Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2013 Issue

The Dutch East Indies from Bestebreurtje Rare Books

Bestebreurtjel59

The Dutch overseas.

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books has released their List 59: The Dutch Overseas. The Area Covered by the Charter of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The Dutch East India Company essentially ruled the area of today's Indonesia, and a few other places, for two hundred years, from 1600-1800. It was almost a government unto itself in the days when the Netherlands was a major sea power. It exploited the land and its people, made lots of money, and could push back anyone who got in its way. However, all good things come to an end, and by the late 18th century, it all came tumbling down. The Dutch government would come to rule the Dutch colonies while the VOC became a part of history, but no longer a part of the present, at the beginning of the 19th century.

Bestebreurtje's catalogue is divided into two parts. We will focus on Part I. This section contains the older, mainly contemporaneous material, items which are the most collectible. The second part contains more recent items, many more of reading than collecting interest. However, this is the larger part of the catalogue and those interested in more recent material on the subject will want to obtain this catalogue. Here, now, are some of the older items.

We will start with a major early collection of Dutch voyages: Begin ende voortgangh van de Vereenighde Nederlantsche Geoctroyeerde Oost-Indische Compagnie (beginning and development of the Dutch East India Company). While many of the voyages pertain to areas colonized by the VOC, others traveled to unrelated areas, such as Barentz' discoveries in the Arctic. Additionally, there were circumnavigations, voyages that passed through the East Indies, but other areas as well. In all, 21 voyages are covered by editor Isaac Commelin's collection. For many of the voyages, this was either the first report, or provided detail not previously available. Offered is the third, and “best” edition (1646) as Commelin was able to gain access to some unpublished accounts that were first published in this edition. Item 13. Priced at €68,000 (euros, or approximately $90,966 in U.S. currency).

Item 47 is another collection of Dutch voyages, but one published over a century later: Nederlandsche Reizen, tot bevordering van den koophandel... (Dutch travel to promote commerce). These were Dutch voyages to the far corners of the Earth, with accounts of the adventures and obstacles the explorers faced. It contains 13 volumes (bound in five), beginning with an introduction, the first three volumes covering pre-VOC voyages, and the remainder voyages taken on behalf of or contemporaneous with the VOC. It was published by Petrus Conradi and V. van der Plaats from 1784-1787. €3,250 (US $4,346).

Shipwrecks make for bad experiences, but good stories. Andries Stokram provides such a story in Korte beschryvinge van de ongeluckige weer-om-reys van het schip Aernhem (short description of the unfortunate return voyage of the ship Aernhem). Seven ships left Batavia in late December of 1661, loaded with goods for the Netherlands. The weather was not cooperative. A huge storm appeared while they were off the coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, rising to hurricane strength. Four of the ships went down, three never to be heard from again. The fourth, the Aernherm, sunk, but around 100 of the men survived. They holed up on Mauritius for several months, which apparently was a nice place to land if you have to be shipwrecked. It had previously been a Dutch colony, but was abandoned between 1658 and 1664, with Stokram and his fellow sailors arriving right in the middle of this period. It took awhile for them to get used to the deserted island, but once they did, they found food to be plentiful and life quite nice. Most were reluctant to leave, but eventually, they all hooked on with various passing ships, Stokram returning to the Netherlands to publish his book in 1663. Three other survivors also wrote books. Item 57. €950 (US $1,270).

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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