Auctions | January 31, 2022

Scarce First Edition Vesalius Offered at Catawiki

Courtesy of Catawiki

Amsterdam — Every now and again, those of us lucky enough to be immersed in the world of antique books come across something that particularly excites us.
It may be the age and edition that is exciting. This particular book is a first edition from 1543.
Perhaps it is the importance of the work. The author of this book has often been called “the father of modern human anatomy” and this particular book as “one of the most influential works” on the subject.
Maybe it is the illustrations and engravings that draw us in. With 22 full woodcuts and hundreds of other smaller figures, this item ticks that particular box.
Or maybe we just like skeletons!  Whatever the reason, you have possibly realised that I am referring to Andreas Vesalius’ work De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem and I am sure you will agree that it is a wonderful thing.
We are pleased to offer a substantially complete copy of the first edition (sadly it lacks the title page and the portrait is in facsimile) in auction without a reserve. The book is full of beautiful woodcuts, widely considered masterpieces of engraving. Vesalius (the Latinized form of the Dutch Andries van Wesel) was the first to go against the perceived wisdom of Galen -- who had been unchallenged for centuries. As such, this was a seminal work.
Often achieving auction prices in excess of €80.000, it is almost unknown to find a copy offered without a reserve price. You can see full details and condition report by looking at the lot here.
This book is one of over 900 books and maps being offered in Catawiki’s No Reserve Days (7th & 8th Feb). In fact, across the whole of Catawiki, every item that closes on these two days is being offered without reserve. From jewellery to cars, from archaeological finds to …. Well a first edition Vesalius. You can find the Old and Rare No Reserve auction here or if you would like to have a wider look, do drop by to the Catawiki home page.
The auction is online closing Monday 07 Feb 2022 at 18:01 UTC and is visible at the following link:
Francesco Magnani, category Lead Books at Catawiki: “It is great to see such an important example of Vesalius's groundbreaking work go under the hammer at Catawiki. Particularly when it is offered without a reserve price — giving wider access to book lovers around the world.”