BERKELEY, Calif. – PBA Galleries will hold an auction of Rare Books with Science, Medicine and Natural History on November 18. The sale features more than 240 lots of rare and important books, manuscripts and related materials, with a large portion focused on medicine, science, and natural history. In addition, there is a significant collection of works by or about Winston S. Churchill; important early printings of the classics of literature and history; striking illustrated and color plate books; and gripping accounts of travel and exploration. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The most impressive lot in the sale is the complete first octavo edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. In seven volumes, with 500 hand-colored lithographed plates, it is considered the most important American color plate book of the 19th century. Included for the first time are seven new species and 17 others, previously described in the Ornithological Biography but not illustrated, are also shown for the first time. Audubon writes in his introduction to this edition that it is his wish that a work similar to his large work should be published ‘at such a price, as would enable every student or lover of nature to place it in his library’. The Audubon first octavo edition carries an estimate of $60,000-$90,000.
Early works are among the featured lots, led by a large original illuminated manuscript leaf on vellum from the famous 14th century Bohun Bible is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
Also of note is the Omnia Platonis opera, estimated at $12,000-$18,000. A cornerstone of Western philosophy, the second of two parts of the edito priceps of the works of Plato, it was printed in the original Greek in 1513 at the Aldine Press in Venice and contains the contains the text of Republic, Timaeus, Critias, Laws, and Epistles.
Three books with exquisite illustrations also appear in the auction lineup. A first edition of Picturesque Illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video by Emeric Essex Vidalis – the only notable color plate book in English dealing with Argentina, is estimated at $7,000-$10,000. It is one of 50 large paper copies and boasts 24 hand-colored aquatint plates.
PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients and is open by appointment only. For more information about upcoming sales, to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415-989-2665 or email@example.com.
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