Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

A List of Books Exhibited at the San Francisco Fair by Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Thomas-schelerlistsf

Books exhibited in San Francisco.


By Michael Stillman

Librairie Thomas-Scheler of Paris recently printed a List of the Books Exhibited, this being books shown at the recent ABAA Book Fair in San Francisco. Thomas-Scheler brought some truly fine books across the Atlantic to display in America. There are more than a few that will interest those who collect the finest antiquarian books, but time constraints will hold us to describing just a few. There are many more like these, though those not sold have undoubtedly made their way back to France, where you may reach proprietors Bernard and Stephane Clavreuil.

Item 38 is a very early look at human anatomy: Anatomia Emendata per doctorem Mellerstadt, by Raimondo Mundinis (Mondino). This is a first illustrated edition from 1493, and the first anatomy published anywhere outside of Italy (it is from Leipzig, Germany). There were five editions, all extremely rare and essentially unobtainable, published earlier in Italy. However, the work itself is older still, it having been completed long before printing in 1316. This is the first modern work devoted entirely to anatomy. Mondino had re-introduced human dissection, abandoned for some 1,500 years at the time. He describes the various internal organs, and if his descriptions are a bit confusing, this was a widely admired work and remained in print until the middle of the 16th century, when it was surpassed by Vesalius' anatomy. Priced at $45,000.

Item 12 is a book that revealed the answer to one of the great mysteries of the age of exploration. La Perouse was one of the greatest French explorers. In 1785, he set out on a great expedition. His ships traveled around South America, then to Hawaii, and back to the Pacific coast and California and Alaska. There they picked up furs which they traded in Macau. Then it was over to Japan and Russia, where La Perouse sent Barthelemy de Lesseps back on a harrowing, year-long overland journey to Paris with his latest update. Next, La Perouse headed south, by Samoa, and eventually to Botany Bay in Australia. He had a cordial meeting there with the British, and next headed west. La Perouse and his ships were never seen again. It was a great mystery, and the French set out ships to find him. It was no use. No trace of La Perouse could be found. It was a mystery for 40 years, when one day, trader Peter Dillon was shown some European goods on the distant Santa Cruz Islands. Dillon believed these must be relics from the La Perouse expedition, and traveled to Vanikoro where they were found. He learned that the ships had been wrecked on the reefs during a storm, and that the crew had built a boat from the wreckage and sailed away, except for two crewmen who stayed behind, but were no longer around when Dillon arrived. Dillon brought some of the artifacts to de Lesseps, the sole remaining survivor, who identified them as from La Perouse's mission. Item 12 is a presentation copy from Dillon of the first French edition of his report, Voyage aux Iles de la mer Sud en 1827 et 1828 et relation de la decouverte du sort La Perouse, published in 1830. $6,500.

We all owe a debt of gratitude, though it may be given grudgingly, to Pierre Fauchard, as he has been called the "father of dentistry." He wrote a pioneering work on the field in 1728, and one can only imagine what a trip to the dentist must have been like then. His book is entitled Le chirurgien dentiste, ou traite des dents. It would only take another two centuries for novocaine to be invented. Item 19. $9,500.

Item 53 is the earliest printed book with technical illustrations. The title is De Re Militari, and offered is a first edition from 1472. Author Robertus Valturius created a treatise on the art of war, while including 92 woodcuts that showed military equipment, such as ladders for sieges, paddle-wheels, pontoons, and such (the latest in 15th century weaponry). These were not merely decorative illustrations, but technical drawings meant to provide practical guidance. The actual artist remains unknown, though some likely names have been suggested. $650,000.

Item 43 is A view of Sir Isaac Newton's philosophy, by one well-qualified to write on the subject. Henry Pemberton was a friend of Newton's physician who knew the great scientist. In his preface, Pemberton writes about his personal recollections of Newton, particularly in the latter's old age. The book also includes a poem about Newton by 16-year-old Richard Glover. $1,800.

Librairie Thomas-Scheler may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@thomas-scheler.fr.

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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