January 2017 Auction Ends Thursday, January 26th, 5pm Pacific
Extraordinarily scarce 1494 Basel edition of Christopher Columbus' letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, announcing his discovery of the new world, along with 6 woodcuts, 3 of which depict the new lands. Basel: Printer Johann Bergmann von Olpe, 1494. Entitled "Christophorus Columbus, De insulis nuper in mari Indico inventis" translated to "Christopher Columbus, Has recently been found in the sea, from the islands of the Indian Ocean", Columbus pens the letter upon his return from the "Indian" isles in March 1493, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, his patron Luis de Santangel and also the Royal Treasurer Raphael Sanxis, confirming that the new lands justified the expensive and risky expedition. Leander de Cosco translated the letter into Latin for this 1494 Basel edition, of which only one has sold at auction in the past 41 years, at Sotheby's in 1985.
The six woodcuts in the edition were done by Albrecht Durer and represent the first depictions of the New World. They show the arrival of the Spanish at the insula hyspana, a quasi-map of the Antilles, the construction of the fort La Navidad on the island of Hispaniola and Columbus' caravel under full sail. There is also a portrait of Ferdinand of Aragon holding the shields of Castile and Leon, which forms the title woodcut of this edition, and a coat of arms. Octavo book is missing signature "bb", containing Carolus Verardus' telling of the capture of Granada from the Moors by Ferdinand. Bound in citron morocco by W. Matthews, with paneled sides and gilt edges. An important book cited by Sabin of extreme rarity.
The First Account of the Discovery of the New World -- Christopher Columbus' 1494 Book With His Letter of the Discovery to Ferdinand & Isabella & Woodcuts of America
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