Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2003 Issue

Second Part of H.P. Kraus <br>Auction This Month

Gilbert

William Gilbert focuses on magnetism and electricity in lot 276. Courtsey of Sotheby“s.


Lot 121 is a Papal Bull from Pope Calixtus III, the first Borgia pope, who served from 1455-1458. Calixtus was already 77-years of age when elected Pope, and his relatively brief papacy was consumed by unsuccessful attempts to unite the various Christian European nations in a crusade against the threatening Turks. He is also remembered for tendencies toward nepotism, which would later bring power to his family and difficulties to the Church. This Papal Bull, written less than three months after his elevation, grants an indulgence to Venetian nobleman Filippo Badoer and his family for their sins provided they meet such conditions as fasting every Friday for a year. $2,000-$3,000.

Lot 183 is David Abudarham’s Jewish liturgy printed in Lisbon in 1489. It is a first edition of only the second book to be printed in Lisbon. $65,000-$85,000.

A relatively “recent” religious tract is found in lot 428. It is the Massachuset Psalter, one of the most important testaments of the Massachusett language. This book went through the hands of James the Printer, the first North American Indian known as a printer. $50,500-$75,800.

The Kraus auction includes many titles of a scientific interest. For example, lot 276 is William Gilbert’s De magnete, magneticisque corporibus… printed in 1600. This is a first edition of what is described as the first major English scientific work on magnetism and electrical science. It includes the first use of the term “electricity.” In it Gilbert introduces his theory that the earth is a giant magnet. $15,000-$18,000.

Lot 59 is Pierre Belon’s L'histoire naturelle des estranges poissons marins…, a natural history of marine “fishes.” This is a 1551 first edition of the earliest modern work in comparative anatomy. Belon describes such animals as the dolphin, porpoise and hippopotamus. $10,000-$15,000.

An odd scientific work is found in lot 55, William Beaumont’s Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion. Beaumont was an army sergeant in Michigan in 1822 when a French-Canadian guide was injured in a shooting accident. The wound left an opening from which Beaumont was able to observe the digestive system and gastric juices of a living person for ten years. $1,500-$2,500.

This is certainly not an Americana auction, but a few lots do have an American connection. Lot 85 is a series of treatises by Thomas Blundeville, a friend of the aforementioned William Gilbert, who shared his interest in magnetism. Most of these are mathematical works, but the final treatise deals with maps and contains several references to America. Printed in 1622. $500-$700.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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