22 - 23 March 2005
HUMBOLDT, Alexander von (1769-1859) -- [Catalogue of the First Portion of the Humboldt Library. London: Sotheby's, 5 November 1863].
8o (224 x 147 mm). Without title and preliminary leaves, see note below. Contemporary paper wrappers, uncut and unopened. Provenance: Sir Thomas Phillipps.
ADVANCE COPY printed without the title-page and preliminary leaves. The first portion (first to ninth day's sale) of the sale catalogue of the magnificent Humboldt library. The collection had been acquired by Henry Stevens in 1860 from Seifert, Humboldt's valet and heir, for £4000; unable to dispose of it en bloc, he consigned it to Sotheby's, after having sold a small portion, mainly to the American market. However, 95 of the books were destroyed in a fire at Sotheby's warehouse on 29 June 1865, along with almost all the copies of the completed 791-page sale catalogue, in 4o size, of 11,164 lots. The fire also destroyed the personal library of J. Joseph Techener, and George Offor's Biblical Library. The present 232-page advance copy was presumably sent to preferred customers. The New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, and State Library Berlin own copies of the advance copy, but not the complete catalogue.
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