Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2007 Issue

Antiquarian Books from the 15th-17th Century from Milou Rare Books

Books and manuscripts from the 15th-17th century are offered by Milou.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review our first catalogue from William S. Cotter's Milou Rare Books of Austin, Texas. The title of this catalogue, which describes completely the material within, is 15th-17th Century Manuscripts and Printed Books. It is a collection of 47 rare European texts, in various languages, and covering a variety of subjects. There is not too much deliberate fiction, although the various 15-17th century medical works have some enormous accuracy problems. Those who fear doctors today should be thankful they did not live in this period.

Before looking inside the pages, we need to comment on the binding. I lack the knowledge to describe matters pertaining to the art of the book, but as you can see from the image of the cover (click on it to enlarge), this is an uncommon style of sewn binding rarely seen today. The pages are of I know not what paper, but again, this is not something often seen. This is one of those rare catalogues that should be collected itself. Perhaps this fine presentation can be explained by Milou's describing the firm as a "rare book and restoration concern." Now for a look inside.

Item 27 is one of the great classics of English history, a 1580 second edition of the three-volume Chronicles by Raphael Holinshed. Holinshed was assigned the task of compiling a complete record of human history, and while he never achieved anything quite so great, he provided one of the better histories of early England, Scotland and Ireland. However, what makes his work even more notable, particularly the second edition, is that it was the history that Shakespeare used as the basis for many of his plays. Priced at $16,000.

Item 7 consists of two books (bound together) from 1693 concerning French diviner Jacques Aymar (generally known as just "Aymar"). Along with some of the more common uses for the divining rod, Aymar claimed he could find murderers and other evidence of crime through his stick. Upon finding the crime scene, it would shake violently in Aymar's hands. These two works are Histoire de la Baguette de Jacques Aimar by Pierre Garnier, and Lettre Touchant L'Assassinat by Monsieur Chauvin. They basically attempt to explain the phenomenon through natural means. The theory was that the criminal's body left behind tiny "corpuscles" when it was in an aroused state caused by his nefarious behavior. When the crime scene was found, these corpuscles entered the diviner's body, fermenting in his bloodstream and causing him to shake violently. The reaction, then, was in the diviner's body, not the rod. While this theory has no followers of which I am aware today, it is interesting to note that crimes are solved today by comparably small, invisible to the naked eye, cells left behind whose DNA reveals the criminal's identity. $5,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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