Special Sunday Morning Auction at the California Antiquarian Book Fair

The Crowning of Nature

The Crowning of Nature

On Sunday, February 11th, PBA Galleries will host a special Sunday morning sale during the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena, California. An early start, the sale will be begin at 8:00am in the Cypress room of the Pasadena Sheraton (303 East Cordova Street) just steps away from the Pasadena Convention Center and the book fair. One hundred and thirteen select lots of rare and valuable books, manuscripts and photographs, plus one hundred and nine interesting and collectible books donated by members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America to be sold for the benefit of the Antiquarian Booksellers Benevolent Fund. The offerings range from a magnificent 17th century illustrated alchemy manuscript to important high spots of literature, landmarks of science and medicine, stunning color plate books, historical archives, rare early printings, illustrated books, and much more.

The highlight of the sale, a spectacular 17th century manuscript on alchemy, The Crowning of Nature, contains 67 striking full-page color drawings emblematically depicting the chemical process which creates the Philosopher’s Stone. This is the largest suite of connected imagery in all alchemical literature, illustrating all the stages of the process from “Chaos” to “Perfection.” Created by the English school of Alchemy, The Crowning of Nature was conceived as an intuitively evident statement which did not require additional textual commentary. The images are logically sequenced and each illustration is a symbolic representation of the chemical operation occurring at the given stage of the alchemical process (Estimate: $100,000-$150,000).

Gulliver's Travels 1726

Gulliver’s Travels 1726

A related book, also from the 17th century is a rare manuscript of horoscopes with over 200 astrological charts. It includes a horoscope for Galileo, plus charts and biographical details of major European royalty, nobles, and other esteemed persons (Estimate: $30,000-$50,000).

Also, featured in the sale is a copy of the true first edition of Jonathan Swift’s masterpiece, Gulliver’s Travels, two volumes, 1726, Teerink’s issue A. This finely bound by Riviere monument of English literature contains the engraved frontispiece of Gulliver and two engraved maps (Estimate: $30,000-$50,000). Another lot dealing with travels is William Daniell’s  A Voyage Round Great Britain, in 8 volumes, 1814, with 308 superb hand-colored aquatint plates. A stunning collection of views, it is also bound by Riviere in full gilt-tooled morocco (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000).

An important and fascinating archive of letters, documents, and other items from and relating to the descendants of President John Tyler will be offered.  The extensive archive has been passed down from President Tyler through his eldest son Robert Tyler and granddaughter Priscilla Tyler Goodwyn and includes a letter from Tyler to his son (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000).

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Other notable lots include a pen & ink portrait of Albert Einstein. The unique and expressive portrait sketch is by Einstein’s friend and fellow-refugee from Hitler’s Germany, Josef Scharl and is signed by both Scharl and Einstein (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000). The first modern work on rhinoplasty from 1816 by Joseph Constantine Carpue, Account of… Operations for Restoring a Lost Nose…, has four stipple-engraved plates, three in color, and a woodcut illustration (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). A very rare vellum leaf is from the 1462 Mainz Bible printed by Fust & Schoeffer, the earliest Bible with a printed date. Finally, a French edition of Arthur Rackham’s Peter Pan Portfolio, 1911, limited to 100 copies and with 12 large tipped-in color plates, preceded the English and American issues (Estimate: $7,0000$10,000).

The public may preview the auction in San Francisco at PBA Galleries on Monday and Tuesday, February 5th and 6th from 9am-5pm, Previews will also be held in Pasadena at the Sheraton Hotel (303 East Cordova Street) in the Cypress Room on Friday, February 9th from noon-5pm and Saturday, February 10th from 9am-5pm.  For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]