Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2008 Issue

Antiquarian Books for the Grand Palais Show from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Palais

Librairie Thomas-Scheler's catalogue for the Grand Palais show.


By Michael Stillman

Librairie Thomas-Scheler issued a catalogue for the recent Antiquarian Book Fair held at the Grand Palais in Paris: Quelques livres anciens choisis pour le Grand Palais (some antiquarian books chosen for the "Grand Palais" or Great Palace ). The Grand Palais is a spectacular glass domed exhibition hall in Paris that was built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. Librairie-Thomas Scheler brought some of their finest books to the show, one hundred of which are described in this catalogue. Descriptions are thorough and numerous color images of the works are provided. As a note of caution, the catalogue is, logically, in the French language, so some familiarity with French is helpful. However, while French is the most common language of the books offered, many European languages, including Latin and English, are represented. The books themselves are not necessarily related to French topics either, though many are. Here is our best attempt to describe some of what we saw, but as they say in America, please pardon our French.

A great atlas can transcend language barriers, which is a good thing since not that many people speak Latin any more. Item 69 is the Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes De Fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. This is a four-volume atlas from Gerard Mercator, published in Amsterdam in 1632. Mercator was one of the earliest of the great map and atlas makers of the 16th and 17th centuries, his work still spectacular today. Priced at €35,000 (or approximate US dollar equivalent of $54,435).

Here is a work English speakers will understand. Well... maybe not. It is Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, by James Watson and Francis Crick. This 1953 offprint from Nature magazine is not easy to understand in any language, but it is one of the most important scientific articles of the century. It introduced DNA and how it transfers genetic characteristics from one generation to the next. This copy is signed by both Crick and Watson, and comes with a 1963 copy of Crick's Nobel Lecture, also signed by Crick. Item 97. €45,000 (US $69,988).

Item 29 is a scandalous book, at least by late 18th century standards. It is Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. It contains fictional letters concerning the morally challenged behavior of the aristocracy in the late royal era of France. Offered is the most spectacular edition of this work, with the finest illustrations. The Pierpont Morgan Library's The Art of the French Illustrated Book describes the illustrations in this 1796 edition: "These striking plates form the outstanding contemporary interpretation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. They are not likely to be superceded however often this celebrated novel is illustrated." €60,000 (US $93,318).

Item 43 represents a celebrated American-French relationship: Oeuvres de M. Franklin... published in 1773. This is the first French edition of scientific works by American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin. Franklin's friend Barbeu Dubourg translated the work. It contains Franklin's writings on electricity, magnetism, and many other scientific topics. Franklin was always very friendly toward France and its people, and after the American Revolution broke out, he would use his connections to obtain French assistance for America's war of independence. €2,250 (US $3,500).

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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