Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2014 Issue

Military History from Asher Rare Books and the Antiquariaat Forum


Military History.

Asher Rare Books and the Antiquariaat Forum have released a catalogue of Military History. The focus is on equipment and wars in Europe from centuries past. There is much to write about. With so many countries jammed into the limited space of Europe, it seems there was always at least one war going on, with various countries lining up on each side. It is a wonder anyone survived. While most people are familiar with the major conflagrations – the World Wars, or Napoleon's overrunning most of Europe, there were many more localized conflicts, and some seemed to last an eternity, such as the Eighty Years War. Modern warfare has made it too dangerous to carry on with all of the fighting. The consequences are too frightening. Still, war can pop up on occasion. It turns out the Crimean War was not the last battle for that spit of land. Here are a few military items from this latest joint catalogue.


Item 36 is a collection of views from that previous Crimean War, Der Kriegsschauplatz in der Krimm. This is a German edition (circa 1855) of William Simpson's views of the war. Simpson was sent to record the naval battles in the Baltic Sea but also went on land as well. His drawings were shown to Queen Victoria, who was Simpson's patron. They were originally published in an English edition. The Crimean War saw the British and French, along with the Turks, successfully beat back the Russians, a different outcome than the more recent edition of this war. Priced at €7,500 (euros, or approximately $9,687 in U.S. currency).


Item 20 is a group of historically important unpublished letters, until recently unknown. They pertain to the Siege of Vienna in 1683, when an alliance between the Hapsburgs' Holy Roman Empire and the Polish drove the Ottomans from Hungary. The four letters were written by Hieronymous Augustin Lubomirsky between July 25 and August 21, 1683. Lubomirsky was the commander of the Polish army, who would ride in to Vienna to save the day for the Hapsburg empire. The recipient was Imre Thokoly, the leader of the anti-Hapsburg Hungarian Calvinists. As such, Thokoly had formed an alliance with the Ottoman Turks, sort of an enemy of my enemy thing. In the letters, Lubomirsky attempts to reconcile Thokoly with the Hapsburgs, speaking on behalf of the Polish King, Jan III Sobiesky. It was previously unknown that the Poles attempted to reconcile Thokoly with the Hapsburgs. The attempt was unsuccessful, and Thokoly remained allied with the Turks, all to no avail. They were routed by the Hapsburg alliance once the Poles arrived. €38,000 (US $45,228).


Item 35 is a pair of two works in one volume, written by Frenchman Jean Savaron in 1610. The first is Traicté de l'espee Francoise. This is a discussion of the use of swords in France and of, as we Americans might say, the right to bear swords. It was dedicated to Louis XIII, who Savaron describes as “the sword of the world.” Louis was kind of a small sword in 1610, as though he had just ascended to the thrown, he was still only nine years old. The second item is Traicté contre les duels. It is an attack on the practice of dueling. There was a plague of people upholding their honor at the time. Some 8,000 noblemen had been killed in the past 20 years in this way and Savaron believed France could hardly afford to lose so many leaders. It also created a sense that the nobility was above the law, as killing each other, naturally enough, was not legal. Savaron explained that “few or no noble houses [were] exempted from this carnage.” €9,500 (US $12,270).


Item 24 is a spectacular manuscript with the binding title Abregé de la marine du Roy 1732. It is a description of the Royal French Navy in 1732, under the reign of King Louis XV. This was the Louis who preceded the deluge. The manuscript provides a detailed survey of the state of the navy, including data from Canada, Louisiana, and the West Indies. However, it is more than a book of data. It is an artistic masterpiece as well, with calligraphic writing in three colors, a painting of a warship taken into port for repair, and all on vellum with a beautiful contemporary binding. It was evidently produced for someone of great importance. €95,000 (US $122,669).


Instead of the French navy, this next item takes a look at the British army, but from a later time (circa 1890). This is Her Majesty's Army: a descriptive account of the various regiments now comprising the Queen's forces, from their first establishment to the present time. As Walter Richards' title suggests, this book contains a lot of detailed information about the forces serving Queen Victoria. It includes 44 plates depicting numerous military scenes. It comes in three volumes. €950 (US $1,226).


You may reach the Antiquariaat Forum at +31 (0)30 6011955 or info@forumrarebooks.com. Their website is www.forumrarebooks.com. Asher Rare Books may be reached at +31 (0)30 6011955 or info@asherbooks.com. Their website is www.asherbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
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    <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: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
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    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
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    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
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