Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2006 Issue

Ancient Books from Librairie Rodolphe Chamonal

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Livres Anciens, or "Old Books," from Rodolphe Chamonal


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from Parisian bookseller Librairie Rodolphe Chamonal is entitled Livres Anciens. This should serve as a warning that the catalogue is in French, so some familiarity with the language will be necessary to negotiate your way around. That said, there is much material that will appeal to collectors beyond those who simply collect French books. For example, there are many books here that belong in Americana libraries. That is because the French were among the early colonizers of North America, notably Canada, the mid-western part of what is now the United States, and the Caribbean. Additionally, the French made many explorations of the land even where they did not form colonies. The reality is that most early Americana is European Americana, voyages to the new world undertaken by European explorers. This material was primarily written in the languages of Europe. Chamonal will help you find that portion which was written in French.

This catalogue should be described in French, but since my contract calls for articles to be written in English, I will attempt to mention a few samples of what is offered en Anglais. However, French speakers, and anyone else who wants to understand what is available, should contact Chamonal directly. My translating ability makes Google's translations appear fluent. However, this much I do know: The title of this catalogue, Livres Anciens, translates in English to "Old Books."

Some people were impressed by George Francis Train's 'round the world trip in 80 days. Nellie Bly did it in an even better 72 days. Gaston Stiegler was not impressed. In 1901, Stiegler circumnavigated the globe in a mere 63 days. I have seen conflicting reports as to whether this was a world record at the time, but either way, it is safe to say that this was a very good time for 1901. Stiegler wrote about his adventures in his book Le Tour du Monde en 63 Jours (A Trip Around the World in 63 Days). He visited many exotic places, including Japan, China, Russia, and America. It was a fascinating trip. Item 132. Priced at €150 (Euros, or approximately $189 in U.S. dollars).

Item 79 provides an Englishman's look at Brazil at the beginning of the 19th century. Thomas Lindley was a trader or a smuggler, depending on your interpretation, who was considered the latter by Brazilian authorities. In 1802, he was imprisoned for a year in Salvador for smuggling. However, his jailers were not that tough on Lindley. He was free to walk about town during the day, observing the local people and their customs. He used his "free" time to learn as much as he could about the area, which he recounted in his book on a "Voyage to Brazil." This is the 1806 first French edition, published a year later, entitled Voyage au Bresil. €1,140 (US $1,440).

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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