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>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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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