13 July 2016
COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543). De lateribus et angulis triangulorum, tum planorum rectilineorum tum sphaericorum, libellus eruditissimus & utilissimus... Additus est canon semissium subtensarum rectarum linearum in circulo. Wittenberg: J. Lufft, 1542.
Small 4° (201 x 139mm). Title-page within woodcut border, woodcut diagrams in the text. (Faint marginal staining and finger-soiling.) Modern vellum-backed boards; modern red quarter morocco slipcase with cloth chemise (extremities faintly rubbed). Provenance: Hieronymus ?Schwisten (title inscription dated Nuremberg 1544) — Robert Honeyman (booklabel; sale, Sotheby's, 30 April 1979, lot 752, bought by Hitching on behalf of:) — British Rail Pension Fund (sale, Sotheby's, 27 September 1988, lot 174, to Cullen).
FIRST EDITION OF ANY PART OF DE REVOLUTIONIBUS. Apart from Copernicus' translation of Greek verses by Theophylact Simocatta into Latin prose, which was published in Cracow in 1509, this is the only work published by Copernicus before the death-bed publication of De revolutionibus. It comprises the section on trigonometry that appeared in De Revolutionibus and contains the first publication of Rheticus' trigonometric tables. The book was seen through the press by Rheticus, and includes a preface by Rheticus addressed to Georg Hartmann (1489-1545), the geographer and mathematician in Nuremberg. Rheticus himself added the table of half-chords subtended in a circle, which became the first table to give the cosine directly. EXCEPTIONALLY RARE: ONLY TWO OTHERS COPIES HAVE SOLD AT AUCTION IN THE PAST 40 YEARS (ABPC/RBH). Adams C-2601; Baranowski, Bibliografia Kopernikowska 2; Burmeister, Rheticus 25; Stillwell, Science 160; Zinner 1795.
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