Early Printed, Medical, and Scientific Books Upcoming at Swann Galleries

New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books on Monday, October 17 offers Bibles, classics, law books, works on anesthesia and health maintenance, and a selection of books of Iberian interest from the library of the late Portuguese historian Alvaro Cassuto.

Among the nearly 20 Bibles offered are one of four known copies of the 1555 Salamanca Biblia Sacra, the first attempt to publish the Vatable Bible in Spain, which was suppressed by the Inquisition (estimate: $8,000 to $12,000), and a second edition of the first complete Bible in Spanish, Amsterdam, 1602 ($6,000 to $9,000), both of which are from the Cassuto collection; in addition to Bibles in English, German, Arabic and Greek.

Catholic liturgical highlights include Officium beatissime virginis Marie con li officij ordinati de ciaschun tempo, Venice, circa 1525, a volume of prayers to the Virgin in a contemporary Venetian binding ($4,000 to $6,000); and the 1546 Lyon Missarum liber primus of Cristóbal de Morales, a volume of polyphonic masses by the foremost Spanish composer of the period ($8,000 to $12,000).

There are several beautiful manuscript leaves on vellum dating back as far as the 13th century, as well as a late 19th/early 20th century painting by the Spanish Forger on a portion of a 15th century choirbook leaf, depicting a juggler, bagpiper, and courtly couple ($1,000 to $2,000).

Other early printed books of note are classics such as Juvenal’s Satyrae, Venice, 1482 ($4,000 to $6,000), and the only Aldine edition of Plautus’s Ex Plauti comedies XXI, Venice, 1522 ($1,500 to $2,500); Jacobus Philippus de Bergamo’s popular world chronicle, Supplementum chronicarum, Venice, 1490 ($10,000 to $15,000); a first edition of John Milton’s Paradise Regain’d, two volumes in one, London, 1671 ($3,000 to $4,000); and illustrated travel books, including Vincenzo Coronelli, Memorie Istoriografiche de' Regni della Morea, Venice, 1686, and a first edition in English of Peter Simon Pallas’s Travels though the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire, in the Years 1793 and 1794, London, 1802-03 ($2,000 to $3,000 each).

Featured in the medical and scientific section of the sale is a copy of Benjamin Franklin and William Heberden's Some Account of the Success of Inoculation for the Small-Pox in England and America, which includes Franklin’s statistical account of smallpox inoculation in Boston during the epidemic of 1753-54, first edition, London, 1759 ($6,000 to $9,000).

Among other highlights are the first Vesalian edition of Galen’s Omnia opera, Venice, 1541-42 ($2,500 to $3,500); Sir Kenelm Digby's Discours . . . Touchant la Guerison des Playes par la Poudre de Sympathie, Paris, 1658, on a form of healing magic; and Metallotheca, a posthumously published catalogue of the collection of rocks, fossils and minerals assembled by Michele Mercati, superintendent of the Vatican botanical garden, Rome, 1717 ($4,000 to $6,000).

A run of works on anesthesia includes two inscribed and signed copies of Walter Channing’s Two Cases of Inhalation of Ether in Instrumental Labor, in its first separate edition, Boston 1847 ($1,000 to $2,000 each). Two additional autograph items are a copy of Charles Babbage’s On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, inscribed by the author to his brother-in-law, London, 1832 ($1,500 to $2,500); and an Autograph Note Signed from Sir William Osler, thanking the addressee for condolences on the death of Osler's son in the First World War, Oxford, 16 September 1917 ($1,500 to $2,500).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 17. The books will be on public exhibition Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Monday, October 17, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Tobias Abeloff at (212) 254-4710, extension 18, or via e-mail at tabeloff@swanngalleries.com.

Live online bidding is also available via Artfact.com.

Auction Guide