NEW YORK – On Wednesday, December 21, starting at 7 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will present a sale titled 15th-19th Century Antique Books Collection. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Laden with more than 800 lots, the December 21 auction provides literally dozens upon dozens of choices for those seeking antique and rare books, including incunabula. Works with a religious theme are, of course, plentiful, and include a 1716 Dutch-text Bible with maps, a plan of Jerusalem, and its original full leather binding with intact brass clasps, catches and corner pieces; a 1654 tome in Latin on the iconology of the Virgin of Montevergine, also known as the Black Madonna; a 1585 Gilbert Genebrard commentary, in Latin, on Solomon’s Songs; and a three-volume 1727 Dutch translation of Antonio Gavin’s vituperative attack on Catholicism.
Icons of literature are led by a 1745 Latin text printing of Aesop’s Fables; a beautifully engraved 1704 Dutch-language rendition of the works of the Roman historian and politician Tacitus; and an early 19th-century 15-volume set reflecting the life’s work of Italian playwright and librettist Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni.
Also worthy of mention are a circa-1890 Persian (Farsi) and Arabic grammar manuscript; an artist’s manual printed in Dutch and dating to 1730; and a two-volume 1728 collection of writings on the dreaded venereal disease syphilis that stretches to the year 1500.
Among the highlights of the December 21 auction are a 1596 first edition of Giusto Lipsio’s study on the war machines of ancient Rome, printed in Greek and Latin and amply illustrated with engravings. It has an estimate of $1,500-$2,000.
Another clear standout is a complete 18-volume Latin-text set of the works of the famed fourth century theologian and philosopher St. Augustine, published in Lyon between 1560 and 1563. Its estimate is $12,000-$14,000.
But perhaps the most intriguing lot in the sale is not a book, but a tool for making them: an 1809 book press, hand-carved from rosewood. It measures 16in high and is described as being in “very good condition.” The lot notes take pains to point out that the book shown gripped in the plates of the press is not part of the offering. The antique book press carries an estimate of $2,000-$2,500.
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