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Lot 53

53: John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica 1564

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Description

Title: Monas hieroglyphica
Author: Dee, John
Description: 28 leaves. A-G4. Title with woodcut architectural border and arms of the Emperor Maximilian, to whom the book is dedicated. With woodcut diagrams within. (4to) 18.1x14 cm. (7¼x5½"), modern wrappers. First Edition.Very Rare and Important First Edition of Dee’s Masterwork, in which he presents and explains his “Hieroglyphic Monad”: a synthetic graphic figure at once summarizing and symbolizing the key forces operative in Nature. Dee said he discovered the Monas through “Platonic Remembrance,” and he claimed that its study would revolutionize the sciences. The most learned man in England, Dee authored both scientific and philosophical works, and he actively promoted the practical sciences of navigation and cartography in England – training many of those who would pilot England’s voyages of discovery. Dee’s high status as a scholar earned him the rank of some-time advisor and tutor to Queen Elizabeth, and by some accounts he was also her spymaster ( the original “007”, which purportedly was the “eyeglass” insignia used by Elizabeth in her secret communiqués to him). The Monas Hieroglyphica was highly regarded by the illuminati, and Queen Elizabeth herself is said to have been tutored in it by Dee. The Macclesfield copy (bound with a 1505 printing of Hermes Trismegistus) sold in 2005 for $70,400 (hammer price).
Heading: Place Published: Antuerpiae [Antwerp]
Publisher: Guliel. Silvius Typog. Regius
Date Published: 1564

Condition

With ownership signature to top right corner of title-page, and bookplate on inside of front wrapper. Title-page darkened, trimmed close at bottom edge just affecting the frame, small chip to lower left corner affecting the corner of the frame, letter "N" inked in right margin in early hand; light foxing to contents, very good.

Lot Passed

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22.5% up to 100,000
17.5% above 100,001

Estimate $50,000 – $80,000
Starting Bid $40,000
live auction started on
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11:00 AM - May 10, 2012
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