Rare early printed book showing the Creation of Eve in woodcut heads auction

In two weeks' time, Swann Auction Galleries will be offering a range of early printed, medical and scientific books with over 300 lots going under the hammer.

It's an interesting mix of works, similar to their sale of November 2010, though with less focus on the occult. Perhaps there are only so many times you can sell your soul.

Similarly to another auction of theirs from a year ago, the top lot is expected to be a religious text. Previously the works were Jewish texts illustrated by the legendary Arthur Szyk, but this time the images are a little older.

The text in question is Jacobus Philippus de Bergamo's Supplementum Chronicarum. It is a copy from the fourth edition, and second with illustrations, of a popular world chronicle originally published in 1483.

It boasts a large woodcut of the Creation of Eve; three half-page woodcuts of the Expulsion from Paradise, Cain slaying Abel, and the Tower of Babel. Then there are over 60 small woodcut city views, including repeats.

Jacobus Phillippus De Bergamo Supplementum Chronicarum book
A rib-tickling story: God creates Eve from Adam's chest bone

All the content is present, though only 272 (of 274) leaves appear as the book lacks initial and final blanks. Folio size, it is printed in Gothic Type in 17th-century blind-ruled sheep with intersecting diagonal quadruple fillets on covers.

There is a short crack at the bottom of the rear joint, the covers are slightly warped and there is some soiling and a few stains, most conspicuously on the opening leaves, and worming at beginning and end has caused slight text loss.

The antique work is expected to achieve $10,000-15,000 in the New York auction, which takes place on October 17 in New York and online, though it seems plausible that it could be valued even higher by a dedicated collector.


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