Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

Antiquarian Classics from Pr-Ph Rare Books (Libreria Philobiblion and Pregliasco)

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Pr-Ph – a new bookselling partnership.

We received our first catalogue from Pr-Ph Rare Books, prepared especially for the recent California Antiquarian Book Fair. Pr-Ph is a new name, representing a combination of Italian booksellers Libreria Pregliasco and Libreria Philobiblion. Separately, they are located in Turin and Rome, but the combined Pr-Ph now has a location in New York City. They feature a selection of very old and important books, primarily from Italy, or cities that are now part of Italy, along with other European locations. Incunables and texts almost as old are to be found here. They also offer a wide selection of books related to food and cooking. Here are some samples of what this new bookselling partnership has to offer.

 

Item 13 is a book printed in the Netherlands, but it will be of greatest interest to American collectors. It is titled A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements, by John Dod and Robert Cleaver. First published in 1604, with a couple of dozen later editions, this 1617 printing from Leyden would not seem remarkable but for one fact. This edition was printed by William Brewster, a religious dissident who had moved from England to Leyden to practice his own Puritanical beliefs. We say “Puritanical” not in the sense of harsh, but literally. Brewster was the leading elder of the group that would become known as the Pilgrims when they emigrated to America. Brewster was the most educated of the group in Holland, and he set up a press in his home. He published a few religious tracts, including this one. The pressure built on Brewster and the other separatists and in 1619, his types were seized. It was time to move on, and Brewster was among the first group to sail to America on board the Mayflower. The booksellers believe it is likely that this copy came over with him on the Mayflower. Brewster would be a leading religious figure in the new colony for its first two decades. Priced at $120,000.

 

Item 4 is an early mathematical work with a couple of interesting provenances, including another Pilgrim one. The title is Opera, by Apollonius Pergaeus, published in Venice in 1537. Apollonius was not around to reap the royalties on this edition. The ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer died around 190 BC. This is part of Apollonius' work on conics, or cones, that gave us such mathematical terms as ellipse and parabola, those concepts we tried in vain to understand in mandatory mathematics courses. This copy was once part of the collection of John Dee. Dee was a mathematician himself, both astronomer and astrologist, scientist and occultist. He believed both the rational and occult were ways to access knowledge of the unseen world. Dee also served as an adviser to Queen Elizabeth I and he compiled the largest library in England at the time. This copy later made its way to the library of John Winthrop, Jr. His father, Winthrop Sr., emigrated to America in 1630 and served many terms as Governor of Massachusetts. Winthrop Jr. followed him the next year and became a successful businessman in Massachusetts, helped found the colony in Connecticut, and later served as Governor of Connecticut. Winthrop's library, like that of Dee's, was also a largest library, the largest at the time in the American colonies. $580,000.

 

Item 28 may seem an unimpressive book at first glance, but its significance can hardly be overstated. It is Cosmographia, by Claudius Ptolemaeus, better known today as Ptolemy. It is the most important geographic work of antiquity, Ptolemy having charted out the known world during the second century from his home in Alexandria. Amazingly enough, for the next fourteen centuries, no significant advances were made in western understanding of the world's geography. It would take Columbus to do that, and he was just a young man yet to sail the seas when this book was printed. This copy was published in Vicenza in 1475, which explains its rather ordinary appearance. It has no maps, the hallmark of most copies of Ptolemy's Cosmographia. The reason is that this is the first edition of this extraordinarily important work, which is why it so desirable. It is the first. Editions would start to be published a couple of years later containing maps, but the first edition had text only. $640,000.

 

After the unillustrated first edition, several with maps appeared during the remainder of the 15th century. Item 29 is a 1490 printing of Cosmographia, printed in Rome, the second Rome edition and fourth illustrated edition. It contains 60 double-page maps, and Pr-Ph notes that the incunable editions printed in Rome are superior due to advanced technical skills. The world itself was still depicted as it was in Ptolemy's time, Columbus still yet to sail, and nothing new learned in 14 centuries except some minor knowledge along the west coast of northern Africa. $460,000.

 

For a look at how the other half eats, circa the late 17th century, item 48 is Le Cuisinier royal et bourgeois, a 1693 second (augmented) edition. Francois Massialot created a cookbook focused on “good taste,” both literally and figuratively. While at times chefs may have celebrated the meals of regular folks, that was not the case at this time nor in France. Quoting Menell (All manners of Food), Pr-Ph notes, “...not only was anything reminiscent of rusticity and the food of peasants to be avoided, but the court and the 'best circles' were offered as models to be copied.” $4,400.

 

Pr-Ph Rare Books may be reached in New York at 646-370-4657. The booksellers may also be contacted by email: Filippo Rotundo filippo@prphbooks.com, Umberto Pregliasco umberto@prphbooks.com. The website is found at www.prphbooks.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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