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>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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