Old is gold

  • Khaleej Times
  • 25 September 2007

Original Beethoven letter highlights display of rare books and unique historic manuscripts on sale at the Dubai International Fine Art and Antiques Fair

A letter written by the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven will be among a fascinating range of antiquarian books and manuscripts going on sale at the Dubai International Fine Art and Antiques Fair.
The expo will run from December 12 to 15, at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Belonging to Antiquariat Inlibris from Vienna, dealers in antiquarian books and manuscripts since 1883, the letter is signed ('the Generalissimus') and dates back to January 1817. It includes comments on corrections to the composer's Eighth Symphony. It is priced at US$ 85,000.

Antiquariat Inlibris will be offering for sale a number of historic and rare books, notably Hortus sanitatis, the most influential pharmaceutical work of the 15th century, published in Augsburg in 1486. This complete copy has a contemporary German binding and is illustrated with 394 woodcuts in contemporary colour. It is priced at US$ 120,000.

Also on sale will be Hagger's Salzburgisches Koch-Buch, published in Augsburg in 1718. The rare first edition of the most valuable Baroque cookbook is illustrated with 304 engravings and features a contemporary binding. It is priced at US$ 25,000.

The rarest and most sought-after animal book of the 18th century, Ridinger's Représentations des animaux, published in Augsburg, 1768, complete with 127 plates, all in their first state and original colour, is another highlight, with a price tag of US$ 75,000.

Among the higher priced exhibits will be Diderot's Encyclopédie, published in Paris, Neuchatel, & Amsterdam, dated 1751-80. This is a complete set of the original edition of this monument of European thought and it once belonged to Joachim Murat (1767-1815); King of Naples and Napoleon's brother-in-law. It is priced at US$ 150,000.

Collectors of historic scientific literature will be interested in Montfaucon's L'Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures, published in Paris in 1719. This is a complete set of the original edition of a work described as the 'foundation stone of scientific archaeology'. It is priced at US$ 28,000.

Among the most colourful and attractive exhibits will be a luxury copy of the most beautiful florilegium of the 17th century, Emanuel Sweert's Florilegium amplissimum et selectissimum, published in Amsterdam, 1647-54. Illustrated with exceptionally beautiful coloured plates it is priced at US$ 80,000.

Lastly, Mozart enthusiasts will be keen to view the First Edition of Don Giovanni ever printed as full score. Published in Leipzig in 1801, it is priced at US$ 12,000.

Antiques Art Fair
Where: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre
What: Dubai International Fine Art and Antiques Fair
When: December 12 to 15