NEW YORK – Comedies by the Roman playwright Terence, a book of sermons by Franciscus de Maioranis, and a Bible printed in 1616 will likely earn top lot status at Jasper52’s 15th to 19th Century Antique Books Collection sale, which will take place on Wednesday, August 17 at 7 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Other lots in the sale include numerous Bibles from across the ages, as well as a Torah scroll fragment on vellum and a 19th-century Sharia law book, handwritten in Arabic; several 18th-century publications in varied languages on the voyages of Captain James Cook; a 1580 Italian-language printing of Ovid’s Metamorphosis; and an illustrated 1777 book of the writings of Erasmus, translated into French.
Also on offer are books of poetry by Petrarch, Juvenal and Persius Flaccus, Horace and George Buchanan; two illustrated three-volume sets published in French in 1817, one featuring Homer’s Iliad and the other Homer’s Odyssey; a 1918 first edition of Marie Stopes’s Married Love; an illustrated 1671 work, in Latin, on the history of ancient headdresses and also the Roman toga; and a chronology of paper-making, dating to 1864. Non-book lots of interest include a 1730 map showing Ukraine, Russia and Crimea; a 1625 woodcut of soldiers playing dice after Guercino, by the artist’s favorite engraver, Giovanni Battista Pasqualini; and a tiny metal case in the shape of a miniature book.
Two of the three highlights of the August 17 sale are incunabula, a plural word for books that were published before 1501, making them exceptionally early printed works. The elder of the two is a 1491 book of sermons by Franciscus de Maioranis, a Franciscan who wrote on theology and Aristotelian philosophy. Its title translates as Sermons from Advent to Lent, and it is estimated at $4,000-$5,000. The book is rendered more intriguing for sporting the ink stamp of a Capuchin convent on its title page as well as an 1824 inscription on that page by a C.R. Fox, who noted, “I had this Book bound at Malta soon after I bought it.”
The other incunabulum is a 1499 third illustrated edition of the comedic plays of the Roman African playwright Terence, estimated at $12,000-$14,000. It features six full-page woodcuts and more than 150 smaller woodcuts, which the lot notes state “represent the first attempt to reproduce stage settings in a realistic way.”
The final highlight is a 1616 printing of the influential Geneva version of the Bible, bound with an undated book of common prayer and also a 1609 copy of The Whole Booke of Psalms. Its text is in English and it is estimated at $3,500-$4,000.
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