Swann Galleries' April Early Printed Books Auction Highlights Central Asian Travel

Lot-68-Nova-Legenda copy.jpgNew York— On Tuesday, April 12, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books, featuring early English books and travel texts focusing on the exploration of Central Asia.

            Standouts among the travel books include a first edition of John Biddulph’s Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh, Calcutta, 1880, previously owned by the anthropologist Sir James Frazer, writer of The Golden Bough. Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh is estimated at $1,000 to $2,000. A first edition of Sir Alexander Cunningham’s Ladák, Physical, Statistical and Historical, London, 1854, will also be on offer ($2,000 to $3,000). A pioneer in the field of mountaineering and climbing companion to the famous Aleister Crowley, Oscar Johannes Ludwig Eckenstein’s The Karakorams and Kashmir, An Account of a Journey, first edition, London, 1896, is included in the auction ($800 to $1,200). Completing the strong travel section is a run of works by Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein, including a first edition of Serindia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China, Oxford, 1921. This five-volume set is from the library of Stein’s friend and collaborator Fred H. Andrews and is estimated at $6,000 to $9,000.

            The medical books selection features a scarce first edition of Matthew Turner’s An Account of the Extraordinary Medicinal Fluid, called Aether, [Liverpool], 1761, in which Turner advocated the use of ether for a wide variety of ailments, including headaches and other pain ($5,000 to $7,000). Another rarity is an early pharmacy manual, Lumen apothecariorum, Venice, 21 January 1512, by Quiricus de Augustus ($1,500 to $2,500). The Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton’s extensive study of depression, is also featured. A second edition published in Oxford, 1624, The Anatomy of Melancholy is one of the most popular psychiatric texts ever published ($1,500 to $2,500).

            Among scientific books is Marcel Tolkowsky’s Diamond Design, first edition, London & New York, 1919, the first systematic mathematical analysis of the optics of diamonds ($1,000 to $2,000). Also included is Petrus Constantius Albinius’s Magia astrologica, Paris, 1611, a commentary on a work by Petrus Arlensis de Scudalupis dealing with the astrological relations of metals and gems with planets ($1,000 to $2,000).

            The early printed books section of the sale features a first edition of Nova legenda Anglie, (London, 27 February 1516), a compilation of English saints’ lives by 14th-century chronicler John of Tynemouth ($8,000 to $12,000); as well as a handsome second edition three-volume set of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles … to the Yeare 1586, (London, 1587),  “the first continuous and authoritative narrative account of British history written in the vernacular,” and the principal source for Shakespeare’s history plays ($6,000 to $9,000). Also included is a first edition of Reginald Scot’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft, (London), 1584, “the first English-language discourse on witchcraft and conjuring tricks” ($10,000 to $15,000).

The auction will be held Tuesday, April 12, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Friday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 9 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 6p.m.; and Tuesday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated auction 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 or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Early Printed Books Specialist Tobias Abeloff at 212-254-4710, extension 18 or tabeloff@swanngalleries.com.


Lot 68Nova Legenda Anglie, first edition, London, Wynkyn de Worde, 1516. Estimate $8,000 to $12,000.

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