Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts auction on 14 December comprises over 200 lots, spanning printed books, maps, medieval manuscripts and autograph letters.
The sale boasts cartographic gems from the 16th-century – a beautiful copy of Gerard Mercator’s 1595 Atlas with contemporary hand-colouring sits alongside a 1577 Portolan Chart of the Mediterranean – with further highlights of Travel and Exploration including a flag carried to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen and a splendid hand-coloured copy of David Roberts’ monumental work on Palestine and the Near East, The Holy Land (1849).
Important early European printing such as Ulrich von Richenthal’s Concilium zu Konstanz (1483), the first printed armorial, gives way to highly decorative 18th- and 19th-century editions including Christoph Jakob Trew's Hortus nitidissimis, one of the finest and most sumptuous botanical works of the 18th century, and Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s famous Les Roses. Ground-breaking works of science range from a first-edition of Newton’s Principia (1687) to rare offprints from Tesla and Claude Shannon, who published ‘the first technical paper on computer chess’ in 1950. An appealing collection of James Bond first editions opens with Ian Fleming’s most sought-after book, Casino Royale (1953).
Elsewhere, medieval and Renaissance manuscript highlights include an iconic 11th-century Byzantine miniature, sumptuous Books of Hours, and a collection of miniatures and leaves from an important European private collection. At the centre of the autographs section is a Mozart music manuscript leaf and a collection of composers’ letters, with further autograph material from Isaac Newton, Henry VIII, Darwin, Churchill, Freud, Jung and others.
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