Thursday - 24 July 2014

More gems from the Henry Polissack Library

22 June 2004Written by ATG Reporter

THE first part of the library of books on gems and jewellery formed by Henry Polissack, a dealer in antique jewellery who turned his pursuit of works for his own reference collection into a specialist book business, was held in March 2003, but while the Pt. II sale held by Swanns on May 27 of this year was not up to the standard of that first offering, it did contain much of interest.

Two items are illustrated and described right, but other items of note include the top priced lot, a 1919 first of Marcel Tolkowsky's Diamond Design..., the first systematic mathematical analysis of the reflection and refraction of light in cut diamonds. A classic lapidary work but now scarce, this copy in original cloth sold at $6000 (£3410).

Inscribed by Giuseppe Girometti to the writer and dramatist G.B. Niccolini, one of 100 copies of the scarce, 1836 first edition (in original wrappers) of a work illustrated with 10 engraved plates of antique-style gems featuring mythological figures and animals created by Girometti, the leading gem engraver of his age, sold at $3600 (£2045). The work was intended to publicise and sell the gems, but in the event, the whole collection was acquired by Pope Gregory XVI for the Vatican Library.

Highlights of the first sale include three very different copies of Kunz & Stevenson's The Book of the Pearl, but here the star Kunz book was one of just 26 signed copies of the 'Belgian Congo' edition of Ivory and the Elephant in Art, Archaeology and in Science issued by Doubleday Page in 1916. This copy of the scarcest of Kunz's major works showed some defects to the buckram binding but sold well at $4000 (£2270).

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ATG Reporter

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