• <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.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Fall 2019 Auction<br>September 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> AUDUBON, John James. Snowy Owl, Plate 121. Aquatint Engraving with original hand color. London: Havell Jr., 1827-1838 from <i>Birds of America.</i> $225,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> JEFFERYS, Thomas. <i>The American Atlas...</i> London: Sayer and Bennett, 1776. $65,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> RACKHAM, Arthur. Original Illustrations for <i>Jack and the Beanstalk.</i> Pen and ink with watercolor on paper. C. 1913. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> AUDUBON, John James. Ruffed Grous, Plate 41. Aquatint Engraving with original hand color. London: Havell Jr., 1827-1838 from <i>Birds of America.</i> $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> ROESSLER, A. R. Latest Map of the State of Texas. Lithograph with original hand color. New York: Mittendorfer, 1874. $50,000 to $65,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Fall 2019 Auction<br>September 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> AUDUBON, John James. American Bison or Buffalo (Male), Plate 56. Lithograph with original hand color. New York, 1845-1848 from <i>Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> $18,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> HOOKER, Sir William Jackson & FITCH, Walter Hood. Victoria Regia. Lithograph with original hand color. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1851. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> AUDUBON, John James. Pin Tailed Duck, Plate 227. Aquatint Engraving with original hand color. London: Havell Jr., 1827-1838 from <i>Birds of America.</i> $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> LEWIS, Meriwether and CLARK, William. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent...</i> London, 1814. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Sep. 28:</b> AUDUBON, John James. American Black or Silver Fox, Plate 116. Lithograph with original hand color. New York, 1845-1848 from <i>Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> $18,000 to $25,000.
  • <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> 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> 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> 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.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2019 Issue

The Amazing Discovery of the Bibliography of Christopher Columbus' Son

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Ferdinand Columbus epitomes ( Arnamagnæan Institute photo).

The discovery of a long lost, presumed destroyed, almost 2,000-page manuscript may well be the greatest bibliographic find of this century. Its finding is somewhat on a parallel with Columbus' discovery of America. Perhaps that is somewhat of an exaggeration, but there is good reason to make this connection.

 

The reason for comparing the discovery of this manuscript created by the greatest book collector of his time, Hernando Colon, to the discovery by Christopher Columbus is simple. Colon was Columbus' son. In English, he is often referred to as Ferdinand Columbus. Colon was a traveler himself, though not quite as far afield as his father. He traveled all over Europe. Colon was also a book and manuscript collector. He has been described as the first "bibliomaniac." Like Sir Thomas Phillipps three centuries later, he wanted to collect every book and manuscript in existence. Fortunately, that was much easier to do in the 16th century than in the 19th century. There were far fewer books yet to amass. Colon managed to accumulate a library of 15,000 items at a time when several hundred books was considered to be a large collection. He dubbed his collection the Biblioteca Hernandina.

 

Colon accompanied his father to the New World on the latter's fourth voyage. After his father's death, he also traveled with his half brother to the New World when his brother was appointed Governor of Hispaniola. However, colonizing new worlds what not his thing. Rather, Colon's calling was that of a scholar. His discoveries were books, manuscripts, and prints. It is known that he traveled all over Europe, collecting books to fill his library. His collecting continued until 1539 when he died. By then, he had amassed the greatest collection of books and paper ever assembled up to the time.

 

What is remarkable about Colon is that he did not stop with simply collecting books. He organized them, catalogued them, and described them. He was truly the first modern librarian. Having inherited a substantial amount of land and income from his father, he not only purchased books, he hired a staff to keep track of them.

 

Along with a listing of purchases, Colon had his staff catalogue his books in four different ways. They created a list of authors, subjects, keywords, and "epitomes." The epitomes are the most interesting part. He had his staff read each book and provide a summary. These range from half a page to many pages in length. What makes these so significant is that some of these books have been lost. The Colon epitomes are the only record of their existence.

 

Fourteen of the 16 volumes of cataloguing created by Colon are now housed in the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville. The other two were long presumed to have been lost.

 

Colon never finished his project. The catalogues were in various stages of completion when he died in 1539. The epitomes at that time covered about 10,000 of his 15,000 items. He wished the project to be continued, and the collection kept together and expanded. However, that did not happen. Disputes over the ownership of his collection prevented it. Eventually, around three-quarters of the collection was dispersed, with the one-quarter still remaining housed in Seville with the 14 volumes of cataloguing.

 

What happened to this set of epitomes after Colon's death was long unknown, although researchers now have been able to trace back much of its history. The reason it was unknown was that various references to it along the way were unclear as to what the book was, likely its significance unclear even to its owners. During the last few centuries it was particularly well-hidden. Why is obvious. It was housed among the books of an Icelandic collection at the University of Copenhagen. An Icelandic collection in Denmark is not a place you would think to look for a bibliography of books owned by the son of Christopher Columbus in Spain.

 

So, how did it get there? Here is what scholars associated with the Arnamagnæan Institute at the University of Copenhagen have concluded. Despite Colon's wish to keep the library together, ownership disputes led to its being torn apart. It was finally turned over to the Cathedral of Seville in 1552, 13 years after Colon's death. By then, half of the volumes had been separated from the collection (half again have since been removed). Either during this time, or somewhat later, this book was separated. It next shows up as being in the collection of Gaspar de Guzman, 1st Duke of Sanlucar (Spain), confirmed by markings in it. A 1627 inventory of that library describes it merely as a large book of 2,330 authors and the books they have written, suggesting the Columbus connection may have already been unknown to its owner. The mention 2,330 authors identifies it as being this book of epitomes.

 

De Guzman lived from 1587-1645. He served as Prime Minister from 1621-1643. The book is next found in the collection of Cornelius Pedersen Lerche. Lerche, who lived from 1615-1681, served two terms as Danish Ambassador to Spain between 1650-1662. He is known to have collected many books and manuscripts while in Spain. Where it was during the time between de Guzman's death and Lerche's ambassadorship is unknown. A portion of Lerche's collection was auctioned off after his death. This auction took place in 1682, and the epitomes show up in its catalogue, with a very brief description that leaves it unidentifiable as Colon's work.

 

It next appears in the Arnamagnæan Collection, prepared after the death of its owner, Árni Magnússon, in 1730. Nothing therein indicates how he obtained it. Magnússon is known to have purchased manuscripts from the Rozencrantz family, who collected Spanish manuscripts in the 17th century, so perhaps they purchased it from the Lerche auction.

 

Árni Magnússon was born in 1663 and raised in Iceland. Iceland was controlled by Denmark at the time. Twenty years later, he went to Denmark to study at the University of Copenhagen. He would eventually become the head librarian there, though he had intervening jobs, including a ten-year return to Iceland working for the government. Magnússon was a manuscript collector, and put together a major collection of primarily Icelandic documents. When he died, he left them to two institutions, one in Iceland, the other the University of Copenhagen. It came to form the Arnamagnæan Collection at the university which has remained there ever since.

 

It is the nature of this collection which helped hide the identity of the Colon epitomes all these years. It is overwhelmingly Icelandic material, with some other Scandinavian items. However, "hidden" within this collection are around twenty Spanish manuscripts Magnússon also collected. The Colon epitomes was particularly hard to identify as it contains no title or description. Indeed, the beginning pages are missing. The number of epitomes runs through number 2,330, but begins midway through item number 140. Earlier listings are missing, and apparently, those pages were separated many centuries ago. There are only around 2,000 of the epitomes present, not 2,190 as you might expect, as some internal pages are also missing. The cover is of no help in identifying it. The binding appears to be one that was used to bind some of the books in the collection around 1770.

 

Any hint of what the manuscript might be remained elusive until 2013. At that time, the library was visited by Guy Lazure, a history professor at the University of Windsor in Canada. He came across it while researching other matters. Professor Lazure suspected there was a Columbus connection, though he did not identify it as a missing volume of Colon's cataloguing. However, this led to further investigations this year by Professor Matthew Driscoll of the University of Copenhagen and Research Associate Kivilcim Yavuz. They contacted Professor Lazure, who thought it might be some sort of "bibliographic tool" from Colon's library. That led to follow-ups with other experts familiar with Colon's library who were able to positively identify it as one of the two missing cataloguing books. After almost 500 years in the dark, this collection of around 2,000 of Fernando Columbus' epitomes has finally been found. There will be much more research done in the years to come.


Posted On: 2019-06-01 20:31
User Name: colophon2

Wilson-Lee, Edward. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World's Greatest Library. Scribner, NY, 2019. 401pp. Endpapers: A page from Hernando's main book register, including (at entry 2091) the entry for the Book of Prophecies that Hernando compiled with his father.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000

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