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>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.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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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