Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2014 Issue

Incunabula from Oslo Rare Books

E947f4ad-6e46-42a9-ab93-51149943d778

Incunables from Oslo Rare Books.

We recently received our first catalogue from Oslo Rare Books, of Oslo, Norway. The title is Incunables, which is to say these are books over 500 years old. There are 14 items offered, and all, save one, is an incunable. The “new” book dates to 1508. Despite their location, the catalogue is not written in Norwegian. The bookseller has a French connection, and as such, though several languages appear, it is primarily written in French. This will not be easy to describe for one with very limited knowledge of French, and even less of the Latin and other languages in which these books were written. Still, collectors of incunabula likely have better knowledge of Latin and old versions of Romance languages, so perhaps you will recognize these very early printed works. Here are some samples.

 

We start with a history of Florence, though certainly not a recent history. Item 2 is Historia Fiorentina di Messer Poggio. This history covers the years 1350-1455. The author was Poggio Bracciolini, who lived from 1380-1459. Poggio was a scholar and humanist, who spent most of his adult life in the employ of the Church. Most of his books were more philosophical and moral in subject, but he had come to Florence for his education and decided to write a history of the city. He is perhaps even better known for his role in tracking down ancient manuscripts, lost in various monasteries around Europe, and bringing them back to life. His most notable find was De rerum natura by the first century Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius. It recounted the even earlier teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. This work would play an important role in Renaissance thought. Poggio found the only extant copy of this work in a German monastery. Through his life, Poggio served under six popes and one anti-pope. He wrote his history in Latin, but this 1476 printed edition was translated into Italian by his son, Jacopo Poggio. Priced at €12,000 (euros, or approximately $14,884 in U.S. dollars).

 

This next book is another history from part of today's Italy, but from much longer ago: Antiquitates Romanae. This is a history of very ancient Rome, written shortly before the year Zero by Greek historian Denys Halicarnaseus (Dionysius Halicarnassus). Halicarnassus spent many years in Rome studying its history and language, with hopes of convincing his fellow Greeks that their conquerors were not such bad people after all, and shared a noble, ancient history. This book traces Rome's history from its mythical, prehistoric days to the First Punic War, which ended in 241 BC. Halicarnassus' history was translated by Lampo Birago, an admirer of ancient Greek culture and a translator for the papal curia. It is believed he translated this work in 1469 at the behest of Pope Paul II. This book was printed by Bernardin Celerius in 1480. Celerius had presses in several Italian cities during his printing career, this being one of the very few books he printed in Treviso. Item 6. €22,000 (US $27,238).

 

Here is the “new” book in this catalogue, Speculum naturalis coelestis & propheticae visionis, published in 1508. This is an occult work, a set of prophetic visions based on astrological signs by Joseph Grunpeck, published in Nuremberg. Grunpeck is perhaps better known for his two books on the connection between astrology and the “French disease” (syphilis). Evidently, he could see all sorts of things in the stars. In this book of prophesy, Grunpeck foresaw all sorts of terrible things including destruction of the social order, overthrow of the government, and disintegration of the Church. It may have been this latter prophesy, along with his belief in the occult, that got this book placed on the index of books proscribed by the Church. This work is highlighted by 13 woodcuts created by Wolf Traut, an assistant to Albrecht Durer at the time. Item 14. €10,000 (US $12,387).

 

Item 4 is another work written well before the time of printing: De la Cita d'Dio (the City of God). The author was Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine), who wrote this treatise on numerous theological issues early in the fifth century. This edition is undated and without a named location, though some sleuthing has placed it as being printed in Venice between 1476 and 1478. The printer was Antonio di Bartolomeo Miscomini and it was originally believed to have been printed in Florence, but notations in one copy and watermarks indicate it came from Miscomini's earlier press in Venice. This was the first edition translated to the vernacular Italian. €22,500 (US $27,872).

 

Oslo Rare Books may be reached at 0047 908 58 415 or oslo.rare.books@gmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Passion of American Collectors: Property of Barbara and Ira Lipman<br>Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana<br>April 13, 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> The first book-form printing of the Declaration of Independence. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Paine, Thomas) <i>The American Crisis. Number I.</i> "These are the times that try men's souls." $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> First printing of the Treaty of Paris, with distinguished contemporary provenance. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Passion of American Collectors: Property of Barbara and Ira Lipman<br>Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana<br>April 13, 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> Washington, George. Letter signed as first President-Elect. Washington prepares to embark "again on the ocean of publick affairs." $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Hamilton, Alexander). Manuscript document. The launch of one of the most consequential careers in American public life. $180,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Lexington & Concord). <i>A Bloody Butchery, by the British Troops…</i> $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Yorktown Campaign—Jean-Nicolas Desandrouins). A Yorktown Campaign map from the personal archive of the Comte de Rochambeau. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Lyscosthenes, Conrad. <i>Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon,</i> Basilea: Henricus Petrus, c. 1557, first edition, folio. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Collection of Ethiopic Religious Texts, in Ge'ez , illuminated manuscripts on vellum, c. 1700-20th c. (5 pcs.) $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Augustinus, Aurelius Sanctus.<br><i>De Civitate Dei,</i> Venice: Bonetus Locatellus per Octavianus Scotus, 9 Febbraio, 1486, 4to. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Choiseul-Gouffier, Marie Gabriel Comte de. <i>Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece,</i> Paris, J.J. Blaise, 1782-1809-1822, first edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Rufinus, Tyrannius (c. 345-411). <i>Expositio in symbolum apostolorum,</i> [Cologne, Ulrich Zel, c. 1472], first edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Magnus, Albertus. <i>Summa de eucharistiae sacramento,</i> Ulm: Johann Zainer, 1474. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Strabo. <i>Rerum geographicarum libri septemdecim. A Guilielmo Xylandro Augstano magna cura recogniti…,</i> Basel, Henricpetri, (August 1571). $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Riou, Stephen (1720-1780). <i>The Grecian Orders of Architecture. Delineated and Explained from the Antiquities of Athens,</i> London, 1768. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Mair, Paul Hektor. <i>Geschlechter Buch...der...Statt Augspurg,</i> Frankfurt am Maim, Sigmund Feyerabend, 1580. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.). <i>Historiarum libri priores quinque,</i> Basel: Johann Herwagen, 1549. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. <i>Columna Antoniniana Marci Aurelii Antonini Augusti rebus gestis insignis Germanis simul...,</i> Rome, [1672]. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> <i>Ecclesiasticae Historiae, Eusebii Pamphili...Eiusdem de vita Constantini...Socratis...,</i> Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544. $800 to $1,200.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions