Collection of antique books valued at 10 Million Euros on display in Abu Dhabi this week

  • The Arabian Post
  • 28. April 2014

The first known printed reference to the Arabian Gulf region, with the earliest map to call the Gulf "Sinus Arabicus" instead of "Sinus Persicus", will be on display at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair held from April 30 to May 5, at stand E35, Hall 12.

Renowned antiquarian booksellers Mr Hugo Wetscherek of Inlibris, based in Austria, and Mr Laurens Hesselink of Antiquariaat Forum, the Netherlands, are showing Fracanzano da Montalboddo's "Itinerarium Portugallensium," printed at Milan in 1508. This magnificent and extremely rare book contains the travel report of Vasco da Gama, who made the first known reference to this area when he travelled through the Strait of Hormuz to the Sheikhdom of Julfar. In Julfar, today known as Ras al-Khaimah and one of the United Arab Emirates, Da Gama made contact with the Islamic navigator Ahmed ibn Majid, still remembered as the "first Arabic seaman."

There will be 100 rare books and manuscripts from the 15th through the 19th century on display, totalling a value of more than 10 million euros.

Among the other works on display are the Duke of Northumberland's spectacular coloured de luxe copy of David Roberts's monumental works on the Middle East, Gastaldi's map of the Arabian peninsula (the first edition of this most highly sought map of the region), rare and early Italian, German, and Dutch editions of Lodovico di Varthema's great travel narrative, containing the first recorded visit of a non-Muslim to Mecca, as well as the great atlases of Blaeu, Hondius, and Mercator. Also on show is Katib Chelebi's first Islamic atlas in a unique manuscript commissioned for the Ottoman court, preseved in noble collections ever since.

More information on the books on display to be found at