Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Incunables and Other Old Books from Lex Antiqua

Lex

A catalogue for the Milan Book Fair from Lex Antiqua.



By Michael Stillman

Studio Bibliografico Lex Antiqua
published a catalogue for the recent International Antiquarian Book Fair in Milan. Listed were books in five categories: Manuscripts; Incunabula; 16th Century Editions; 17th-19th Century Editions, and Rare Legal Texts. This catalogue is written in the Italian language, so, as I can attest, it is a challenge for those unfamiliar with the language. However, many of the titles are in Latin, so if you collect the types of books found in this catalogue, you likely have some familiarity with one of those languages. We can say, since numerals are universal, that this is a collection of very old books. Eighteen are items of incunabula, while most of the remainder are from the 16th century. This is certainly a fine catalogue for those who are serious about antiquarian books.

Item 6 is the oldest book in the catalogue, published just a few years after Gutenberg's death. The title is Supplementum Summae Pisanelle, and no great surprise for books of this age, it is a theological tract. Evidently it was influential as it went through twenty editions during the 15th century. This edition of the work by Nicolaus De Ausmo was published in 1473. Priced at €16,000 (approximate US equivalent of $25,334).

Item 13 is Flores Albumasaris, a 1495 edition of a work from the 9th century Arab astronomer Albumasar (this is a second edition in this form, the first having been published in 1488). Albumasar was primarily an astrologer, trying to show the relationships between the heavenly bodies and events on earth. He was at least partly right on one of these - the cause of tides. Interestingly, Albumassar made use of old writings of Aristotle, unknown at the time to Europeans, and thereby introduced much of the ancient Greek philosopher's thoughts to the West. €13,950 (US $22,080).

Item 65 is a 1511 edition of De Roma Triumphante by Flavius Blondus (Flavio Biondo). Flavius has often been credited with coining the term "Middle Ages." He was also one of the first archaeologists. He explored the old Roman ruins, in his time (15th century) overgrown and used for cattle grazing. He dug around to reveal Rome's ancient history, and attempted to revive that city's glory. In this book, Flavius seeks to use ancient Rome as a source of pride, and a model for modern government and military forces. €2,150 (US $3,404).

Item 97 is Icones Anatomicae by Albrecht Von Haller, published from 1743-1756. Von Haller was one of the greatest anatomists of his time. This book is a thorough description of human anatomy, filled with plates depicting nearly all of the arteries in the human body, along with many other organs. It was a major resource for many, many years, with generations learning about human anatomy from Von Haller's discoveries. However, at the height of his career, Von Haller resigned his professorship to return to his hometown as a minor public official and write poetry and philosophy, along with science books. €15,000 (US $23,760).

Studio Bibliografico Lex Antiqua may be reached at +39-053491100 or info@lexantiqua.com Their website is www.lexantiqua.com.

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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