Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

Mostly French Antiquarian Books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Thomas37

Antiquarian books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler.


By Michael Stillman

Librairie Thomas-Scheler of Paris has issued their catalogue number 37 of Livres Ancien. As the title implies, the catalogue is written in the French language. Most of the books offered are as well, though there are a few in English, German, and Latin. Additionally, there are numerous French translations of books that originated in other countries, such as the greatest biography of George Washington. All in all, this is a fine catalogue of antiquarian books, covering a range of subjects. While a few go back just a century, most are substantially older, with several 16th century works being offered. These are a few of the books available.

Item 46 is La Constitution Francaise, the French Constitution, as presented to the King on the 3rd of September 1791. King Louis XVI reluctantly agreed to cede many of his powers, not realizing that far worse was in store. This was France's first written constitution, creating a constitutional monarchy, the King having limited veto power, but most authority now belonging to the legislative assembly. Ultimately it was not enough to save the King, either politically or physically. The Constitution of 1791 fell in less than a year, and King Louis XVI lost first his job, and then his head. Priced at €3,000 (euros, or approximately $3,796 US dollars).

Item 130 is an important medical work, the first look at the diseases of a particular occupational group. Theophraste Paracelse (Theophrastus Paracelsus) grew up around mines, and he studied illnesses of miners, smelter workers, and metallurgists. His book is Von ber Bergsucht oder Bergkranckheiten drey Bucher... published in 1567. Paracelsus, a physician, was an interesting character, considered arrogant by many of his contemporaries, a practitioner of black magic by others. However, while astrology played a role in many of his "cures," Paracelse understood that his "magic" was really the result of scientific observation and reasoning. Of course, his reasoning was based on many assumptions about the world long since rejected, so not all of his medical "cures" would make much sense today. His study of miners fits well with the scientific aspect of his belief, and put him on the leading edge of a world just breaking out of the Dark Ages. €20,000 (US $25,334).

Item 64 is Essai de Geologie, ou Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire Naturelle du Globe. This is an early work on geology, published in two volumes from 1803-1809, by Barthelemy Faujas de Saint Fond, an early geology professor in Paris. The work is divided into sections on fossils and minerals. Faujas had been instrumental in making the connection between active volcanic flows and older rocks that represented ancient flows. Like virtually everyone pre-Darwin, he struggled more with explanations of fossils, which he believed to be similar to present-day animals. €4,000 (US $5,053).

Much of this doubt would be cleared up with this book: L'origine des Especes... Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. Item 53 is an 1866 second French edition of this seminal work. €300 (US $379).

Item 177 is Vie de George Washington... This is the first French edition of John Marshall's celebrated biography of Washington, published in Paris in 1807. €1,800 (US $2,271).

Here is a work that you don't need to understand French to know what the book is about: La Prostitution. This 1882 book by Dr. G. Harris traces the origin and development of the world's oldest profession from antiquity to the time of the French Revolution. Item 80. €80 (US $101).

Item 95 is the Voyages du Captaine Robert Lade... Captain Lade traveled around the world, with perhaps his most interesting visit to historians being to the colony of Georgia, then just a decade old. However, one should not put too much weight in his description. There is no trace to be found of this Captain Robert Lade. The story is evidently a fiction of the man who "translated" it from English, Abbe Prevost. Published in 1744. €1,500 (US $1,893).

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 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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