Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

50 Exceptional Items From Asher Rare Books

R0615

Asher Rare Books' Jubliee Catalogue, with Redoute flowers on the cover.


By Michael Stillman

Asher Rare Books
has recently issued its Jubilee Catalogue 35--A selection of 50 interesting Atlases, Books, Charts, Manuscripts and Maps. Asher Rare Books has been in the book business for 175 years. Started by Adolphus Asher in 1830, the firm counted among its clients in those early days scientists such as Darwin and Humboldt. After over a century in Berlin, Asher moved to Amsterdam during the darkening days in Germany of 1933. A decade ago, the firm made one more move, to Ijmuiden, to the west of Amsterdam.

Asher Rare Books lists its specialties as natural history, science, and travel and voyages. Here are a few of the items among their selection of fifty very special works.

Item 1, shown on the catalogue's cover (see image to the left) is a watercolor by famed flower artist Pierre Joseph Redoute. Born in Luxembourg in 1759, Redoute would develop his drawing skills, and his specialty in flowers, in France. He would be appointed an art teacher to Queen Marie-Antoinette in the 1780s. When she lost her head, quite literally, Redoute would receive appointments as artists to both of Napoleon's wives. His reputation grew like the flowers he painted, and Redoute would come to be known as one of the greatest botanic painters who ever lived. Evidently aspiring American birds artist John James Audubon met Redoute during a visit to Paris in 1828 and considered this meeting the highlight of his trip. This watercolor features three open flowers, all varieties of anemone, with the buds of a ranunculus and sweet pea in the background. The drawing is signed "P.J. Redoute." Priced at €65,000 (Euros).

Item 10 is the first French edition (a year after the first German) of Brieve & Fidele Exposition de l'Origin....de l'Eglise de l'Unite des freres.... This is a history of the Moravian United Brethren, particularly their work in Greenland, as well as with American Indians (likely in Pennsylvania) and black slaves in the West Indies. The book is noted for its illustrations, which cover two pages, of various ceremonies, including baptisms, exorcism, marriage, feet washing, and the "holy kiss." This book, printed in 1758, states no author or place of printing, though it is most often attributed to David Cranz, and Asher believes, contrary to earlier assumptions, that it was also printed in Germany, as was the German first edition. €4,500.

Item 15 is Theologia Mystica cum Speculative....by Hendrik Herpf. This is an abbreviated collection of works written by the 15th century theologian published in Cologne in 1538. Herpf is noted for mysticism in his theology, and while this book was very popular, it was placed on the prohibited list for awhile until certain offending sections were removed. This copy comes with a notable provenance. It was once owned by Pope Pius VI and contains his gold-tooled coat of arms. Pius VI served as Pope from 1775-1799, a long rule in what was a very difficult time for the Church. Its authority was challenged, first in Germany, and then France with the French Revolution. Church property in France was seized, and later Napoleon would invade its home territory in Rome. Pius VI was forcibly removed, and brought to several places, culminating with a trip over the Alps by the seriously ill Pope to Valence, France, where he died a short time later. Residents of Baltimore may recall this Pope for establishing the Diocese of Baltimore in 1789. €7,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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