Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2007 Issue

Incunabula and Other Antiquarian Works from Lex Antiqua

Lex

The website for Lex Antiqua.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review our first catalogue from Italian bookseller Studio Bibliografico Lex Antiqua. It is also their first catalogue. Studio Bibliografico Lex Antiqua is relatively new to bookselling, but their books are not new. The firm is focused on the oldest of antiquarian books, particularly those of significance. Important classics in philosophical and scientific thought are at the center of their collection.

Incunaboli offers 112 items and they are all very old. Collectors of incunables, books published before 1500, will be quite pleased with the number of works whose dates begin with "14." As a caution to our English-speaking readers, this catalogue is written in Italian, and consequently difficult for this reviewer to describe. However, we will presume that collectors of incunables and other very old works will have a bit more familiarity with European languages than have I. It would be hard to build a large collection of incunabula based on English alone. With that caveat, here are a few samples of what can be found in the first catalogue from this new seller of very old works.

Item 8 is the Confessionale Volgare "omnis mortalium cura" by Antoninus Florentinus. Antoninus entered the Dominican order at the age of 16, and in 1446, was appointed Archbishop of Florence. He was a scholar and theologian, and a reformer for his time, with concern for the poor. His works also provide a historical window into the 15th century. This work was written for confessors, those who were most holy and pious, and it was evidently well-respected and followed at the time. This early edition was published in 1477, eighteen years after Antoninus died. Priced at €7,700 (or approximate US equivalent of $10,292).

Andrea Palladio was a young stonecutter when a patron introduced him to the arts and gave him his very classic-sounding name. He would become one of the great architects of the 16th century. Item 37 is a set of I quattro libri dell'architettura di Andrea Palladio, the four books of architecture of Andrea Palladio. Palladio was noted for his classic style, even as the Renaissance was burgeoning around him. This is the second edition of this work, from 1581. It would be republished many times in the centuries which followed. €5,300 (US $7,083).

Item 64 is a French translation of an English work, with the description in Italian. It is L'Authoritie et Jurisdiction des Courts de la Maiestie de la Roygne, the authority and jurisdiction of the royal courts of 16th century England. The writer was legal scholar/writer/editor Richard Crompton. The French edition is the first, preceding the London one. This book provides legal history and support for the monarchical system then in place. It was published in 1594, during Crompton's lifetime. €2,400 (US $3,207).

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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