Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2016 Issue

Antiquarian Books from Erasmushaus


Intermezzo 51.

Erasmushaus recently issued a new catalogue, Intermezzo 51. Erasmushaus specializes in antiquarian books. They have been in business since 1800 and most of the books they offer could have been sold as being old even then. Topics vary and so do the languages of these texts. European languages are most common, especially German, French, and as so many items are very old, Latin. However, you will also find some books that are in English. Being located in Basel, Switzerland, it is something of a guess which language will be used for the catalogue. This time it is in German. For English speakers, they note that they provide English descriptions on request. Here are a few of the items offered in this catalogue.


We begin with a classic book from the beginning of the machine age, Theatrum Machinarum Novum. This is a 1661 first edition of the masterpiece from the very inventive Georg Andreas Boeckler. There weren't a lot of things being done by machine in those days, but milling was one area that was employing new technology, and many of Boeckler's devices were intended for this field. There are mills, waterwheels, water pumps and windmills described. Still, his devices go beyond milling to such things as fire engines, knife sharpeners, a roasting pit, and water fountains. Some machines were powered by water, others by animals and humans. Boeckler not only describes the machines, but provides illustrations. There are 154 engraved plates. In some cases, the machines were a bit ahead of their time, but it was not fanciful equipment that Boeckler was brainstorming but practical machinery that could be employed at the time. Item 10. Priced at CHF 12,500 (Swiss francs, or approximately $13,066 U. S. dollars).


Next up is a work which was very much fanciful, a classic of fantasy that revealed deeper intentions than an ordinary work of the genre. Item 90 is Travels into Several remote Nations of the World. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships. Of course, the alleged author, Lemuel Gulliver, was as fictional as everything else in the book. Nevertheless, being the lead character, the book is now commonly known as Gulliver's Travels, while the actual author was Jonathan Swift. Swift sent his protagonist to various far-off lands, a book written to sound similar to the travel books of its time, the heyday of distant explorations. However, as amazing as what real explorers discovered was, Gulliver's finds were totally fantastical. There were lands of giants and of dwarfs, Utopian societies in an era when people imagined Utopian ideals, perhaps because their own societies were so less than ideal. While this book is now generally read as a fantasy and a favorite of children, it was meant more as a look at society, Swift making fun of the Court. As such, it had to be clandestinely printed. Offered is a first edition from the first date of October 28, 1726. There are some complex issue points because of the way this first edition had to be printed which we leave to the experts. CHF 65,000 (US $67,814).


Next is another fantastical book, this one from the field of science fiction. It is also one of the newest books in the catalogue: Le voyage de l'Isabella au center de la terre (the voyage of the Isabella to the center of the earth). The author was Frenchman Leon Creux, his journey to the center of the earth published in 1922. As with all such journeys that are not immediately consumed by molten lava, this is fiction. An engineer by the name of Gare rides a cylindrical ship that is able to drill its way into the earth. There he finds a new cosmos, replete with its own stars and constellations. Creux was himself an inventor, gaining patents on a scroll compressor, a device that uses rotary motion to compress air. It does not appear that he was ever able to create a successful working model of his invention, though others developed similar devices many years later. Item 26. CHF 500 (US $522).


Here is another work of science fantasy, and it too comes from a man with some serious endeavors. Louis Guillaume de La Folie studied physics and chemistry, and while his name is not renown as a great scientist, he did apply his learnings to practical uses in industry. He developed a superior method of dying thread red, not exactly a Newtonian achievement but still a useful one. In recognition of his achievements, he was appointed an inspector for royal factories. Sadly, he died as a result of an accident while working on a chemical experiment while still in his 40's. Fortunately, five years earlier, in 1775, he published this fantasy, though based on scientific knowledge of the time: Le Philosophe sans Pretention... It is a story about a scientifically advanced civilization on Mercury that sends an explorer to earth. His spaceship is a wondrous combination of parts that runs on electricity, a force just beginning to be understood at this time and considered a wonder. It is forced to make a crash landing on earth, leaving him stranded on this planet. Item 68. CHF 11,800 (US $12,240).


You may reach Erasmushaus at +41 61 228 99 33 or hdb@erasmushaus.ch. Their website is found at www.erasmushaus.ch.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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