By Frank Werner
Naturalis historia. De terrarum gentiumque historia deque peregrinatione – This is the title of Dr. Paul Kainbacher’s latest catalogue. I hardly know where to start, it is so full of rare and beautiful books. Before I mention a few of these treasures, let me stress what a handsome catalogue it is. The format is a generous quarto. The catalogue is profusely illustrated in colour throughout. There is at least one, often more, pictures of each item, and there is a real lay-out, with insets and details, not just your boring description plus picture. All in all, a feast for the eye.
And not the eye alone. The catalogue starts with a bang: Ernst F. F. Chladni. Ueber den Ursprung der von Pallas gefundenen und anderer ihr ähnlicher Eisenmassen ... Riga 1794. A very rare pamphlet, last sold at auction in 1965, it describes meteorites and proposes the theory that they originated in outer space and are debris from the formation of our galaxy. (€ 25.000)
Then there is the famous book that helped revolutionise navigation: J. Harrison and N. Maskelyne. The Principles of Mr. Harrison’s Time-keeper, with plates of the same … London 1767. Strangely, this book has an English and a French title-page, and the English text is interleaved with the French up to p. 19. (€ 25.000)
Next I want to mention a set that is hardly ever found quite complete: G. B. Belzoni. Narrative of the operations and recent discoveries within the pyramids, temples, tombs and excavations in Egypt and Nubia. London 1820. The two maps that are usually missing are bound into the imperial folio atlas, which also contains 48 coloured plates, plus the supplement with another 6 coloured plates, published in 1822. (€ 30.000)
One of the highlights of this catalogue is surely this extremely rare collection of photographs from the southern Sudan and Lado: R. Buchta. Die oberen Nil-Länder, Rassen-, Vegetationstypen und Landschaften, dargestellt in 160 Photographien. Berlin 1880. A collection of 54 photographs mounted on 29 plates. Buchta was a pioneer of photography in Africa, which was a taxing business in those days, what with the huge cameras, glass plates and chemicals, all to be handled in the heat and moisture of Central Africa. (€ 45.000)
Another rare photographic album presented here is J. A. F. Falkenstein’s Die Loango-Küste in 72 Original-Photographien nebst erläuterndem Text. Berlin 1876. Amongst these amazing pictures is the first portrait of a gorilla, M’pungo, ever taken. The album was highly praised, as it showed the coast of the Congo, about which very little was known at the time. (35.000)
There are several more rare and unique albums, but I would now like to draw your attention to this amazing object: A handwritten diary of an important Belgian Congo expedition: E. Hanssen. Voyages Haut Congo. 2 volumes. 24 March to 3 July 1884, and 4 July to 6 August 1884. Written in a small but legible hand, the diary describes the discovery of the Mongola and Ubangi rivers. These discoveries were kept secret by King Leopold, because he wanted to be at an advantage during the Congo Conference, where the frontier between the French and the Belgian Congo were drawn. The text was only published in 1892. The two volumes are in good condition, considering what they endured. (€ 75.000).
There is so much more to describe and be fascinated by, but let me end with this amazing collection of early travel accounts: Fracanzano da Montalboddo. Newe unbekanthe landte Und ein newe weldte kurtz verganger zeythe erfunden. Nuremberg 1508. Small folio with 136 unnumbered pages. This volume is one of the first to describe the discovery of the earth by Europeans, during what I like to describe as the “heroic” age of discovery. Considered a vehicle for the dissemination throughout Renaissance Europe of the news of the great discoveries both ion the east and the west, this is the first-ever collection of voyages printed in German. It contains reports of the voyages of Columbus, Vespucci, Cabral (Brazil), Cadamos (Africa), and, perhaps most importantly, the earliest printed account of the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India. (€ 250.000)
This is an amazing catalogue, containing so many beautiful, rare, and at times awe-inspiring objects. I suggest you do not hesitate and order a copy of it from:
Dr. Paul Kainbacher
phone: 0043- (0)699 110 19 221
>> Download the catalogue
>> For more information visit the official website www.antiquariat-kainbacher.at