Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2006 Issue

Classic Dutch Works from the Antiquariaat Forum

Antforum

Catalogue of books being shown at the Amsterdam Book Fair.


By Michael Stillman

The Antiquariaat Forum has issued a "Short Title List" in conjunction with the upcoming 27th Amsterdam Antiquarian Book and Print Fair, from April 6-8. It should come as no surprise that a Dutch bookseller's inventory for a Dutch book show would primarily be Dutch books. They certainly know their market! This will undoubtedly be an enjoyable show for collectors of Dutch and European works, and a great excuse to visit Amsterdam in spring. Besides which, Americana collectors will note that some of these titles intrude upon their continent, fitting into the category of European Americana. Here are a couple of samples of what you will find at the show.

Item 48 is Johannes Pontanus' Rerum et urbis Amstelodamensium historia. This is a 1611 first edition of what is described as "the earliest description of Amsterdam, its history and institutions." However, it not only includes details about the city, but information about voyages undertaken by or on behalf of its citizens. This includes voyages to the East Indies by the Dutch East India Company, Willem Barentsz' third voyage as far as Novaya Zembla in attempt to find a Northeast Passage, Dutch trips to Greenland, and Henry Hudson's exploration of America on behalf of the Dutch company. Priced at €9,540 (Euros, or approximately $11,481 in U.S. dollars).

Speaking of Dutch journeys to Greenland, item 15 is the Historie van Groenland, by David Cranz. This recounts the history of the Moravian mission to Greenland, including descriptions of the natives and the land. It then moves on to provide information about early Moravian missions to America as well. €1,010 (US $1,215).

Item 1, George Adams' Verhandeling over het zien, is a 1792 first and only Dutch edition translated from the second English edition of the same year of "An Essay on Vision? Adams was an optician to King George III, and he explains the anatomy of the eye, the use of glasses, and how to determine whether these are needed and choosing ones that won't damage the eyes. €1,590 (US $1,915).

Item 14 is the first complete Dutch collection of the voyages of Captain James Cook. Captain Cook was, of course, the British navigator who undertook three famous expeditions to the Pacific. The first explored the eastern coast of Australia and New Zealand, the second established that there was no massive southern continent as was generally believed at the time, and the third brought him to the west coast of North America, and Hawaii, where he was killed by natives. Along the way, he discovered how to prevent scurvy through a proper diet, this illness long having caused the death of large numbers of voyagers. This first Dutch edition of his travels was published in 14 volumes from 1795 to 1809 under the title Reize rondom de wereld, door James Cook, vertaald door. €7,950 (US $9,561).

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