Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2019 Issue

Antiquarian and Rare Books from Erasmushaus

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Catalogue 930 from Erasmushaus.

Erasmushaus has published their Catalogue 930. The only other title is Rare Books, which these are. We might add to that antiquarian. Most of what is found is of a very aged vintage. The dates range from 1472-1908. Fully half of the books offered are dated from the 16th century or earlier. Languages represented include several European tongues, including the once commonly used Latin. Many contain beautiful illustrations with coloring by hand. Topics vary. These are a few samples of what you will find.

 

We begin with the oldest book in the catalogue, Historia Naturalis by Plinius Secundus. The author is more commonly known as Pliny the Elder. While this book is ancient, having been published in 1472, it was written 1,400 years earlier when Pliny could still be found wandering around ancient Rome. His Natural History is one of the more complete and significant books to have survived from the time. It is filled with information covering numerous topics, sort of a precursor of the encyclopedia. It is presented in 37 books, covering fields such as astronomy, cosmology, meteorology, geology, geography, ethnology, anthropology, zoology, botany, agriculture, medicine, mineralogy, metallurgy, and fine arts. It remained a well studied and respected resource from Pliny's time right through its first printing and later. It served as a guide for da Vinci, Columbus, Michelangelo and others. Item 1 is a copy of the third printed edition, the first having come in 1469. It is known as the Jenson edition for its publisher, Nicolaus Jenson, and is noted for its beauty and clarity and for Jenson's typeface designs. Priced at CHF 225,000 (Swiss francs, or approximately $230,384 in U.S. dollars).

 

This is probably not the most highly cited of works by John (Jean) Calvin: Defensio Orthodoxae Fidei de Sacra Trinitarte, contra Prodigiosos Errores Michaelis Serveti Hispani, published in 1554 (Defense of the Orthodox Trinitarian faith against the prodigious errors of Michael Servetus of Spain). Servetus was a Spanish theologian and scientist who had debated anonymously by letter with Calvin for years. He had what were considered by Catholics and most Protestants to be unorthodox views on the Trinity, along with opposing infant Baptism. It was not a friendly debate. In the middle of the 16th century, Calvin held power as Protestant leader in Geneva where he determined to deal with what he deemed the heresy of the Spanish exile. I would not pretend to take sides in their theological debate nor even understand them, but Calvin's response was enough to make even a loyal Calvinist squirm. He had Servetus executed, not just executed but burned at the stake. He used slow burning wood to make sure Servetus fully appreciated the error of his ways. This book is Calvin's attempt to justify his actions. It wasn't easy. CHF 12,000 (US $12,286).

 

Calvin's actions led to a scathing response from Sebastian Castellio, but he was not without his supporters. After Catellio issued his response, this rare book in defense of Calvin was written by Theodore de Beze, under the pseudonym Martinous Bellius, De Haereticis a Civili Magistratu Puniendis Libellus, Adversus Martini Bellii Farriginem... also published in 1554. De Beze defends the indefensible, sarcastically labeling the execution of Servetus as "the martyrdom of this most innocent Servetus." Item 17. CHF 6,500 (US $6,654).

 

This is one of the more beautiful illustrated works of the 18th century. The images explode off the pages, almost literally. The title is Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London. Sir William Hamilton wrote four books on volcanoes, but this is the best. He was able to provide a clearer description of volcanic activity and explain his theories. Hamilton went to the volcanic sites in Italy, some of them underwater, others on islands, but also the well-known Vesuvius and Mt. Etna. He hooked up with artist Pietro Fabris in Naples, and the two visited various volcanic sites. At times, they were at notable risk as they went to observe active eruptions. They climbed Vesuvius at least 22 times so that Fabris could make sketches at various points in the cycle. His dramatic illustrations capture the force of the eruptions. There are 59 hand-colored plates in the book. Item 29, published 1776-1779. CHF 240,000 (US $245,684).

 

One of the most famous works of Egyptian illustrations in the days before photography is John Roberts' "Egypt and Nubia." It is a spectacular work of art. However, it was hardly the first. The ancient monuments of Egypt had fascinated Europeans for centuries prior. Here is probably the best such work as of a century before Roberts, with the similar title (in French) Voyage d'Egypte et de Nubie. It is the work of Danish navigator and traveler Frederik Ludvig Norden. Norden was commissioned by King Christian VI to draw the sites and bring back all the information he could find. Norden went to Egypt in 1737 and these two volumes contain his illustrations and descriptions of what he found. Norden died young, age 34 in 1742, his book being published posthumously in 1755. Item 26. CHF 18,000 (US $18,428).

 

Erasmushaus may be reached at +41 61 228 99 44 or hdb@erasmushaus.ch. Their website is found at www.erasmushaus.ch.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 €
  • <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.
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800

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