Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2017 Issue

The Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books Offer a Spring Catalogue

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Spring Catalogue 2017.

The Antiquariaat Forum and Asher Rare Books have offered their Spring Catalogue 2017. The selection is varied, with the common element being the material easily qualifies for being antiquarian. Anything that was of interest long ago, from travels, natural history, science, religion, conflicts, and more are fair game for this catalogue. These are a few selections.

 

There was a lot of incorrect medical advice being given out a few centuries ago, undoubtedly more bad than good. However, it would be incorrect to say the claims made in this book are wrong. After all, claimed properties about something that doesn't exist really aren't wrong. Item 14 is De Unicornu Observationes Novae (new observations on unicorns). The book describes the miraculous properties of unicorn horns. It was written by Thomas Bartholin, together with his son Caspar (the Younger). The Bartholins weren't quacks. They came from a family of serous scientists and medical practitioners. Thomas is noted for the discovery of the human lymphatic system. In those days, most people believed unicorns were real, and the Bartholins were able to reach their conclusions about the horns from those supplied by Icelandic traders. Thomas' uncle had earlier concluded their "unicorn" horns were actually the tusks of narwhals, a cold water whale with a long protruding tooth that looks like a tusk. Still, the Bartholins believed that unicorns were real and someone's horn was good for many things. Offered is the expanded and first illustrated second edition, published in 1678. Priced at €1,250 (euros, or approximately $1,410 in U.S. dollars).

 

Now, here is some bad advice concerning the medicinal properties of plants. Symphorien Champier was an early 16th century physician, probably the most notable doctor of the era in Lyon, France. He, too, was no quack, but in an era when deductive reasoning trumped actual observation, scientists made many errors. Champier studied Arabic medicine extensively, and in this book, he writes about Arab medicinal plants in particular. The title is Hortus Gallicus... published in 1533, consisting of three parts. With increasing use of these exotic plants in Europe, Champier concluded that they were "pernicious and venomous" for Europeans. Here was a perfect example of too much "logic" and not enough observation. He concluded the effectiveness of medicines on humans depended on the national characteristics of those people. Climate, ethnicity, religion, nationalism all came into play, with European plants being more suitable for Europeans. Champier believed that God placed the right plants for each people in their own location and so advised people to use only those indigenous to their region. Item 38. €18,000 (US $20,296).

 

Here is another case of overthinking things a bit, by a man who was part scientist, part mystic, and a lot of other things, including a playwright. Giambattista della Porta was a polymath, and while he dabbled in the occult, he also at times looked to observation, in effect, the scientific method, to reach conclusions. Item 176 is his Phytognomonica... a second edition, published in 1591. In it he places plants in their geographic locations, and provided some pioneering work on fungi. However, he also reached an interesting, if inaccurate, conclusion about plants. He believed their outer appearances indicated their healing properties, based on how their outer appearances resembled those of humans. So, for example, since the seeds of an open pomegranate line up sort of like teeth, he concluded it was good for the teeth. The maidenhair fern, a hairy sort of plant, was good for curing baldness. €1,250 (US $1,410).

 

Next we have two books bound in one volume by Michael Bapst, published in 1591: Ein newes und nutzliches Ertzney, und Wunderbuch... and Gifftjagendes Kunst unnd Haussbuch... The books provide recipes and advice on everything. Bapst was an amateur scholar, culling his advice from the writings of others. Because there is so much, he points out that he has not been able to test every recipe, so if one doesn't work, it is the original author's fault, not his. The Antiquariaat Forum notes that among the many topics in the first volume are "nose-bleeding, tooth-ache, the taming of leopards, fishing, invisible writing and giving copper the appearance of silver." The second volume covers, among other topics, "spider stings, driving out wolves, bites of lions, fishing bait, killing bats, diarrhea in chickens, preserving fruit and meat, fishing frogs and a great deal about worms." If the topic isn't in these books, it isn't worth knowing. Item 12. €2,250 (US $2,538).

 

Item 3 is one of only three copies located of the first edition of this Russian-Swedish treaty of 1809. It is written in both Russian and French, the French title being Traité de paix entre la Russie at la Seude. Ultimately, it proved important, not so much for the Russians or Swedes, but for the Finnish. It effectively settled the borders for what would become an independent Finland. The Russians and Swedes often fought each other in the old days. They had a war from 1788-1790, but reached a peace agreement. They became allies until 1801, when Russia entered into an alliance with Napoleon, France being an enemy of Sweden. Napoleon would prove not to be an ally of Russia a few years later when he invaded the country, but Tsar Alexander I must have fallen for Napoleon's charms in 1801. In 1807, Russia went to war with England, demanding that Sweden keep its ports closed to foreign warships, as required by earlier treaties. When Sweden did not, claiming French occupation of their ports prevented them, Russia invaded Sweden, and seized the ethnically Finnish lands that were long part of Sweden. By 1809, a weakened Sweden had no choice but to cede the territory to Russia, which they did via this treaty. Russia then set up the Grand Duchy of Finland, which became an independent country after the Russian Revolution. Item 3. €1,500 (US $1,691).

 

You may reach the Antiquariaat Forum at +31 (0)30 6011955 or info@forumrarebooks.com. Their website is www.forumrarebooks.com. Asher Rare Books may be reached at +31 (0)30 6011955 or info@asherbooks.com. Their website is www.asherbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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