Auctions | February 22, 2019

Swann Galleries' Spring Offering of Early Printed Books on March 7

Lot 57-Carrera copy.jpgNew York -- Early manuscripts, incunabula and post-incunabula lead Swann Galleries’ sale of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books on March 7.  

Illuminated manuscripts make an impression with a Prayer Book in Latin and French on vellum, France, 1530s-40s, featuring 20 large and 15 smaller miniature illustrations in color and gold. The prayer book was possibly executed for a Benedictine abbess shown in one of the miniatures, and leads the sale with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Additional decorated works include a mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, France, with full floral borders surrounding each of 12 miniatures, and a mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours in Dutch on vellum, Northern Netherlands, (Estimate: $15,000-20,000 and $8,00-12,000, respectively). 

Science and medical publications include first editions of George Agricola’s most important writings on geology, mineralogy and mining, and his monograph on ancient Greek and Roman weights and measures: De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib. V bound with De mensuris & ponderibus Romanorum atque Graecorum Lib. V, Basel, 1546, 1550, ($6,000-9,000); as well as a first edition of Frederick Ruysch’s Icon durae matris in concave [convexa] superficie visae, Amsterdam, 1737-38, with two color mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral of the outermost membrane of a human brain.

Incunabula is led by a handsome wide-margined copy of Lectura super V libris Decretalium, Basil, 1477, by Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis, part five of six of the commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX which contains the portions on marriage and criminal procedure ($4,000-6,000). Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Quaestiones de duodecim quodlibet, Venice, 1476, and a first edition of Arbor vitae crucifixae Jesu Christi, Venice, 1485, by Ubertinus de Casali ensure a stand out section ($3,000-4,000 and $3,000-5,000, respectively).

Additional highlights include a first Ibarra edition of Cervantes’s El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha … Nueva Edición, corregida por la Real Academia Española, Madrid, 1780, in four volumes. The work has been called “The finest edition of Don Quixote that has ever been printed,” and carries an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. Il Gioco de gli Scacchi, Militello, 1617, by Pietro Carrera, a first edition of one of the scarcest early Italian chess manuals, and the first book printed in Militello, is expected to bring $4,000 to $6,000; Michel de Nostradamus’s The True Prophecies or Prognostications, first complete edition in English, London, 1672, comes across the block at $2,500 to $3,500; and a first edition of Medices legatus de exsilio, Venice, 1522, by Petrus Alcyonius, recounting two imaginary dialogues between Giovanni and Giulio de’ Medici in 1512 on the subject of exile. The two were later exiled from Florence along with their nephew Lorenzo ($2,000-3,000). 

Exhibition opening in New York City March 2. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 57: Pietro Carrera, Il Gioco de gli Scacchi, first edition, Militello, 1617. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.