Translated by Lorenzo Villa and edited by Aldus Manutius, this copy of a work published at the latter’s Venetian press in 1502 was in an 18th century calf gilt binding bearing the arms of a Venetian Doge, Mario Foscarini.
Sold for $9000 (£6820) was a first American edition of Nicholas Culpeper’s Pharmacopoeia Londinensis; or, The London Dispensatory.
The work was first published in 1650, but this 1720 Boston edition in its contemporary binding had the triple distinction of being the first herbal, the first pharmacopoeia and first full-length medical book published in what were then still the American colonies.
The price equals a record set almost 20 years ago, in the 1998 Christie’s New York sale of the superb Haskell F Norman library.
Among the manuscripts was a 14th century Italian vellum copy of De claustro animae, or ‘The Cloister of the Soul’, an allegorical treatise by a 12th century French Augustinian cleric, Hugues de Fouilloy.
In old marbled boards, it was estimated at $3000-5000 but sold at $23,000 (£17,425).
Thomas E Coleman, one of the original members of the Alpine Club, made two ascents of Mont Blanc and in 1859 published Scenes from the Snow- Fields…, a work whose chromolitho …Illustrations of the upper Ice World of Mont Blanc were based on his own sketches and paintings.
Like some other copies previously seen at auction, that offered by Swann suffered from foxing and dampstaining, and the binding had been repaired. It neverthless made $9000 (£6820), a price only once bettered – by another rather stained and foxed copy that made $13,000 in the same rooms just last year.
Bid to $4600 (£3485) was another rarity featuring that famous peak, an example of Albert Smith’s New Game of the Ascent of Mont Blanc.
This coloured litho board game, the play sheet mounted on linen, was complete in the original cloth binding with 20pp booklet.
It was one of the merchandising projects that the enterprising Smith linked to the hugely popular lectures-cum-stage shows about his 1851 ascent he put on at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly.
I am not entirely sure what the record is, but do I recall that in November 2015 Bloomsbury sold an example for £3800.
One of the earlier books printed in the Catalan language, a good conduct guide for princes and rulers printed in Barcelona in 1480 that led the sale at $40,000 (£30,305) was featured in a news story in last week’s issue (ATG No 2316).