Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2014 Issue

Collection of Early European Legal Works Being Sold by Los Angeles Law Library

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The Los Angeles County Law Library.

Some libraries are more like collections than working libraries. Others are designed to provide material for historical research. However, most are intended for practical use by today's users. As such, it means older material no longer regularly used by patrons needs to be removed to make room for newer, more relevant books. Such is the case at the Los Angeles County Law Library, and it is making for a rare opportunity for collectors to purchase some very old and historical European legal tracts. There is even a second edition of Newton's Principia available, not exactly a legal text but an extremely important scientific work. The books will be sold by Bonham's in England in two sales, one in March, the other in April.

 

The LA Law Library was formed in 1891 to provide access to legal information both for those in the legal community and for the general public. One hundred twenty years later, that purpose remains unchanged. It is there to serve those for whom fortune, or misfortune, demands they weave their way through the labyrinth of the law. Books that were useful in the library's earlier days have been superseded by a century's worth of changes in the law. One still may quote Blackstone once in awhile, but the need for a treatise on 15th century cannon law, especially in Latin, is unlikely to arise in Los Angeles very often. The library can no longer justify the shelf space, nor the cost of maintaining an aged book from deterioration, considering its purpose.

 

Among the books offered is the aforementioned 1713 edition of Newton's Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. It was the second of three editions published during Newton's lifetime. His account of the laws of motion is universally regarded as one of the most important, if not the most important, scientific work ever published. The first edition had long ago sold out and become scarce when Newton was persuaded to issue this second, and updated edition of his work. The price is estimated at $13,000-$20,000.

 

Other items offered include a beautifully illustrated 16th century edition of Justinian's Corpus juris civilis. Institutiones, estimated at $8,000-$12,000. There is a late 15th century copy of Johannes Andreae's Super arboribus consanguinitatis, affinitatis et cognationis spiritualis necnon legalis, a notable item of canon law estimated at $6,500-$10,000. An important 16th century English translation of the Magna Carta from the original Latin by George Ferrers is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

 

The LA Law Library, the second largest public law library in the United States after the Law Library of Congress, acquired most of this material from the 1940's through the 1960's as part of larger acquisitions. However, time has shown insufficient demand for issues such as older Latvian Law, Tuscan criminal penalties, and homicide in Salamanca to hold onto these books any longer. The library's Executive Director, Sandra Levin, explains, “The collection of historic European law books, although interesting academically, does not meet the practical contemporary needs of the Library’s users whose focus is overwhelmingly on relevant, useful practice materials. Their sale will free up space to conserve the rare books and documents on American law which are much more relevant to our users.”

 

Bonham's will be auctioning the material in two sales in England, one in London on March 5, and the other in Oxford on April 29. However, American buyers will have an opportunity to view highlights of the sale at Bonham's Los Angeles galleries from February 7-9, timed to coincide with the 47th annual California International Antiquarian Book Fair in nearby Pasadena.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Lyscosthenes, Conrad. <i>Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon,</i> Basilea: Henricus Petrus, c. 1557, first edition, folio. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Collection of Ethiopic Religious Texts, in Ge'ez , illuminated manuscripts on vellum, c. 1700-20th c. (5 pcs.) $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Augustinus, Aurelius Sanctus.<br><i>De Civitate Dei,</i> Venice: Bonetus Locatellus per Octavianus Scotus, 9 Febbraio, 1486, 4to. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Choiseul-Gouffier, Marie Gabriel Comte de. <i>Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece,</i> Paris, J.J. Blaise, 1782-1809-1822, first edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Rufinus, Tyrannius (c. 345-411). <i>Expositio in symbolum apostolorum,</i> [Cologne, Ulrich Zel, c. 1472], first edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Magnus, Albertus. <i>Summa de eucharistiae sacramento,</i> Ulm: Johann Zainer, 1474. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Strabo. <i>Rerum geographicarum libri septemdecim. A Guilielmo Xylandro Augstano magna cura recogniti…,</i> Basel, Henricpetri, (August 1571). $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Riou, Stephen (1720-1780). <i>The Grecian Orders of Architecture. Delineated and Explained from the Antiquities of Athens,</i> London, 1768. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Mair, Paul Hektor. <i>Geschlechter Buch...der...Statt Augspurg,</i> Frankfurt am Maim, Sigmund Feyerabend, 1580. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.). <i>Historiarum libri priores quinque,</i> Basel: Johann Herwagen, 1549. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. <i>Columna Antoniniana Marci Aurelii Antonini Augusti rebus gestis insignis Germanis simul...,</i> Rome, [1672]. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> <i>Ecclesiasticae Historiae, Eusebii Pamphili...Eiusdem de vita Constantini...Socratis...,</i> Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544. $800 to $1,200.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b> Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.

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