, but there are several other European nations represented, along with one piece that is very American. Here are a few examples of items to be found in this fully illustrated catalogue of rare and intriguing works.

The first item offered is a collection of ten manuscript maps taken from a journey to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) circa 1763. They were generated either during the voyage of the ship "Oosterbeck" or upon its return to Amsterdam. Along with sea charts are seven maps of Ceylon and the adjacent Indian coast, and one each of the Comoro Islands, Seychelles, and Maldive Islands (using current names). Sadly, this area of the world has been very much in the news recently with the earthquake and devastating tsunami. A few of these maps can be seen in the picture of the catalogue's cover on this page. Item 1. Priced at (Euros) €32,500 (or equivalent US $43,517).

For those with an interest in book catalogues, here is a pair of very old ones. They were offered by Janssonius Van Waesberge in 1725 and 1727. One is a catalogue of books in Italian, Spanish, and English, the other of French books on history, geography, genealogy, mathematics, literature and more. They are bound as one and contain listings for 5,750 books. Item 22. €3,850 (US $5,154).

Item 14 is an 1831 explanation for the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights that light up the nighttime skies of places that are very cold at this time of year. The book is Der Polarschein, oder: Das Nordlicht, by Siegmund Dietmar, published in Berlin in 1831. Dietmar theorized that the phenomenon was caused by the reflection and refraction of sunlight by ice crystals high above the North Pole. That was not a bad theory considering the lack of knowledge of solar particles and winds at the time, but it was completely wrong. Nice try. €2,950 (US $3,950).

Item 19 is the one of Americana. It is Ichthyology of South Carolina by John Edwards Holbrook, published in Charleston in 1860. This is the second and expanded edition, and is called "volume 1," though there were no more. The book includes 28 hand-colored plates of fish which lived in the waters of South Carolina. Holbrook was a physician and member of the faculty at the Medical College of South Carolina. The date of this publication is of more than passing significance. It was the year in which South Carolina seceded from the Union. Dr. Holbrook, well into his 60s, would be called to serve soldiers on the battlefield for the Confederacy, while further publication of his book would cease. The Civil War left few in America untouched. €12,500 (US $16,743).

Georges Cuvier was one of the world's foremost zoologists of the early 19th century. He prepared classifications for thousands of animals, both alive and extinct. He believed that each part of an animal's body was critical to its function. Therefore, he reasoned that change, or evolution, was not possible. However, he recognized that many fossilized animals no longer existed, so he concluded that there were periodic cataclysmic events which wiped out many animals, a theory that seems to have been confirmed by recent discoveries. The follow up part of his theory, that there were new creations rather than new evolutions, has not been supported. Item 10 is Regne Animal dispose en Tableaux Methodiques... by Cuvier and Joseph Achille. Published in 1840, it includes drawings of approximately 5,000 animals, including humans of different ethnicities. €3,750 (US $5,022).

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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