The magnificent botanical library of the Stiftung für Botanik, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, collected by the late Arpad Plesch. Part I: A-G § Part 2: H-P § Part 3: Q-Z and Addenda (catalogues for auctions conducted by Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., London, 1975-1976)
London, Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., 1975-1976
Three volumes (28.5 cm), I (16-17 June 1975): (10) 250 (2) pp., colour frontispiece, black & white text illustrations. Lots numbered 1-308. II (17-18 December 1975): (8) 265 (3) pp., colour frontispiece, text illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 309-618. III (15-16 March 1976): (8) 209 pp., colour frontispiece, text illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 619-863. Lists of prices realised and buyers’ names loosely inserted. Publisher’s printed boards. - “Mr Plesch was what might be called an eclectic collector. He must have bought from dealers all over the world, possibly without realizing that some know more than others and some are more agreeable to deal with than others. The result has been an astounding mixture. Some of his books were superb; some almost, if not quite, unique. Others seemed to me – this is my own view, but comes from some experience – to be inferior, and wrong in various ways. A large number were in modern or at least not contemporary bindings. All the great collectors who really knew what they were about, like the late Jack Abbey or the late Henry Broughton, would not touch books that were bound later, unless it was impossible – and it never really is – to find another copy. Nor would they have touched a book that had been coloured some time, possibly on occasion a very long time, after it was published. Many of Mr Plesch’s books failed the first of these tests … Some failed the second … In my opinion several of the most important books failed this [second] test” (saleroom report by Handasyde Buchanan, in The Times Literary Supplement, 19 December 1975, p.1525). Cf. Jacques Pley, “Contemporary collectors XXVII: Arpad Plesch” in The Book Collector, Summer 1961, pp.164-176. ¶ Good copies (annotation in Part I only; otherwise, unmarked).