Early Printed Books: May 4, 2023 Auction Highlights

Lot 281: William Shakespeare, King Lear; Othello; and Anthony & Cleopatra; Extracted from the First Folio, London, 1623. Estimate $60,000 to $80,000.
This spring’s EPB sale features the third installment from Ken Rapoport’s collection, showcasing a large group of pre-Restoration quarto plays (lots 1-143). Representation from Shakespeare will also grace the sale, with excerpts from the first folio; along with a 1634 first quarto edition of The Two Noble Kinsman, and other plays penned by the Bard. With more than 140 lots of early quarto plays, collectors focusing on rare Elizabethan and Caroline drama will have much to ponder.

A period hand-colored edition of Tasso’s La Gieursalemme Libertata features extraordinary work, with full-page engravings colored completely by hand in atmospheric chalky bluish blacks highlighted in gold. The first-generation printers are represented by a 1473 edition of Saint Augustine’s De Civitate Dei printed in Mainz by Peter Schoeffer.

Left: Lot 287: Torquato Tasso, La Gerusalemme Liberate con le Figure di Bernardo Castello; e le Annotationi di Scipio Gentilire, e di Giulio Guastavini, first illustrated edition, Genoa, 1590. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000; right: Lot 165: Saint Augustine of Hippo, De Civitate Dei, Mainz, 1473. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.

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Lovers of decorative books and bindings will enjoy 18th century French coiffure and costume books; an English edition of the Psalms from 1641 in a beautiful silver binding; another 17th century New Testament and Psalms bound in period embroidered silk; and an Italian Missal in a fancy beaded binding.

Left: Lot 194: Coiffure & Costume Plates: Louis XVI Era, Recueil Général de Coeffures de Différents Gouts, Où l’on voit la manière dont se Coëffoient les Femmes, sous différens règnes, A commencer en 1589 jusqu’en 1778, first edition, Paris, 1778. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000; right: Lot 169: The New Testament; bound with The Whole Booke of Psalmes, London, 1640. Estimate $3,000 to $5,000.
Lot 264: Francesco Petrarca, Von der Artzney bayder Glück, folio in two parts, Augsburg, 1532. Estimate $3,000 to $5,000.

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