• <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Macbeth: A Tragedy.</i> London, 1673. FIRST SEPARATE AND FIRST QUARTO EDITION. THE CHARLTON HESTON COPY. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>In Our Time.</i> Paris, 1924. FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> VERNE, JULES. <i>A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.</i> New York & London, 1872. FIRST EDITION, RARE AMERICAN ISSUE, with Scribner & Welford cancel title. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> PLATO. <i>Timaeus</i> [AND] <i>Critias</i> [from Ficini's 1484 Opera]. A LANDMARK OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. $80,000 to $120,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> CLEMENS, SAMUEL L. <i>The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.</i> Hartford: The American Publishing Company, 1876. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> BATEMAN, JAMES. <i>The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala.</i> London: J. Ridgway & Sons for the author, [1837]-1843. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> WHITMAN, WALT. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn: [For the author by Andrew and James Rome,] 1855. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> LEE, HARPER. Three “Seckatary Hawkins”-related books inscribed and signed by Harper Lee. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> POE, EDGAR ALLAN. <i>The Raven.</i> New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. $120,000 to $180,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2019 Issue

Antiquarian and Rare Books from Erasmushaus


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>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Churchill (Winston) & Others. 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, 27 April 1944. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> First English edition, 1922. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Belzoni (Giovanni Battista). <i>Plates Illustrated of the Researches and Operations...in Egypt and Nubia,</i> FIRST EDITION, 1821-1822. £14,375 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Astor (John Jacob). A collection of rare letters, 9 January 1812- 4 September 1837. £26,000 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 1997. £27,500 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Royal Family. Photograph of Queen Elizabeth, George VI, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, signed, 1946. £3,640 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Collodi (Carlo). <i>Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino,</i> FIRST EDITION, 1883. £8,401 inc Buyers Premium.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Currier & Ives, <i>The Mississippi in Time of Peace,</i> hand-colored lithograph, 1865. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Hartmann Schedel, <i>Liber Cronicarum...,</i> Nuremberg, 1493. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Claudius Ptolemaeus, <i>Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo,</i> Lyons, 1535. $20,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Thomas Jefferys, <i>The American Atlas,</i> London, 1776-77. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> John Speed, <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> 20 miniature maps, London, 1665. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> <i>Biblia Das ist: Die Gantze Heilige Schrifft Durch D. Martin Luther Verteutscht,</i> illustrated cartographic Bible, Basel, 1665. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Early Hawaiian-language school geography, Lahainaluna Seminary, 1840. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Cornelis de Jode, <i>Africae Vera Forma, et Situs,</i> Antwerp, 1593. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Maria Vincenzo Coronelli, <i>America Settentrionale Colle Nuove Scoperte Sin All Anno,</i> Venice, 1688. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Christoph Volkamer, <i>Nürnbergische Hesperides,</i> Nuremberg, 1708-1714. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Bayer, <i>Uranometria, Omnium Asterismorum Continens Schemata...,</i> 51 celestial charts, c. 1603. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Manuscript map of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship squadron at Edo Bay, with manuscript sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Japan, c. 1853. $2,500 to $3,500.

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