Top Lots: Fine Books, Including Incunabula & Writing Manuals

Swann’s April 11, 2013 auction of Fine Books saw a stunning collection of early printed books–including incunabula, as well as examples of illustrated books, literature and writing manuals. The day brought in more than a million dollars, with 97% of the lots finding buyers!

John James Audubon and John Bachman, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Imperial Folio edition, New York, 1845-48.

The sale’s most highly anticipated and top selling lot was an Imperial Folio edition of John James Audubon and John Bachman’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-48), containing 150 hand-colored plates, bringing in $288,000.

Aristotle, Decaelo et mundo, with commentary by Thomas Aquinas and Petrus de Alvernia, Venice, 1495.

Top sales also went to Greece’s greatest with a second edition Latin translation of Plato’s Opera, 1491, selling for $21,600 as well as an exquisitely bound third edition of Aristotle’s De caelo et mundo, 1495. 

Leaf from a paper copy of the Gutenberg Bible, circa 1450-55.

Two first editions by Charles Darwin saw fierce bidding. His On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1859, brought $72,000. While Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventures and Beagle, 1839, brought $60,000. Another standout was a leaf from The Gutenberg Bible, circa 1455-55, which sold for $55,200.