Records & Results: Early Printed Books

On Thursday, March 9, Swann Galleries offered a morning auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books.

 

Lot 73: A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, enclosed in A. Edward Newton's A Noble Fragment, Mainz, 1455. Sold March 9, 2017 for $52,500.

Lot 73: A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, in Newton’s A Noble Fragment, Mainz, 1455. Sold March 9, 2017 for $52,500.

 

A leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, 1455, topped the sale. The remnant of the first book ever printed was hinged in a 1921 folio of A Noble Fragment; being, A Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible by A. Edward Newton. The leaf contains the text of Ecclesiasticus 16:14-18-29; it was purchased by a collector for $52,500.

 

728468

Lot 12: The Bible and Holy Scriptures in English, first edition of the Geneva Bible, Geneva, 1560. Sold March 9, 2017 for $22,500.

 

Nearly all of the offered bibles sold, including the first edition of the Geneva Bible, the most popular bible in Elizabethan England, which was printed in 1560; it sold for $22,500. The first English-language edition of Hans Holbein’s The Images of the Old Testament, 1549, with 94 woodcut illustrations by the artist, sold for $11,875.

 

Lot 11: Hans Holbein, The Images of the Old Testament, with 94 woodcut illustrations, Lyon, 1549. Sold March 9, 2017 for $11,875.

Lot 11: Hans Holbein, The Images of the Old Testament, with 94 woodcut illustrations, Lyon, 1549. Sold March 9, 2017 for $11,875.

 

Premier examples of English printing included a run of first editions by David Hume, led by Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, 1748, which brought $4,500, and the 1751 An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, which was purchased for $4,000, twice its high estimate.

 

Lot 64: David Hume, Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, first edition, London, 1748. Sold March 9, 2017 for $4,500.

Lot 64: David Hume,Philosophical Essays
Concerning Human Understanding
, first edition,
London, 1748. Sold March 9, 2017 for $4,500.

 

From the Medical and Scientific sections of the sale came an archive of 21 friendly letters from Harvey Cushing to Agnes Willard Bartlett, the great-niece of Elisha Bartlett, which was purchased for $13,750. Bartlett has written to Cushing regarding his biography of her great-uncle and they kept up a correspondence. Expositio super Antidotario Mesue, 1488, by Christophorus Georgius de Honestis, the second edition of a late fourteenth-century commentary on the Antidotarium ascribed to the Baghdad court physician Mesuë the Younger, tripled its high estimate to sell for $15,000.

 

Lot 140: Christophorus Georgius de Honestis, Expositio super Antidotario Mesue, Bologna, 1488. Sold March 9, 2017 for $15,000.

Lot 140: Christophorus Georgius de Honestis, Expositio super Antidotario Mesue, Bologna, 1488. Sold March 9, 2017 for $15,000.

 

The sale featured a strong selection of travel books, led by Jan Nieuhoff’s narratives of the Dutch East India Company’s missions to China, titled An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperour of China, 1671, which sold for $7,500.

 

Lot 234: Jan Nieuhoff et al, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, with 17 engraved plates, London, 1671. Sold March 9, 2017 for $7,500.

Lot 234: Jan Nieuhoff et al, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, with 17 engraved plates, London, 1671.
Sold March 9, 2017 for $7,500.

 

Each of the eight offered manuscripts found buyers, with the highlight being a collection of 15 illustrated prayers by Charles V of Spain, titled Oraciones de los SS. Mysterios Gloriosos y Dolorosos de la Santissima Virgen Maria, 1676, which was purchased for $9,375.

 

Lot 124: Oraciones, manuscript in Spanish on vellum, with 15 engravings, Brussels, 1676. Sold March 9, 2017 for $9,375.

Lot 124: Oraciones, manuscript in Spanish on vellum, with 15 engravings, Brussels, 1676. Sold March 9, 2017 for $9,375.

 

For complete results, browse the full catalogue.