Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2014 Issue

Major Books, Maps and Manuscripts from Martayan Lan

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Important rare books, maps and manuscripts.

Martayan Lan has issued their Catalogue 50 of Rare Books, Maps & Manuscripts. The catalogue is divided into four sections:  travel, science and medicine, arts and humanities, and objects. It is filled with early material, much from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also a catalogue of important material, rare and often groundbreaking works. This is strictly a selection for those who collect at the highest level. Here are a few examples of what is to be found.

The Age of Discovery quickly led to the age of great atlases. For the first two centuries of that era, by far the best atlases were produced in the Netherlands. The earliest of the Dutch map and atlas makers were Abraham Ortelius and Gerard de Jode. The two began work together, but soon became competitors. From a business standpoint, Ortelius was the winner of that competition, going on to publish many editions of his atlases. De Jode’s atlases were likewise outstanding, but he was not as good at selling them. The result is that there were only two editions of his Speculum Orbis Terre. The first edition was published in 1578, the second in 1593. Item 7 is a copy of that second edition, which was greatly expanded from the first. It contains 109 maps on 83 plates, representing 33 new maps not contained in the first edition. Each is colored in a contemporary hand. The atlas contains two new world maps and new maps of the Americas, including the first separate map of North America found in a standard atlas. Priced at $650,000.

 

Item 21 is what Martayan Lan describes as a “legendary Brazil rarity,” the first edition of a book that would become extremely popular and later reprinted in a great many editions. It was written by the German adventurer, Hans Staden, first published in the German language in 1587:  Warhaftige Historia und beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der Wilden Nacketen, Grimmigen Menschfresser-Leuthen in der Newenwelt America gelegen… (history of the man-eating savages of the New World in America). Staden first sailed for Brazil in 1547, returning a year later. What he learned about local culture would serve him well when he made a return trip in 1549. His ship was wrecked on an island. He was able to make it to the continent, but was captured by the Tupinamba natives, who had a healthy distrust of the foreigner they assumed was Portuguese, their enemy. Staden tried to convince them he was French, but to no avail. He was destined for the cooking pot, or so Staden claimed, but befriended the chief. From there, he served as a translator and interpreter to the tribe, a useful service that preserved his life. He also became something of a seer to the tribe, who believed he must have some mystical, Godly powers. He was unable to win his freedom, but finally managed to escape six years later, hailing a French ship and returning to Europe. His tales of cannibalism made this book a bestseller of its time, though some have later questioned whether Staden exaggerated his account a bit. Price on request.

 

Next is a major scientific work, particularly for the field of botany:  De Plantis… by Andrea Cesalpino. Published in 1583, this book is of major importance as it was the first attempt to create a systematic botany. Prior to De Plantis, botanical books were systemized based on outside factors, plants being organized by such things as alphabetical order or their medicinal properties. Cesalpino classified them based on physical factors and tangible qualities of the plants. Linnaeus’ work several centuries later would follow from the organization Cesalpino began. Item 34 is a copy of the book carrying the provenance of Joachim Camerarius (the Younger), who lived from 1534-1598. Camerarius was a Nuremburg physician and botanist, and he has added many contemporary annotations to the margins. $115,000.

 

Item 46 is a description of an 18th century mechanical wonder:  Mechanismus der menschlichen Sprache nebst Beschreibung einer sprechenden Maschine, published in 1791. It is a talking machine, the creation of inventor Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen. Von Kempelen was best known in his time for the “Turk,” a chess-playing automaton that beat most everyone it played. It consisted of a model of the upper part of a human form, dressed like a Turk, on a cabinet. Von Kempelen would open a door to the cabinet which would reveal a clock like mechanism, but a small though talented chess player would also squeeze inside. Von Kempelen admitted it was an illusion without explaining. However, his talking machine was real, though it only emitted voice-like sounds while operated by a visible human. He was not pretending the machine was initiating the speech. Von Kempelen used bellows to replace the lungs, a reed for vocal chords, a rubber mouth, and such to mimic speech. Alexander Graham Bell was fascinated by von Kempelen’s work, obtaining and translating a copy of it, as he sought means of reproducing vocal sounds. In time, as we know, he succeeded spectacularly. $9,500.

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 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
  • <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000

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