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A plate from Otto von Guericke’s Experimenta nova… in which two teams of 15 horses attempt, unsuccessfully, to pull apart evacuated hemispheres, thus demonstrating the pressure of the atmosphere.

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A first account had been published 15 years earlier by Caspar Schott, but this is von Guericke’s first full description of his Magdeburg experiments and inventions.

The work is illustrated with a portrait, two folding engraved plates and 20 further illustrations in the text, seven of them full-page – all of which were present in a copy in a period vellum binding offered on April 1 in Zurich by Koller (25/20/15% buyer’s premium).

The cataloguer of the copy in the great Macclesfield scientific library noted that in the year of publication Boyle and Hooke had paid 10 shillings for a copy on behalf of the Royal Society.

That Macclesfield copy, in 18th century calf, made £18,000 at Sotheby’s in 2004, but the version sold just recently in Switzerland was somewhat cheaper, at SFr16,000 (£12,800).