Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2014 Issue

Mostly Scientific Works from Antiquariat Michael Kuhn

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Mostly antiquarian scientific works from Michael Kuhn.

Antiquariat Michael Kuhn has issued a catalogue that has no name. Other than the bookseller's name, the only word offered is “Berlin,” which tells us where they are located, but not the subject matter. However, that city does imply the books are European in origin, and the “Antquariat” of the bookseller's name tells us that they are mostly very old works, 19th century or earlier. Here is one more thing that a reading of the catalogue reveals: this is mostly a selection of scientific works. There are a few exceptions, such as the memorial to Martin Luther's house. A few works are primarily musical, though they focus on more scientific aspects, such as harmonics. Here are a few of the items to be found in this latest selection from Berlin.

 

We probably shouldn't start a collection of serious scientific works with a fraud, but the fakes are generally the most entertaining. This book is titled Reise durch einen theil der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika in den Jahren 1844 bis 1846. (Travel to parts of the United States of North America in the years 1844 to 1846). The author was the native German Albert C. Koch, and what he found in America was unbelievable. Nonetheless, many were tricked into believing him. Koch immigrated to St. Louis in the 1830's, where he set up a museum near today's Gateway Arch. He was interested in natural history, and gathered many specimens. However, he was also a promoter in the P. T. Barnum mold, meaning accuracy and truth were not limitations on what he presented. He soon sold his museum and hit the road. He took time off to hunt for fossils, primarily in Missouri, to display, which led to the piece de resistance of his traveling show, which he brought to Europe. It was the “hydrarchos.” Koch collected the fossil bones of what we now know as basilosaurus, a type of whale that lived 40 million years ago. He cheated. Koch strung together the bones of at least 6 basilosauri so as to make the creature much longer than it actually was. His creature stretched 114 feet (he further exaggerated claiming it was 140). Nor did Koch even limit himself to basilosaurus bones, adding some ammonite shells for added effects. Despite confrontations from legitimate scientists, Koch's show went on until he sold his specimens. Priced at €2,200 (euros, or approximately $2,761 U. S. dollars).

 

Next we have a collection of steroscopic views from Les Eyzies in the Dordogne department of southwestern France: Station prehistorique de Laugerie Basse et Grotte du Grand Roc, undated but early 20th century. This is an area of caves filled with magnificent mineral structures. What is even more remarkable about these caves is they are home to some of the earliest examples of human artwork, surprisingly good depictions of animals that lived in the area, drawn by Cro-Magnon man 12,000 years ago. €5,200 (US $6,518).

 

This item has a long, multilingual title: Fuci, sive, Plantarum Fucorum generi a botanicis ascriptarum icones descriptiones et historia... / Fuci, or, Colored figures and descriptions of the plants referred by botanists to the Genus Fucus... The work was long enough to deserve such a long title, four volumes published 1807-1819. The author of this massive botanical set was Dawson Turner, a banker. That was his day job, anyway. Turner was also a botanist and antiquary, with a particular interest in cryptogamic plants (those that reproduce by spores rather than seeds). This book is focused on seaweed, and contains descriptions and images of many newly discovered species, particularly of those brought back from the new English colony of Australia. This set was published in small numbers at Turner's expense. Fortunately, he received a large inheritance which allowed him to carry out and publish his work. €7,800 (US $9,778).

 

From sea plants, we go to sea animals that look more like plants: Die Synascidien der Bucht von Istrien (the Ascidians of the Bay of Istria), Istria being located in Croatia. This is the work of Richard von Drasche, published in 1883. Ascidians are commonly known as sea squirts, as they will squirt water when removed from the sea. They aren't removed easily, though some live in the intertidal zone where they can be partly exposed. Sea squirts are those things that look like plants, often pretty flowers, that attach themselves to a rock or some object, with root-like appendages which even more give them the appearance of plants. For the first day or two of their lives, they swim around like tadpoles, but once they find a landing spot, they attach themselves there for life. Evidently, they are not easily bored. They are fairly rudimentary creatures, though they are considered more like us than just about any other invertebrate animal. The author of this work was an industrialist, another man with sufficient funds to be able to support his own research. The book contains numerous plates depicting the variety of these little creatures. €1,200 (US $1,505).

 

Next up is Descrizione delle ultime eruzioni del Monte Vesuvio (Description of the last eruption of Mount Vesuvius), by Andrea Pigonati. This is not actually the last eruption of Vesuvius, but was the latest at the time this book was published – 1768. It erupted in 1767, but has continued to do so many times since. Visitors beware. The author was an officer in the Corps of Engineers for Naples. He was involved in such tasks as cleaning up ports, while he also developed an interest in remnants of antiquity he found. However, he visited Vesuvius at the time of the the 1767 eruption, and being a writer, he prepared this account of what he saw. €1,600 (US $2,007).

 

Antiquariat Michael Kuhn may be contacted at 0049 – (0)30 86 39 69 34 or kuehn.rarebooks@arcor.de. The website is www.kuehn-books.de.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.

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