Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2015 Issue

Outstanding Antiquarian Books from Erasmushaus

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Catalogue 928 from Erasmushaus.

This month we received our first catalogue from Erasmushaus of Basel, Switzerland. It is Catalogue 928. We missed a few. Erasmushaus has been in the book trade since 1800. Their home is even older, it having once been the house of Erasmus (hence the name). Erasmus was a theologian of the early 16th century, a great humanitarian and reformer who nonetheless remained loyal to the Catholic Church during the early days of the Reformation. Erasmushaus specializes in the very best of books and some of the earliest too. There are several items of incunabula to be found in this catalogue, and many more almost as old. The catalogue presentation is one matching the quality of the works, a hard cover book filled with illustrations, many covering two pages, and detailed descriptions. Since it's anyone's guess what language a Swiss catalogue will employ, we will tell you – English. Here are a few of the spectacular works to be found at Erasmushaus (in addition to one from Erasmus himself).

 

We begin with what may be the first printing of any Greek or classical text, with the possible exception of an edition of the pseuodo-epic Batrachomyomachia. It is Vita et Fabulae, the life and fables of Aesop, the Bonus Accursius edition circa 1478. The text is in Greek and Latin. Aesop has long been used for teaching, and Accurius points out that it is intended for children and beginners learning the Greek language. Printing and the Mind of Man noted that it is from Aesop that “all popular fables of modern Europe are derived.” Price on request.

 

Next we have an item of enormous importance for collectors of Americana: Cosmographiae Introductio cum Quibus dam Geometriae ac Astronomiae Principiis ad earn rem Necessariis. In super quatuor Americi Vespucii navigationes. This translates roughly to “Introduction to Cosmography, together with some necessary principles of Geometry and Astronomy. Also four voyages of Amerigo Vespucci.” This was published in 1507 by the noted mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller. This edition is dated August 29, likely a fourth edition published four months later and in the same year as the first. The book begins with an introduction to geography. Waldseemuller repeatedly refers to a map and globe he prepared, indicating it was intended as a guide to be used with these. The map survives in only one copy (purchased by the Library of Congress for $10 million) and the globe in none, though three sets of uncut gores survive. The second part describes the four voyages of Vespucci and it is here that this book becomes so significant. Waldseemuller suggests it is appropriate to name the new land after Amerigo Vespucci, something like “America.” The name stuck. A later map of Waldseemuller not using that name may indicate he changed his mind, perhaps from learning that it was Columbus, not Vespucci, who discovered the new land, but by then it was too late. Price on request.

 

Streeter described the next item as “the most important of all Ptolemy editions, its supplement of 'new' maps the beginning of modern map-making.” It is the Geographiae opus novissima published in Srasbourg March 12, 1513. It is an atlas containing both Ptolemaic maps and new maps based on the recent voyages that began spreading out of Europe at the end of the 15th century. While the atlas does not name the map-maker, it is virtually universally attributed to the previously mentioned Martin Waldseemuller. Most notable about the work is that it is the first atlas, and only the second book, with a map of America. It contains the “Admiral's map,” a vague attribution that most believe referred to Columbus, rather than Vespucci. America is shown again as “Terra Incognita,” rather than America, possibly representing Waldseemuller's learning that it was Columbus, rather than Vespucci, who discovered this new land. Price on request.

 

Leonhart Fuchs was a Professor of Medicine at Tubingen University when he created this masterwork in 1542: De historia stirpium commentarii insignes. It is a large herbal, an attempt to add to the “Materia Medica,” or knowledge of substances that had curative powers over disease. Fuchs' work covered 500 plants, including some from the still new lands in America. He had specimens brought to his gardens to examine. This herbal is noteworthy for the quality and completeness of its illustrations. It wasn't the first herbal to contain illustrations, but the woodcuts Fuchs used established a new standard in botanical illustration. Giving credit where it is due, the book includes portraits of the two illustrators and the engraver. CHF (Swiss Frank) 95,000 (approximately US $99,881 U.S. dollars)

 

David Roberts produced two of the most spectacular illustrated works of the 19th century. Roberts was an accomplished British artist who developed a wanderlust. He had already toured Europe when in 1839 he set off on a greater adventure, visiting numerous places in the Near East. His journey took him through Egypt and various parts of the Holy Land. The drawings made on his trip became the basis of two books, one on the Holy Land, and this one: Egypt & Nubia, from drawings made on the spot. It was published in three volumes from 1846-1849. It contains 121 lithograph plates. CHF 250,000 (US $262,385).

 

You may reach Erasmushaus at +41 61 228 99 44 or hdb@erasmushaus.ch. Their website is found at www.erasmushaus.ch

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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