Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2007 Issue

A New York Book Fair List from Antiquariaat Forum


Antiquariaat Forum's "Short Title List" for the New York Book Fair.

By Michael Stillman

The Antiquariaat Forum put together a catalogue of 105 items for the recent New York Antiquariaan Book Fair, A Short Title List with recent acquisitions and a selection from our stock. As a Netherlands bookseller, it is not surprising that these would be European books, in various western languages, with somewhat of a skew towards Dutch titles. Nevertheless, the subject matter encompassed takes us to all parts of the world, new and old. And, as "antiquariaat" is the seller's first name, you can expect to find that most items easily qualify for the category of "antiquarian." Here are some of the items that appeared recently in New York.

What could be more appropriate for a Dutch bookseller in New York than a letter pertaining to Peter Stuyvesant? Stuyvesant was a Dutchman and original governor of New York back when it was still known as New Amsterdam. The city was founded in 1625, and held by the Dutch until 1664, when it was seized by the English. However, Dutch colonists living in the area were promised freedom and tolerance, in keeping with the city's tradition. Stuyvesant fled to Holland to report on events, but was allowed by the British to return in 1667, where he settled for the remainder of his life on the outskirts of town. Item 96 is a safe-conduct pass dated January 25, 1667, for the diplomatically named ship Nieuw Jork, to trade in the colony recently named New York. This was the ship that brought Stuyvesant back to his New World home. The pass is, logically enough, signed by the Duke of York, who would later become King James II, and for whom the city was renamed. Item 96. Priced at $52,500.

Item 46 is Der Zee-vaert lof by Elias Herckmans. This is a history of navigation, all the way back to Noah's time, in verse, written by a man who was himself a navigator. However, it is not so much Herckmans' verse that makes this book special as the illustration by the artist Rembrandt van Rijn. This is one of only half a dozen illustrations Rembrandt made for books. $31,575.

Item 26 is a rare Russian work about North America that apparently was not translated into English. The title is Etwas iiber die Natur-Wunder in Nord-America, by Charles Cramer. It was published in two volumes in 1837 and 1840 in St. Petersburg. It was so rare even a century ago that Sabin, who had not seen the first volume, thought it was just a first edition of the 1840 second volume. It is an illustrated work describing many natural wonders in North America, including 13 caves and a natural bridge in Virginia, Mammoth Cave and several others in Kentucky, Niagara and other waterfalls, and a few places in Mexico and South America as well. $16,450.

Speaking of Russia, here is a book that was once in the library of Czar Alexander I. It is La Navigation, Poeme, by Joseph Esmenard, a second edition published in 1806. It is a poem about major historic voyages of discovery, including Columbus' trip to the New World. Item 34. $9,850.

For those who collect science, item 68 is Die galvanische Kette, mathmatisch bearbeitet. The author is a name associated with electrical discoveries, Georg Ohm. This is regarded as one of the more important books written about electricity. It was published in 1827. $26,250.

You may visit the Antiquariaat Forum online at www.forumrarebooks.com, telephone +31 (0)30 6011813.

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