Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

Science and Medicine from Asher Rare Books and the Antiquariaat Forum

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Science and Medicine from Asher Rare Books and the Antiquariaat Forum

Asher Rare Books and the Antiquariaat Forum have released a catalogue of Science & Medicine. Don't look for the latest in scientific knowledge here. And certainly don't take the medical advice. Material generally ranges from two to four centuries old, some even older. They didn't know as much then, but they were learning, and these books help to spell out the advances that took us from the Middle Ages to wherever it is we are today. Here are a few examples.

 

We will start with a medical book from the 16th century, Compendio di tutta cirugia... by Pietro and Lodovico Rostinio and Leonardo Fioravanti (the latter, an Italian physician, was likely the primary author). This is a third edition, published in 1568, of medical and surgical advice. It contains eight pages of woodcuts of surgical devices. They probably weren't pleasant for the patient, especially since this was still almost three centuries before the development of anesthesia. This copy has an additional manuscript list of causes of fevers on the front fly-leaf. Item 30. Priced at €1,750 (euros, or around $2,210 in U.S. dollars).

 

For those looking for a 16th century cure for their illness in English, or at least I think this is English, item 20 is The Boock of Physicke... This is a 1599 translation of a work by Oswald Gebelkover first published in German a decade earlier. The book contains an index of treatments for illness, suggesting it was likely a do-it-yourself medical guide. In those days, professional help was not readily available, or much good anyway, so a guide was comforting to have around. €24,000 (US $30,312).

 

Item 49 is two manuscript works in one volume from an S. Wolfgang of Austria, circa 1812. They are written in German. The manuscripts contain around 400 medical treatments for animals, primarily horses, and 50 for humans. There is folk medicine and some magic in these remedies, perhaps not the best advice available even in 1812. The manuscripts are highly decorated with artwork and ornate lettering. €14,000 (US $17,681).

 

We may have found ways of ridding ourselves of many sources of disease over the years, but this one still persists. Item 19 is Tractatio qua Lupanaria... a treatise on brothels, and the dangers of what goes on therein. The work was the result of a lecture by Heidelberg University professor Georg Franck von Franckenau (Georgio Francus in this Latin text) given in 1674 (the account wasn't published until 1743). It is safe to say that the professor-physician's warnings about the dangers of prostitution largely went unheeded. €850 (US $1,072).

 

This next item takes us from medicine to science, and a collection of early machines displayed in a book of woodcuts and text. The title is Le Machine... and its author was the Italian engineer and architect Giovanno Branca. This is a first edition, published in 1629. No others were printed until a facsimile in 1965. The book is filled with images of mechanical devices that may, or maybe were not, ever of practical use. Text was provided in Italian and Latin. Among the jobs these devices were intended to do were such things as sawing wood, drawing water, ringing bells, lifting heavy objects, spinning flax, milling grain, and other tasks designed to make life easier for their human companions. The most notable of the devices is number 25. This is the first illustration of a steam engine, or more precisely a steam turbine. High pressure steam escaped from a heated vessel to push the blades of a turbine. It was designed to pound a pestle into a mortar. Item 10. €18,250 (US $23,020).

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>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

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