Rare Books &c. at Auction This Week

Dominic Winter Auctioneers will sell Printed Books, Maps & Documents on Wednesday, November 7, in 582 lots. A first edition of de Bergamo's De claribus mulieribus (1497), described as "one of the finest and most beautiful early Italian illustrated books and the first to attempt life-like portraits," is estimated at £7,000-10,000. A collection of more than 370 Chinese botanical watercolors from around 1700 (one pictured below) could sell for £5,000-8,000. A rare proof copy of Thomas Bradshaw's Views in Mauritius, from the library of the first British governor of the island, is estimated at £3,000-5,000.  

Christie's online sale On the Shoulders of Giants: Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking, ends on Thursday, November 8. All 52 lots in this sale are quite extraordinary, from an inscribed photostatic copy of Stephen Hawking's dissertation (£100,000-150,000) to a Newton manuscript of extracts from an alchemical work (£80,000-100,000). The top-estimated Darwin lot is an 1876 letter to Henry Nottidge Moseley in which Darwin defends the idea of evolution by natural selection.

Also on Thursday, Swann Galleries holds an Autographs sale, in 374 lots. An August 1861 Robert E. Lee letter to a field colonel in the Kanawha Valley (in what is now West Virginia) is estimated at $15,000-25,000. A letter written by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State to the Governor of Maryland about the Genêt affair could sell for $10,000-20,000. A pencil sketch by JFK on Senate stationery showing his World War II boat PT-109 is estimated at $5,000-7,500.  

A third sale on Thursday is the Food and Drink auction at PBA Galleries, in 373 lots. Rating the top estimate there at $8,000-12,000 is Abby Fisher's What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking (1881), the second published cookbook written by an African-American woman. A copy of the first Creole cookbook, The Creole Cookery Book (1885), could fetch $5,000-8,000 (a second copy, rebound, rates the same estimate).

Finally, the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society holds another of its auctions of rare and used books on Friday, November 11. See the full PDF catalog.