Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2015 Issue

An Intermezzo from Erasmushaus


Intermezzo 49.

Erasmushaus has issued a new catalogue, Intermezzo 49. This is a collection of varied works all of which are quite old. The Swiss bookseller's catalogue is primarily in German, though there is a smattering of English and French in the case of books in those languages. Erasmushaus notes that descriptions in English are available on request. Otherwise, a working knowledge of German is most helpful. Here are a few selections from Intermezzo 49.


First up is the Swiss edition of Jules Dumont D'Urville's account of his second great voyage, or the first in the Astrolabe: Entdeckungs-Reise der französischen Corvette Astrolabe (A voyage of discovery of the French Corvette Astrolabe). Dumont D'Urville was a French naval officer and explorer, this voyage lasting three years from 1826-1829. This trip took him to Australia, New Zealand, and various Pacific Islands. Among those islands was Vanikoro. Dumont D'Urville's ship was named after one of French explorer Jean-Francois de La Perouse's ships. La Perouse disappeared after leaving Australia in 1788 and his whereabouts remained a mystery until some remains from his ships were discovered shortly before Dumont D'Urville's arrival. Dumont D'Urville located the site of the shipwreck and gathered some of its remains. Item 81. Priced at CHF 2,800 (Swiss Francs, or roughly $3,006 in U.S. dollars).


“Franklin is dead.” So begins the first of three eulogies published together in Paris in 1790 in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin may well have been as beloved in France as he was in America, a symbol of liberty and democracy, and, naturally enough, an opponent during the American Revolution of the common enemy – England. The timing of his death was also significant in France. The year, 1790, came during the early stages of the French Revolution, when idealism ran high, and many thought it would lead to a result similar to the one in America. No wonder the former American Ambassador to France was such a beloved symbol. Sadly, the French Revolution turned bloody and ended nothing like its counterpart in America, but neither Franklin nor those who participated in his Paris eulogy, could have imagined the outcome.


The first eulogy is from Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau (better known simply as “Mirabeau”). In 1790, he was a leader of the revolution, a moderate who favored a constitutional monarchy similar to that of England. He was a great speaker and many considered this his greatest speech. Mirabeau himself died the following year (of natural causes), hopes still high for the revolution. The second eulogy came from Louis-Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld. La Rochefoucauld was a nobleman, a duke, and yet he was a political liberal and personal friend and admirer of Franklin. In his speech, La Rochefoucauld described the uncommon Franklin as a common man. La Rochefoucauld died two years later while attempting to flee Paris, the revolution having turned far more radical than was he. The third came from Abbé Claude Fauchet, perhaps the greatest orator of them all. He was a bishop who had been a leader of the storming of the Bastille. Fauchet would become a legislator and popular orator, called on for important speeches. He lived the longest of the three after Franklin's death – three years. He advocated imprisonment for the King, not death, a sign of moderation that soon became intolerable. He was sent to the guillotine in 1793. These three items, naturally enough, are in the French language. Item 101. CHF 1,500 (US $1,610).


Wherever that boundary between bravery and insanity lies for explorers, Englishman Mungo Park must be a prime candidate for one who crossed it. Park traveled to Africa in 1795 and ventured inland to the area of the headwaters of the Niger River. It was not a pleasant journey. He was both imprisoned and became very ill. Back home, it was assumed he was lost, but Park persevered and made it back. However, a mystery remained. No one knew where the Niger exited into the sea. Not that its mouth was not visible, but its long, circuitous route prevented people from matching the Niger with the river that exited far to the east. So, Park returned in 1805, and his second journey made the first look like child's play. Fever spread throughout the camp, and by the time they reached the Niger, only 12 of the 45 Europeans were still alive. Park pressed on. They rode down the river, losing more along the way, until there were but three Europeans left. That last group, including Park, was killed by natives before ever solving the mystery. Item 203 is The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805..., the first edition published in 1805. It contains letters and notes Park sent back to England while on his final journey. CHF 1,200 (US $1,288).


This next item is also a travelogue... of sorts. It was all quite obviously fictional. Item 227 is Relation d'Un Voyage du Pole Arctique, au Pole Antarctique... The author was Joseph Hall, an Anglican bishop, though he published it under the pseudonym Mercurio Brittanico. This is the French edition, published in 1721. Hall meant it only to be circulated among friends, but it became widespread. In it, travelers from Amsterdam to Greenland are sucked into a giant vortex and spit out in Antarctica. At this point, Hall was free to use his imagination, as most people believed there was an enormous southern continent, but no one had been there yet to check it out. All sorts of features and creatures are discovered there, with much of it being satire for current events in England, and some stabs at the Catholic Church. Hall would go on to write much theological material throughout his lifetime, but nothing else quite like this. CHF 2,400 (US $2,576).


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>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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