A 1477 Venetian edition of Dante’s Commedia printed by Vindelino da Spira, or Wendelin of Speyer as he is known in English references, led a January 25 sale held by Il Ponte (25% buyer’s premium) of Milan.
The bid of €75,000 (£63,025) was a record for that edition, it would seem.
Published only five years after the Foligno first, and edited by Cristoforo Berardi, this edition was also the first to incorporate Boccaccio’s life of Dante.
In a much later and elaborately blind-stamped and gilt decorated binding by Bedford, it was a copy that, as revealed by the bookplates it contains, has been in a number of distinguished collections, among them that of Robert Hoe (1839-1909).
Other highlights of the Italian sale included, at €16,000 (£13,390), a 1662, Modena first of Cornelio Malvasia’s Ephemerides novissimae motuum coelestium, a work which includes the lunar map above.
A large map, now a little spotted and browned, it is folded into the rear of this copy’s 19th century binding. Drawn by Geminiano Montanari, it was produced using the observatory that Malvasia had built at his villa at Panzano.
Among English works in the sale was a partially unopened, 1884 first of Robert M’Cormick’s profusely illustrated Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas.
One of just 750 copies printed at the author’s own expense, it sold at €2800 (£2345). Only a copy presented by M’Cormick to the US explorer Henry Morton Stanley has made more – £9000 on its last outing in 2015, at Sotheby’s as part of the magnificent Franklin Brooke- Hitching library.