BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, November 17, PBA Galleries will host a Rare Books & Manuscripts sale with more than 250 lots of valuable and interesting books in all fields, with select manuscript material and other rarities. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. Dating from the 14th to the 21st centuries, the items range from early editions of Don Quixote to imaginative artists’ books from the past decade, as well as striking color plate books from the 19th century, shelves of finely bound literary sets, fine printing from the Arion Press and others, science and medical works spanning more than 400 years, illustrated books, natural history, astronomy and photography.
One highlight from the sale is an exceptional set of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a 20-year endeavor worked on from 1776 to 1788. The six volumes, all first editions, are beautifully bound in period full mottled calf with spines ornately tooled in gilt. It is estimated at $30,000-$50,000.
Other highlights include the revised and expanded edition of North American Herpetology by John Edwards Holbrook, the first comprehensive illustrated account of the reptile class in American zoology. It consists of five volumes with 147 hand-colored lithographed plates. The author may have burned copies of the three-volume first edition from dissatisfaction with the color plates. The version in the auction carries an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. Also from the natural history offerings is Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America by John Cassin. This second edition from 1862 is finely bound in later full morocco, contains 50 color lithographs, and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Also featured is an unquestionably unique lot: Albert Einstein’s Meaning of Relativity, signed and inscribed by the great physicist to Yandall Woodfin in 1953, when the future Baptist minister and educator was studying theology at Princeton. It has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.
Another November 17 standout, which is rarely sold as a complete set, is The World in Miniature, containing 43 volumes with some 650 hand-colored engraved plates, and carrying an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
Completing the highlights is a marvelous and massive edition of James Cook’s famed Beautiful Seaweeds Illustrated by Natural Specimens, graced by 42 leaves of mounted and pressed specimens of seaweed. Its estimate is $2,000-$3,000.
For more information about upcoming sales, or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or email@example.com.
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