Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2007 Issue

Hispanica Americana from The Antique Bookshop

Antique4

A Vidal painting on the cover of the Antique Bookshop's Catalogo IV.


By Michael Stillman

The Antique Bookshop
(the shop of Libreria de Antano) of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has issued its fourth catalogue of 100 Rare Books of Hispanica Americana. This is a collection of rare and highly collectible books pertaining to South and Central America. Titles may be found in the Spanish, English and French languages. Descriptions are provided in both Spanish and English, making the books readily accessible to collectors in North America and other lands where English is understood.

As many of these titles are quite old, collectors of European Americana will find a large selection of interesting material. Many describe expeditions to the southern half of the New World by French and British explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries. These are the books that are primarily written in English and French. Descriptions of this land by those native to it are mostly written in Spanish. Regardless of the language of the book, detailed descriptions in both Spanish and English are provided. Here are a few samples of these 100 rare books.

Item 15 offers an American look at South America at a critical time -- 1815-1820 -- as the Spanish empire was about to fall to indigenous revolutions. The book is Voyage to South America, performed by order of the American government in the years 1817 and 1818 in the Frigate Congress, published in London in 1820. Author Henry Brackenridge was a native of Pennsylvania who had moved to Louisiana and served as a judge. This brought him in contact with the Hispanic community and he learned to speak fluent Spanish. In 1817, he was sent to South America by President Monroe to report on what was happening in the restless Spanish colonies to the south. Brackenridge came back believing the U.S. should oppose further interference in the lands by European powers, a policy the President would later promulgate as the Monroe Doctrine. Priced at $1,200.

Item 87 is one of the finest early illustrated works on South America. The work is Picturesque illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video... by Emeric Essex Vidal. Vidal was an English painter who visited South America from 1816-1818, and it was during this trip he painted the 24 watercolors depicted on the color plates in this book. Vidal also wrote the accompanying text. This book was published in 1820 by famed British artistic printer Rudolf Ackermann. One of Vidal's paintings is seen on the cover of this Antique Bookshop catalogue (click the image above left to enlarge). $20,000.

Item 38 is an important three-volume work the Antique Bookshop describes as "the first history of Argentina" (and it includes a history of Paraguay): Ensayo de la historia civil del Paraguay, Buenos-Ayres y Tucuman, published in 1816-1817. Author Gregorio Funes had access to many documents, especially those of the revolutionary period from 1810 until Argentina's Declaration of Independence in 1816. The copy offered was the personal copy of the aforementioned Emeric Essex Vidal, signed and dated by him in 1821, and containing a note saying he paid the appropriate duty in Portsmouth in January 1822. Price on Request.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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