Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2006 Issue

Latin America, Spain and Portugal from Libreria de Antano

Liba

Latin American and Iberian works from Libreria de Antano.


By Michael Stillman

From Buenos Aires, Argentina, we have received a new catalogue from Libreria de Antano. Offered are primarily Iberian (Spain and Portugal) and Latin American works. There are items as old as 1501, as recent as 1967. This is not a lengthy catalogue, just 43 entries in all (though they are thoroughly described). Nevertheless, Libreria de Antano manages to cover a lot of ground in 43 steps, and for those who collect books and ephemera with a Spanish or Portuguese connection, there is almost certain to be some that are of interest. Here are a few samples of what you will find.

Queen Isabella is one of the best-known Spanish leaders, even five centuries after her death. With husband King Ferdinand she united Spain and made it a world power. She funded the expedition of Columbus which "discovered" the new world and changed the course of history. The Americas would be nothing like they are today without her support, though it took Columbus several attempts to convince her the mission was worth supporting. On the less pleasant side, Isabella was extreme in her religious beliefs, instituting one of Spain's greatest shames, the Spanish Inquisition. Despite her religious predilections, she managed to live quite well. Item 1 is an original document, signed by Queen Isabella in 1501, in which she orders payment to two silversmiths. One of the projects was the making of 22 silver decorations to be placed on her books. She must have been a book collector as well. On the back, the document is signed by the silversmiths, acknowledging their payment. Priced at $7,000.

Item 19 is an important legal treatise for the history of Mexico and the United States. It is the Real Ordenanza...de la Nueva Espana, a body of laws for New Spain, published in Madrid in 1786. New Spain, in those days, included Mexico and Texas, California, and the American Southwest. This book provided rules for every aspect of life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, after which revolution would bring Spanish rule to an end. $7,500.

For those interested in Mexico at a still earlier time, item 10 is Historia de la Conquista de Mexico... by Antonio de Solis. Solis had been a playwright and general man about town in his younger years, but later settled down to become a diplomat and historian. This 1684 first edition of his classic history of the conquest and colonization of Mexico made use of numerous sources, including the letters of conquistador Hernan Cortes, to relate Spain's capture of Mexico. $8,000.

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