Top Lots: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books

The February 28 auction of Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books offered a number of incunabula, early printed editions of Greek plays by Euripides, Pindar and Sophocles as well as illuminated manuscript leaves and scientific texts with stunning illustrations. The top lot of the sale was Juan González de Mendoza’s The Historie of the Great and Mightie Kingdome of China, London, 1588, which brought $45,600. Another González de Mendoza book, Il Gran Regno della China, which features a very early map of China and Japan, sold for $11,400. 

Juan González de Mendoza, Il Gran Regno della China, first edition, Florence, 1589.

A first edition of The King James Bible, printed in London in 1611, realized $28,800. Other featured bibles and religious texts included a Greek New Testament that belonged to Samuel JohnsonTes Kaines Diathekes Apanta . . . Novum Jesu Christi . . . Testamentum, Frankfurt 1601, a gift from translator John Hoole, which brought $15,600.

The Holy Bible, first edition of the King James Bible, London, 1611.

Among early philosophical texts, a first edition of Baruch Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus sold for $22,800. A controversial text by the Dutch thinker who suggested that philosophy and religion should be independent of one another, the book was banned in the late 17th century. 

Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus, first edition, Hamburg, 1670.