Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2010 Issue

Rare and Antiquarian Books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Tomscheler40

Some antiquarian books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler.


By Michael Stillman

Librarie Thomas-Scheler has issued its 40th catalogue of Livres Anciens (Antiquarian Books). These are primarily French books though many are first or French editions of books that were first published elsewhere and in different languages. Consequently there will be works here of interest to a variety of collectors, Americana ones in particular, as much of the early exploration of North America was conducted by the French. These are some of the interesting and important books you will find in this latest collection of rare and antiquarian books.

Item 122 is a second edition of one of the most important scientific tracts ever written, Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Great minds of the previous century had made enormous advances in terms of observation. Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus had recognized that the Earth was not the center of the universe, Galileo in particular figuring out what astronomical observations meant. However, it was Newton who devised the theories that explained why what was observed happened. The Principia reveals the laws of motion and gravitation that explain why the universe behaves as it does. Newton published his first edition in 1687, but the popularity of his theories made that book rare and difficult to find. For years, Newton prepared for a second edition, as he had numerous adjustments to make, but he was a busy man with many tasks to focus upon. It was not until 1713, and with the help of some friends, that Newton's revised second edition was finally published. Priced at €30,000 (roughly $40,541 in U.S. Dollars.

Item 15 may not be quite as well known a scientific work as the Principia, but it was a major advance, considering it came out just as Europe was emerging from the "Dark Ages." It is L'Histoire de la nature des oyseaux, the natural history of birds, by Pierre Belon. Thomas-Scheler describes this as the first French book of scientific ornithology. Belon was not limited to studying the literature, but had taken a three-year journey around the Mediterranean nations where he collected his observations. It resulted in several books, including this 1555 first edition. However, this book is notable not just for its presentations of birds, but as being the first comparative anatomy. Belon compared the avian skeleton with that of the human, the similarities of which must have made some people wonder in this time three centuries before Darwin. €25,000 (US $33,793).

Speaking of Darwin, here is a scientist who might he considered somewhat of a precursor to the great evolutionary theorist, though he is far better known for literature and poetry. Johann Goethe was one of the great minds of his time, best known for Faust. However, he wrote books of science, such as this one, Versuch die Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären (metamorphosis of plants). Goethe was already well aware of the anatomical similarities between species described by Belon so many years earlier, and in his look at plants, he concluded that they could change over time. However, this was still a very limited theory, not based on natural selection, nor applying to the level of change that could turn a rodent into a human, or a dinosaur into a bird. Of course, Goethe did not have the benefit of extensive knowledge of fossils or observation comparable to Darwin's, nor would he have had any idea of how enormous an amount of time had elapsed since life on Earth first appeared. Item 73. €1,200 (US $1,628).

Some of the most notable early explorations of North America were conducted by Robert Cavelier de La Salle, the French explorer. He traveled deep into the interior of what is now the United States at a time when only natives lived in the area. He traveled around the Great Lakes, down the Ohio River, and in his most notable expedition, took canoes down the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed the large area for France, calling it "Louisiana" for King Louis XIV. However, his last expedition, intended to take him from France to the mouth of the Mississippi, where he would set up a colony, did not turn out so well. He missed his mark, landing in Texas. His settlers were not happy, and after several attempts to locate the river, his unhappy followers assassinated him. Texas was not such a popular destination then. That's where this next book comes in. Author Henri Joutel had been placed in charge of the colony during La Salle's absences, and though he expected a similar fate, was spared. Instead, he and some followers headed back east, found the Mississippi, and proceeded up the great river and then all the way back to Quebec. He recounts his many adventures in this book published in 1713, Journal historique du dernier voyage que feu M. de la Salle fit dans le Golfe de Mexique... Item 89. €18,000 (US $24,305).

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

You will find many of Librairie Thomas-Scheler's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <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>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>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

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