Sotheby & Co. (London); Christie's East (New York)

The celebrated library of Harrison D. Horblit Esq. removed from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Part I [other title:] Early science, navigation & travel including Americana with a few medical books, A-C § Part 2 [other title:] Early science, navigation & travel including Americana with a few medical books, D-G § The remaining books from the library of Harrison D. Horblit (catalogues for auctions conducted by Sotheby & Co., London 10-11 June and 11 November 1974; and by Christie's East, New York, 16 February 1994)

London / New York, Sotheby & Co. / Christie’s East, 1974; 1994
Three volumes (28 cm; 27 cm), I (10-11 June 1974): [218] pp., text illustrations (some in colour, 1 folding). 258 lots. II (11 November 1974): [172] pp., text illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 259-502. III (16 February 1994): [52] pp., text illustrations. 330 lots. Publisher’s printed green cloth boards (vols. I-II); publisher’s pictorial wrappers (vol. III). - Harrison Horblit (1912-1988) offered his library (on consignment or for sale), on varying terms, over many of years. Sotheby’s agreed to sell the entire collection in eight sessions, however it was wrenched away in 1974 after two sales; litigation promptly ensued. A contract drawn-up afterwards with the bookseller Harry Levinson also was broken, leading to fresh litigation. Before his death, the collector presented some books and manuscripts to Harvard College (Collector’s choice: a selection of books and manuscripts given by Harrison D. Horblit to the Harvard College Library, 1983) and concluded a sale to H.P. Kraus of the bulk of what remained. It was offered by Kraus in catalogues 154 (Incunabula from the libraries of Harrison D. Horblit, Paolo Giovio & others, 1979), 155 (Science, manuscripts, autographs, documents from the collections of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Harrison D. Horblit and others, 1980), 168 (The history of science including navigation: a first selection of books from the library of Harrison D. Horblit, 1984), 169 (The history of science including navigation: a further selection of books, 1641-1700 (Wing period) from the library of Harrison D. Horblit, 1985), 171 (The history of science including navigation: another selection of books from the library of Harrison D. Horblit, 1985), with smaller numbers of books introduced in other catalogues (a surprising number of Horblit books were still on the shelves when the Kraus stock was sent to auction, in 2003). Further books were consigned by Jean Mermin Horblit (1910-2009), the collector’s widow, to Christie’s in 1994; the following year, she donated Horblit’s Sir Thomas Phillipps Collection of books and manuscripts to the Grolier Club, and in 1998 she presented Horblit’s collection of early photographs and daguerreotypes to the Houghton Library at Harvard.
Subjects
Auction sale catalogues - Books - 1974
Auction sale catalogues - Books - 1974-1994
Auction sale catalogues - Books - 1994
Science books - Auction sale catalogues
Science books - Collections, USA - Horblit (Harrison D.), 1912-1988
Authors/Creators
Christie's East (New York)
Sotheby & Co. (London)
Owners
Horblit, Harrison D., 1912-1988
Auction date
19740610
19741111
19940216
  • This collection contains

  • Sotheby & Co. (London)

    The celebrated library of Harrison D. Horblit Esq removed from Ridgefield, Connecticut : Part I [other title:] Early science, navigation & travel including Americana with a few medical books, A-C (catalogue for an auction conducted by Sotheby & Co., London, 10-11 June 1974)

    London, Sotheby & Co., 1974
    (28 cm), [218] pp., text illustrations (some in colour, 1 folding). 258 lots. Publisher’s printed cloth boards. - Perhaps the most spectacular library dispersed in London since the Phillipps sale, with many strong prices. Horblit’s Apianus, Astronomicum Caesareum (1540), sold for £17,000 (John Fleming); Blaeu’s The Sea mirrour (1625) brought £10,000 (W.F. Hammond); and the magnificent Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543), annotated by Joachim Rheticus, made £44,000 (purchased jointly by Dawson and the House of El Dieff; reappeared in Sotheby’s, 9 November 1989, lot 52, where purchased by Pregliasco for Giancarlo Beltrame’s “La Biblioteca di Babelle”; Owen Gingerich, An annotated census of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus, Leiden 2002, pp.135-136, no. I.117). The second edition of Copernicus (1566), which had belonged to Henry Briggs, Henry Gellibrand, and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, sold for £7000 (D.F. Brooke-Hitching; Gingerich, op. cit., p.339, no.II.306, no subsequent provenance). The total for the two-day sale was £236,609. ¶ Good, unmarked copy. Photocopy of List of prices realised and buyers’ names loosely inserted.
  • Sotheby & Co. (London)

    The celebrated library of Harrison D. Horblit Esq. removed from Ridgefield, Connecticut : Part 2 [other title:] Early science, navigation & travel including Americana with a few medical books, D-G (catalogue for an auction conducted by Sotheby & Co., 11 November 1974)

    London, Sotheby & Co., 1974
    (28 cm), [172] pp., text illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 259-502. Publisher’s printed cloth boards. - The top price (£10,000) was paid by John Fleming for Fernández de Enciso, A briefe description of the portes, creekes, bayes, and hauens, of the Weast India (1578). ¶ Good, marked copy. No Price list.
  • Christie's East (New York)

    The remaining books from the library of Harrison D. Horblit (catalogue for an auction conducted by Christie's East, New York, 16 February 1994)

    New York, Christie's East, 1994
    (27 cm), [52] pp., text illustrations. 330 lots. List of prices realised loosely inserted. Publisher’s printed wrappers. - Additional books from the collection were offered as the property of Mrs Harrison D. Horblit in Christie’s, New York, 22 April 1994. ¶ Unmarked copy.
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