La Cosmagraphia y Geographia, an instructional text written by Jeronimo Girava for navigators studying at the Casa de Contratacion, is the highlight of a sale of fine and rare books at PBA Galleries in San Francisco on September 26. The 1570-published volume carries a pre-auction estimate of $30,000-50,000.
The Casa de Contratacion was an agency of the Spanish empire that was in operation between the 16th and 18th centuries. Its role was to control Spanish colonization and exploration and to collect all taxes and duties.
The book, first published in 1566, features a fine full-page woodcut of an astronomer observing the Moon through a quadrant, and a double page woodcut map after Gaspar Volpell.
Also featured in the auction is a 1651 first edition of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan - the great English political treatise on rule by an absolute sovereign. The book is described as in good condition with some light wear. It is valued at $12,000-18,000.
De Sedibus, et Causis Morborum per Anatomen Indagatis, Giovanni Baptista Morgagni's 1761 medical text, is another highlight. One of the most important works in the history of medicine, it details Morgagni's post-mortem findings and laid the framework for the development for pathological anatomy. It carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
In previous auctions work by Morgagni has sold well, with a rare anatomical atlas achieving $11,000 at PBA Galleries in 2011.