Important Works from the Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
It was certainly one of the most important scientific voyages ever, even if that wasn't immediately apparent. Item 13 is a Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836... The first two volumes in this three volumes plus appendix set are the accounts by Captains King and Fitzroy who led the two missions. The third volume is by the naturalist on the second voyage, Charles Darwin. Darwin describes the natural history observed in South America and certain islands. He drew no monumental conclusions in his book, though he already had his suspicions. It would be another two decades before he would officially release his theory of evolution, though he came to his conclusions many years earlier. Item 13 is a first edition, first issue of this narrative. Priced at €40,000 (euros, or approximately $54,116 in U.S. dollars).
Darwin's conclusions, and his groundbreaking theory of evolution were published in detail in On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection... issued in 1859. It is undoubtedly one of the most important books ever written, though some still resist accepting the conclusions Darwin reached from the observations he made. Item 14 is a first edition of Darwin's pioneering work, an edition which sold out almost as fast as it was issued. €110,000 (US $148,819).
One wonders what Martin Luther would have thought of Charles Darwin's theory. We will never know. Luther had plenty else to worry about when he wrote this letter on October 4, 1518. He had been summoned by the Cardinal in Augsburg to explain his heresy. Some consider this letter something of a last will, for Luther must have felt he was in grave danger at the time. He was called to recant his views, which would have resolved his problem, but Luther left the next day with no intention of making the statement that would have saved him from further attacks. Other than a few lines printed in 1719, this letter and its contents were "lost" for centuries, until it showed up in the collection of a Boston pathologist in the 1960s. In this autographed letter, Luther writes that he must be condemned by either God or man, and he chooses the latter. Item 39. €325,000 (US $439,627).
You generally wouldn't look to the Netherlands to find books about American Indians, but here are three of the most important works ever published about America's natives. James Otto Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio is not the best-known collection of Indian portraits, but it is the earliest. It is also one of the earliest American projects in color printing. Lewis' 72 hand-colored lithograph plates, published in 1835-36, offered one of the first close looks at America's natives from the interior of the continent. Item 37. €95,000 (US $128,506).