Auctions | September 30, 2021

Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries October 14

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Detail from Sebastian Brant's Stultifera Navis, Nuremberg, 1497. Estimate $15,000-20,000

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.

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, Nuremberg, 1497 ($15,000-20,000); a first edition of Robert Estienne’s Alphabetum Graecum, Paris, 1543, printed with Claude Garamond’s first font of Greek type, the elegant Grecs du Roi ($4,000-6,000); a first illustrated edition of Matthias de L’Obel’s Plantarum seu Stirpium Icones, Antwerp, 1581 ($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 ($3,000-4,000).

Travel books feature a first edition of Recueil de Divers Voyages Faits en Afrique et en l’Amerique, Paris, 1674, edited by Henri Justel ($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, Washington D.C., 1856, with secretarial note signed by Ulysses S. Grant ($3,000-5,000). Also of note is Views in Northern Africa, a collection of watercolor drawings dated in the 1830s and 40s by Charles Hamilton Smith ($10,000-15,000); and Costumes et Plantes de L’Hindoustan, India, pre-1842, 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 ($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, Cheltenham, 1806 ($2,000-3,000); and Alexander Monro’s Observations on the Structure and Functions of the Nervous System, Edinburgh, 1783 ($1,000-1,500). Additional material relating to the sciences is a large archive of correspondence and documents from 1883 to 1930 from ichthyologists Carl and Rosa Eigenmann—Rosa is considered the first woman ichthyologist in the United States ($3,000-5,000); and three volumes of manuscript notes from 1771 to 1772 by William Cullen ($1,000-1,500).

Religious printings will include a 1550 printing of the New Testament in Greek ($6,000-8,000), and a seventeenth century manuscript "Missa de Pentecostes," Spain, containing chants to be sung on Sundays after Pentecost ($4,000-6,000).

Limited open exhibition hours will be available from October 11 through October 13. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be scheduled directly with a specialist. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with a specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.
Additional highlights can be found here.