Books and Manuscripts from 1499-1989 from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
Libreria de Antano of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has issued a new catalogue: A Selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts 1499-1989. Most of these works are related to either Spain or Latin America. Similarly, most are in the Spanish language, although we have found both works in English and works unrelated to the Spanish world but translated into the Spanish language. Many of these works are also very rare, with Libreria de Antano being unable to locate other copies or sales history. Among the topics covered are history, religion, education, science, literature, poetry, travel, politics and other subjects of interest. Here are some of the books being offered.
Item 6 is described by Sabin as a "great rarity," Origen de los Indios del Nuevo Mundo, e Indias Occidentales, by Father Gregorio Garcia. This is one of the most important early works on the American Indians. Garcia conducted various ethnographic studies on the origins of the Indians, and likely had at least part of it right in concluding they were descended from various Old World races, including those of Asia. Garcia drew part of his work from an unpublished manuscript by Juan de Vetanzos, who accompanied Pizzaro on his conquests in South America. Offered is a first edition, published in 1607. Price on request.
Here is a book that is about as far removed from Spain and Spanish America as you can get. However, it was published in the Spanish language in 1839. It is Grandes descubrimientos polares terrestres y maritimos... a three-volume first Spanish edition account of John Ross' second Arctic expedition of 1829-1833. Ross had originally sought a Northwest Passage a decade earlier, but turned back after "seeing" mountains blocking his way. The mountains were actually a mirage, but Ross overruled those who so informed him. The result was that he was unable to get support for another such mission from the Royal Navy, but finally managed to get private financing for this trip. It didn't turn out all that much better, as Ross and his crew became trapped in the ice and it took them four years to escape. However, while waiting, they did succeed in finding the north magnetic pole. Item 68. $7,500.
From a book by an English explorer in Spanish we move to one about a French explorer in English. Item 31 is The history of a voyage to the Malouine (or Falkland) Islands made in 1763 and 1764 under the Command of M. Bougainville... published in 1771. Louise-Antoine de Bougainville undertook a voyage to the Falklands in hopes of setting up a French colony. His book recounts the natural history of the islands as well as some other places he visited, but his main goal was never achieved. A short time later, as part of the diplomatic maneuvering of the great powers, France sold the islands to Spain. However, Bougainville followed up this self-financed mission with an official one for his homeland, the first French circumnavigation of the globe. This first English edition contains engravings and a map that were not included in the first (French) edition. $5,750.