Science, medicine on cutting edge of PBA Galleries fine books sale April 6

Science, medicine

Giorgio Gallesio’s ‘Pomona Italiana,’ published in 1817, contains 60 full-page aquatint plates. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. PBA Galleries image


SAN FRANCISCO – A remarkable collection on early DNA research assembled by bookseller Samuel Hessel, proprietor of By the Book, L.C. will highlight the April 6 Fine Books with Science & Medicine sale by PBA Galleries. The auction will also include more than 500 lots of fine books, ephemera and other material including early printed books, color plate books, fine press books and many scientific and medical works. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Highlights of the sale include Gallessio’s Pomona Italiana and Knorr’s Conchology, both with many stunning colored plates; a large collection of finely printed works from Walter Hamady’s Perishable Press, including a complete set of all eight Gabberjabb books and many other of the rarest books of the press; early editions or Erasmus, La Fontaine, La Rochefoucauld, Voltaire and other classics; and a large selection of scientific and medical writings from the inventory of Edwin V. Glaser. Following the cataloged lots will be more than 200 lots offered without reserve.

Twenty-five lots from the personal collection of Samuel Hessel relating to early DNA research or to discoverers John D. Watson and Francis Crick will be offered. The featured item in this part of the sale is a group of seven early and seminal papers on DNA from five issues of Nature in their original journal format with two of the papers signed by both Watson and Crick (below). These articles profoundly altered the understanding of DNA and contain the first illustrations of the double helix structure of the molecule (estimate: $12,000-$18,000). Also offered in the sale is an advance review copy of Watson’s The Double Helix signed by both Nobel Laureates, Watson and Crick (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).


Science, medicine

One of the papers on DNA signed by both Watson and Crick. PBA Galleries image


A first edition of the first and most significant work on the fruits of Italy, Giorgio Gallesio’s Pomona Italiana, published in 1817 contains 60 full-page aquatint plates, partially printed in color and finished by hand. These strikingly beautiful plates are interleaved with letterpress descriptions varying in length (estimate: $15,000-$20,000). Also from the area of natural history is the first Dutch edition of Knorr’s Conchology with 190 hand-colored copper engraved plates of shells (below). Although, the work first appeared in both French and German editions, this Dutch edition features the richest coloration, most accurately depicts the actual specimens (estimate: $12,000-$18,000).


Science, medicine

First Dutch edition of Knorr’s ‘Conchology’ with 190 hand-colored copper engraved plates of shells. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000. PBA Galleries image.


Other highlights of the sale include: a complete set of all eight of the collectible Perishable Press Gabberjabb books finely crafted by Walter Hamady, a part of a large collection of Perishable Press books and ephemera in this auction (estimate $12,000-$18,000); the earliest known printing of Voltaire’s Candide (below), the blasphemous and one of the most famous clandestine works of the 18th century (estimate: $2,500-$3,500); and a rare second issue of the first printing of one of the most influential investing books ever published, Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd (estimate $3,000-$5,000).


Science, medicine

Earliest known printing of Voltaire’s blasphemous ‘Candide.’ Estimate: $2,500-$3,500. PBA Galleries image


The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific time. For more information, contact PBA at 415-989-2665 or