Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2015 Issue

Antiquarian Books from Oslo Rare Books

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Rare Books.

Oslo Rare Books has offered their latest catalogue entitled Sjelne Bøker · Livres Rares · Rare Books. If that sounds odd, it is simply the same title in three languages. Indeed, descriptions are provided in three languages which should make this catalogue understandable to more people than most. It provides information in English, French, and naturally enough, the bookseller's native Norwegian. Perhaps using the other title, though in Norwegian, will still be readily understandable across many languages – Katalog Vår 2015. Within the catalogue we find a variety of antiquarian works. Most are very old, some as far back as the 15th century. Languages are tilted toward Latin and French, though others, English included, are found. Topics vary, but there is much in the way of theology, science, discovery, medicine, and the concerns typical of times hundreds of years ago. Here are a few examples.

 

We begin with an item that was both a monumental undertaking and of monumental importance. This is the great encyclopedia – Encyclodédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers – created by Denis Diderot. It was produced in 35 volumes from 1751-1780. Offered is a set that is complete, containing the full 3,129 plates. Diderot started it as a more "limited" project, to provide "all the knowledge scattered on the surface of the earth." However, it grew, as he expanded it to include the views of the world's greatest thinkers and their values. The result is it became the statement of the Enlightenment, a source of information about liberty, democracy, and religious tolerance. There is too little of this even today, much less so in the 18th century. The Encyclodédie would prove an inspiration to the American and French Revolutions, even though the one in Diderot's native country did not turn out so well. Item 51. Priced at €54,500 (euros, or approximately $61,901 U.S. dollars).

 

Here is a more limited history – France alone – and it had fewer years to cover as it was published in 1539. Nevertheless, it still required a 10-book series for Paulus Aemilius (Paulo Emilio) to recount De rebus gestis Francorum (the achievements of the French). It probably would have been longer had he not died in 1529, prior to its completion. Aemelius came from Verona, but he was invited to come to France at the end of the 15th century to write a history focused on the French kings. He was supported by the patronage of King Louis XII who ruled during the first 15 years of the 16th century. Louis later had this project about the French kings expanded to include the history of France. Item 2. €1,700 (US $1,928).

 

Next is an odd book. It was one of those reasoned arguments for a theory that is totally wrong. The title is ‎Aux Cosmopolites, le Soleil et ses effets ou mon rêve, and the author the Chevalier de Sornay. This is a book about the sun which was published in 1792. Sornay was reportedly a great gentleman but he was not much of a scientist. The Chevalier argued against the by then established theory of Copernicus and Galileo that the sun was the center of the solar system, not the earth. He discusses such matters as the size of the sun and its distance from the earth, but he also contends that it travels around the planet. De Sornay explains that its radiance is the result of friction as the sun travels rapidly through earth's atmosphere. That is certainly a clever theory even if it has nothing to do with reality. Item 37. €500 (US $567).

 

John Milton is mostly remembered for his epic poem, Paradise Lost, a detailed account of goings on in another world. However, Milton was very focused on this world, and years earlier, he was heavily involved in political affairs. Item 123 is his Defensio pro Populo Anglicano, published in 1651. This was during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, just two years after the execution of King Charles I. Milton was a republican and a vigorous defender of the overthrow of Charles during the English Civil War. This work was commissioned by Parliament, and in it Milton justifies not just the revolution but the regicide of Charles. Item 123. €500 (US $567).

 

Item 137 is a collection of first editions of the the three Arctic expeditions of William Parry: Journal of a Voyage for the discovery of North-West Passage...1819-20, with Journal of a second Voyage...1821-22-23, and Journal of a third Voyage...1824-25. Each of Parry's three voyages were attempts to discover the Northwest Passage, none of which succeeded in achieving that elusive goal. That is no disgrace as countless explorers before and after him failed. Parry's most success was on his first expedition, with the successive ones each coming less close to the goal, but despite this shortcoming he came back with much scientific knowledge. Two years after that final Northwest Passage search, he led a mission to reach the North Pole. Once again, he did not achieve his goal but did make it farther north than anyone before, or anyone after for almost 50 more years. €7,800 (US $8,858).

 

Oslo Rare Books may be reached at (+47) 908 58 415 or oslo.rare.books@gmail.com.

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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