Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2014 Issue

Travel, Science and Art from Martayan Lan

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Great books and maps from Martayan Lan.

Martayan Lan provided a catalogue for The 54th New York Antiquarian Book Fair, held last month. Martayan Lan is a map specialist, but this presentation includes many books, some containing maps, others not. It is divided into sections. The first, Travel, includes many atlases and maps. The other two sections cover Science & Medicine, and Arts & Humanities. These are important works, suitable for collections at the highest level. Here are a few examples.

 

The image of the unusually striped zebra you see on the cover comes from a very early trip inside the African continent. Relatione del reame di Congo et delle circonvicine contrade is an account by Filippo Pigafetta of the explorations of the Kingdom of the Kongo in 1578-1584 by Odoardo Lopes (first name sometimes written as Duarte or Edward, last name as Lopez). Martayan Lan notes that Lopes' knowledge of interior Africa would not be surpassed until the days of Stanley and Livingston, almost three centuries later. Pigafetta's account is a mix of fact and fiction, treating rumors, reports recounted by Africans, and ancient tales similar to eyewitness accounts. Nonetheless, considering all of the fantastic rumors and imagined creatures Europeans believed about inland Africa at the time, this presented a far more realistic view. Lopes believed the natives could be converted to Christianity, so they are portrayed more realistically as humans than as some fantastic creatures. This 1591 first edition contains the folding maps and plates, which provided the first updated representation of the land since the days of Ptolemy. Item 1. Priced at $49,500.

 

There is not a more foundational piece for a collection of Americana, except perhaps a Columbus letter, than this work: Cosmographiae Introducto... by Martin Waldseemuller. This is the St. Die edition, one of four published within four months of each other in 1507. All are extremely rare. The book includes the first collected edition of Amerigo Vespucci's four voyages. It was in this book that America received its name. It was the first time the name “America” appeared in print, as Waldseemuller stated that there was no way it should be named anything else since Amerigo Vespucci had discovered it. It is interesting that in his 1513 map, Waldseemuller labeled America as the “New World,” not “America,” perhaps because he had learned in the intervening years that it was not Vespucci who discovered the land after all. Item 29. Price on request.

 

Halfway into the 16th century, Sebastian Munster produced one of the greatest atlases of his time. Only a few decades after Waldseemuller, and not much more after Columbus, item 19 is Munster's Cosmographiae Universalis, published in 1552. The world had changed enormously. Munster provided the first separate printed maps of Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The greatest advancement in knowledge came in the Americas, where all Waldseemuller knew was an edge of the continents and a few islands. Munster's Americas still feature many misconceptions. A massive southern continent lies just a narrow strait south of South America, India is not all that far west of North America, Japan is a huge island not far from the west coast, and a great inland waterway almost divides North America in half. Nonetheless, for all the defects in his understanding, Munster's map of the Western Hemisphere is complete and clearly recognizable as the Americas. $75,000.

 

Item 51 is Sir Isaac Newton's pioneering work on Opticks. It was his most important work other than the Principia, and like that book, Newton not only looked to describe what he saw, but explain why. His most notable discovery was that white light was composed of all of the colors of the rainbow. This is a first edition from 1704, and unlike his other great work, this first was written in English. Newton had written this book several decades earlier, but because of heavy criticism from fellow scientist Robert Hooke, he delayed until after Hooke's death in 1703 to print it. $140,000.

 

Item 85 is a biography of a woman way ahead of her time, L'Eroina Veneta, Overo la Vita di Elena Lucretia Cornara Piscopia... by Antonio Lupus. Elena Cornaro Piscopia was a brilliant woman, so learned that she obtained a doctorate and numerous other honors during the 17th century, a time long before the acceptance of women in anything other than a domestic role. Though her mother was a peasant unmarried to her father, her father was of Venetian nobility. That was sufficient to get her an education. By the age of seven, she was proficient in Latin and Greek, which would lead her to the study of several more languages, mathematics, philosophy, and theology. Her tutor recommended her to the University of Padua for a doctorate in theology, which the local Bishop refused, but she was allowed to obtain a doctorate in philosophy. Numerous Venetian senators and representatives of other universities attended her award. Sadly, she died in 1684 at the age of 38 of tuberculosis. Her writings were published posthumously in 1688 and this biography in 1689. $2,850.

 

You may reach Martayan Lan at 212-308-0018 or info@martayanlan.com. Their website is www.martayanlan.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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