Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries April 8

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Nicolaus Copernicus, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, second edition, Basel, 1566. Estimate $60,000 to $80,000.
Nicolaus Copernicus, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, second edition, Basel, 1566. Estimate $60,000 to $80,000.

New York—Early Printed Books are at Swann Galleries Thursday, April 8 with noteworthy publications relating to early printed medical, scientific and travel works, including a selection of incunabula.

Scientific books lead the sale with the second edition of De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, Basel, 1566, by Nicolaus Copernicus, which contains Narratio Prima by Georg Joachim Rheticus’s—Copernicus’s only pupil—not included with the first edition of De Revolution ($60,000-80,000); the first complete edition in English of Euclid’s The Elements of Geometrie, London, 1570 ($30,000-40,000); a first edition of Stanislaw Lubieniecki’s history of comets, Theatrum Cometicum, Duabus Partibus Constans, Amsterdam, 1668 ($8,000-12,000); and a first edition of Johann Zahn’s important work on the telescope, Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus sive Telescopium, Wurzburg, 1685–86 ($8,000-10,000).

Publications on medicine are on offer with Der Spiegel der Artzney bound with Gart der Gesuntheit; zu Latin Ortus Sanitatis, Strasboug, 1529, by Lorenz Fries ($15,000-20,000);  a first edition of Compendiosa Totius Anatomie Delineatio, London, 1545, by Thomas Germinus ($7,000-9,000); Utriusque Cosmi Maioris Scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Oppenheim, 1617, bound with Clavis Philosophiae et Alchymiae Fluddanae, Frankfurt, 1633, first editions of both works, by Robert Fludd ($6,000-8,000); and a first edition of Die Traumdeutung, Leipzig & Vienna, 1900, by Sigmund Freud ($6,000-8,000).

Incunabula includes the first illustrated Venetian version of Dante Alighieri’s La Commedia, 1491 ($5,000-7,000); and Sebastian Brant’s Expositiones Omnium Titulorum Legalium, Basel, 1490 ($4,000-6,000). Also from fifteenth century is a circa 1435–45 Book of Hours, Use of Utrecht, illuminated with five full-page miniatures and 25 large illuminated initials with extensive foliate ink tendrils ($15,000-25,000).

Set to cross the block are works discussing travel including Matthew Calbraith Perry’s Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas & Japan, Washington D.C., 1856, a special presentation copy with a secretarial note signed by Ulysses S. Grant ($3,000-5,000); a first edition of The Holy Land, London, 1855, by David Roberts with 250 full-page lithographic plates ($3,000-5,000); The Beautiful Scenery and Chief Places of Interest throughout the Crimea, London, 1856, by Carlo Bassoli; and the first Dutch edition of Toonneel van China, Amsterdam, 1668, by Athanasius Kircher ($1,000-1,500).

Additional early printed books on note feature a first edition set of nine volumes of Laurence Sterne’s comic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, York, 1760 ($8,000-12,000); the first and only edition of The Compleat Swimmer or the Art of Swimming, London, 1658, by Everard Digby ($6,000-9,000); Perspective 5e Partie, The Hague, 1615, by Hans Vredeman de Vries ($5,000-7,000); Alberti Dureri Clarissimi Pictoris et Geometrae de Symmetria Partium in Rectis Formios Humanorum Corporum Libro, Nuremberg, 1532, by Albrecht Dürer ($5,000-7,000); and The Fables of Aesop Paraphras’d in Verse: Adorn’d with Sculpture, London, 1668, by Aesop, translated by John Ogilby with 88 engraved illustrations by Wenceslaus Hollar ($4,000-6,000).

Everard Digby, trans. William Percy, The Compleat Swimmer or the Art of Swimming, first edition, London, 1658. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
Everard Digby, trans. William Percy, The Compleat Swimmer or the Art of Swimming, first edition, London, 1658. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available through April 7, to be scheduled directly with a specialist in advance and conforming to strict safety guidelines. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with a specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.


Lot 202: Nicolaus Copernicus, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, second edition, Basel, 1566. Estimate $60,000 to $80,000.

Lot 42: Everard Digby, trans. William Percy, The Compleat Swimmer or the Art of Swimming, first edition, London, 1658. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

Auction date: Thursday, April 8, at 12:00 pm

Specialist: Devon Eastland • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 18

CMO: Alexandra Nelson • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 19

Public Relations Associate: Kelsie Jankowski • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 23

Social media: @swanngalleries  

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Swann Auction Galleries is a third-generation family business as well as the world’s largest auction house for works on paper. In the last 75 years, Swann has repeatedly revolutionized the trade with such innovations as the first U.S. auction dedicated to photographs and the world’s only department of African-American Fine Art. More than 30 auctions and previews are held annually in Swann Galleries’ two-floor exhibition space in Midtown Manhattan, and online worldwide. Visit swanngalleries.com for more information.

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