Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2007 Issue

Mexicana, Latin America, and other Recent Acquisitions at Libreria de Antano

Antano

Recent acquisitions at Libreria de Antano.


By Michael Stillman

Libreria de Antano
of Buenos Aires, Argentina, published a catalogue of Recent Acquisitions Including Fine Mexicana in time for the San Francisco Book Fair. This catalogue is filled with material of Spanish and Latin American origin, but with an occasional French or English title thrown in. There is much in the way of very special and very rare material included. For the English-speaking world, this is a very useful Libreria de Antano catalogue, as while most of the works are in Spanish, the descriptions are in English. The majority of the work will appeal to collectors of Americana, including many targeted to North America, and as the title suggests, a particular concentration on Mexicana. Earlier Mexican work will also appeal to U.S. collectors as prior to the Mexican War, the American Southwest was also part of Mexico. Now, here are some of the items that were selected because of their likely appeal to collectors at a book show in United States.

Item 34 is Real Orinanza...de la Nueva Espana. This is a first edition of the code of laws and governmental divisions for Mexico, created by the Spanish and published in 1786. This is a significant document both for Mexico and the United States, as these regulations would apply to what is today Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California until the Spanish were overthrown by the Mexicans in the 1820s. Priced at $7,500.

Item 5 is an English language book, Narratives of South America. Illustrating manners, customs, and scenery, by Charles Empson. Empson spent three years in South America, primarily Colombia, and wrote down his observations. The rare large paper copy of the first edition contains 15 hand-colored plates. Published in 1836. $8,500.

Item 25 is an unusual collection of Mexican documents from the time of Emperor Maximilian. One Dona Antonia Hernandez sought permission to continue work on a cure for venereal disease without fear of government prosecution. This required the appointment of three government experts to review her findings. Among the documents is one approving the appointment of the experts signed by Maximilian in 1864. In another, the experts report a notable improvement in patients after using the treatments, but that more testing will be necessary before this can be considered conclusive. We have no idea what happened to Dona Hernandez or her cure for VD, but we do know Maximilian was executed three years later when Mexican nationalists overthrew his French-sponsored rule. $6,000.

Here is a French item: Abbrege de l'histoire Francoise, avec les Effigies des Roys...by N. Houel. This is the 1600 edition of a very rare work which contains a history of French kings up to that time, along with their portraits. Item 49. $3,900.

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