Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2008 Issue

Early Voyages from the William Reese Co.

Reese264

Early voyages from the William Reese Company.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from the William Reese Company is entitled Early Voyages from Vespucci to Vancouver. This is not just a catalogue by explorers whose names began with the letter "V." Think of Amerigo Vespucci and George Vancouver chronologically rather than alphabetically. Vespucci sailed to the Americas at the dawn of the 16th century, while Vancouver explored the coast of North America during the late 18th century. This was the era of the great explorations when the far reaches of the globe were "discovered" by Europeans, their mysteries slowly revealed to a public eager to learn. Reese is offering 100 works of importance from a time when much of the world was still "new."

We will start with one of the earliest, and most important works of exploration. The title is Itinerarium Portugallensium e Lusitania in Indium et Indie in Occidentum... by Antonio Montalboddo. This is a second issue of the first Latin edition of the first collection of voyages ever printed. It was published in 1508, a year after the first (Italian) edition (the second edition added a large woodcut map of the world which contains the first depiction of the entire continent of Africa). It includes discoveries in Africa and Asia, such as Vasco da Gama's explorations at the end of the 15th century. However, it may be its reports from America that are of the most interest, as the "New World" had only been discovered 15 years earlier. This work covers Columbus' explorations along with Amerigo's visits to the land which bears his name. This collection proved to be perhaps the most important book ever in terms of disseminating information about the New World to the Old. Item 61. Priced at $275,000.

Item 19 is an account of travels that preceded the era of great sea explorations. Ambrogio Contarini traveled to Persia on behalf of Venice from 1473-1477. Venetian interests were threatened by the Ottomans at the time, and the Persians were also battling the Ottomans. Contarini's mission was to encourage the Persians to continue their battle. He had to follow a circuitous route to reach his destination, up through Poland and Russia before heading south. The direct route, by sea, would have landed him among the Ottomans. His account was first published in 1487. Offered is the third edition from 1543 of Il Viazo del Clarissimo Messer Ambrosio Contarini... $15,000.

Item 23 is the second letter of Hernan Cortes, a first Latin edition from 1524 (the letter was written in 1520). He describes the empire he found in Mexico and what, we now know from hindsight, was his destruction of the culture which then existed. The letter is bound together with Peter Martyr's De Rebus... which provides an account of recently discovered islands in the East Indies. $67,500.

Item 29 is a copy of the Hondius portrait of Sir Francis Drake. Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, both a hero and embarrassment to the Crown. Drake was a privateer, and his attacks of Spanish vessels, both when the two nations were at war but also at peace, gave him this mixed image. This is a second state of the print of this 1583 drawing, probably made during the 18th century. $12,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions