NEW YORK — The Thursday, October 14 sale of Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries features travel, medicine, and science publications, and offers a chance for rare book buyers to travel through time and around the world to shop for historically and culturally significant works and objects. The auction presents a curated selection of Renaissance and early modern printing, including scholarly editions of Greek and Latin classics; manuscripts and early printing; a curated selection of medical works; and books that document global contributions to our shared culture. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Incunabula and early printing will feature Sebastian Brant’s popular satirical allegory with 112 short pieces meant to mock the church, ruling classes, scholars and more, Stultifera Navis, published in Nuremberg in 1497, which is estimated at $15,000-$20,000; a first edition of Robert Estienne’s Alphabetum Graecum, published in Paris in 1543, and printed with Claude Garamond’s first font of Greek type, the elegant Grecs du Roi, estimated at $4,000-$6,000; a first illustrated edition of Matthias de L’Obel’s Plantarum seu Stirpium Icones, printed in Antwerp in 1581 and estimated at $4,000-$6,000; and a second edition of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogo, Florence, 1710, which includes essays by Kepler and Antonio Foscarini that aim to bring Galileo’s findings into line with Vatican teachings, and also includes the Vatican’s condemnation and the statement Galileo was forced to make disavowing his own work, estimated at $3,000-$4,000.
Travel books feature a first edition of Recueil de Divers Voyages Faits en Afrique et en l’Amerique, printed in Paris in 1674, edited by Henri Justel, and estimated at $4,000-$6,000; and a special presentation copy of Matthew Calbraith Perry and Francis L. Hawks’s Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas & Japan, printed in Washington D.C. in 1856, with a secretarial note signed by Ulysses S. Grant. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Also of note is Views in Northern Africa, a collection of watercolor drawings dated to the 1830s and 1840s by Charles Hamilton Smith, which is estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and Costumes et Plantes de L’Hindoustan, published in India before 1842. It consists of two manuscript volumes, with the first dedicated to deities and the stories of their extraordinary adventures, and the second dedicated to the people of the region with wonderful details of the period, and estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Science and medical books are on offer with an author’s presentation copy of Edward Jenner’s On the Varieties and Modifications of the Vaccine Pustule, Occasioned by an Herpetic State of the Skin, published in Cheltenham in 1806 and estimated at $2,000-$3,000; and Alexander Monro’s Observations on the Structure and Functions of the Nervous System, published in Edinburgh in 1783 and estimated at $1,000-$1,500. Additional material relating to the sciences is a large archive of correspondence and documents from 1883 to 1930, estimated at $3,000-$5,000, from ichthyologists Carl and Rosa Eigenmann — Rosa is considered the first woman ichthyologist in the United States; and also three volumes of manuscript notes from 1771 to 1772 by William Cullen, estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
Religious printings will include a 1550 printing of the New Testament in Greek, estimated at $6,000-$8,000, and a 17th-century manuscript Missa de Pentecostes, Spain, containing chants to be sung on Sundays after Pentecost, estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
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