Mexico and Spanish Americana from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
Libreria de Antano has published the list of books that it brought to the recent ABAA show in Los Angeles. Many booksellers exhibited at the major west coast book fair in February, but few traveled as far to attend. Libreria de Antano is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so we can safely assume that any books they brought were important. We may also presume that the material on this list would be of interest to many collectors in North America, as well as to its southern neighbor.
Libreria de Antano specializes in South American and Spanish works. However, in a nod to the more northern concentration of attendees, this collection had a higher concentration of the United State's closest neighbor, Mexico. Many Mexican items from several centuries ago highlight this collection. The great majority of material is in Spanish, though there are a few in English and French. The list offers many interesting titles from the lands that start south of the California border, and run almost to Antarctica.
Item 21 is Antonio de Solis' Historia de la Conquista de Mexico... De Solis was a Spanish official who wrote the definitive history of Mexico up to the time, which was 1684. The book was very popular in Spain, going through dozens of editions, but this is the first. De Solis paints a heroic portrait of conquistador Hernan Cortes, a view not likely shared by the Mexican natives who preceded him. De Solis was also a playwright, many of his plays having survived, but he severed all ties to this earlier life before traveling to Mexico on behalf of the Spanish crown. This first edition was published in Madrid in 1684. Priced at $8,000.
Item 58 contains a collection of drawings from Bougainville's circumnavigation of the globe. This is not the more famous Bougainville, Louis Antoine, the famed South American explorer for whom the Bougainvillea flower is named. This was his son, Le Baron de Bougainville, who traveled from 1824-1826 with the ships Thetis and L'Esperence. The younger Bougainville conducted research in Australia as well as South America. His book is, Album Pittoresque de la Frégate La Thétis et de la Corvette L'Espérance, published in Paris in 1828 (first edition). $12,000.