May 1, 2024 10:00 EST

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

 
Lot 108
 

108

A remarkable unpublished manuscript of a voyage to South America in 1759-1764

QUESNEL, JEAN

Relation d'un voyage a l'Amerique Meridionale, fait pendant les années 1759-1760, 1761, 1763, 1764 par Jean Quesnel et redigée au Port Ste- Marie l'année 1765. Paris?: 1765? Original cream vellum, spine lettered in ink on spine. 8 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches (20.5 x 14.75 cm); manuscript on paper in brown ink, 327 pp., written in an elegant, legible hand. Very light wear, repaired short tear to the first leaf, which is blank but for "1765," a few leaves pale but perfectly legible, generally exceptionally fresh.

As described in the first chapter, Quesnel was living in Cadiz in 1758, before embarking as a passenger on a Spanish ship bound for the Argentine. This seemingly unpublished account of his adventures (we can find no printed work that corresponds with it) describes a six-year residence in South America, and the manuscript has every appearance of a fair copy prepared for publication, or (at very least) circulation. It contains detailed information on the agriculture, commerce, and mining of South America, as well as on the manners and customs of the major cities: Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Valparaiso, Callao, Lima, Panama, Portobello, Cartagena are all described in some detail. He returned to Cadiz via Havana at the end of his time in South America.

Chapter VIII describes a trip to Huancavelica and its infamous mercury mine, the mina de la muerta. This was worked by the Spanish using indigenous labor for 250 years. Mercury was essential for the extraction of silver from its ore, and much of Spain's wealth in that metal ultimately depended on the Huancavelica mine. Elsewhere, there are extensive descriptions of alpaca and guanaco. This manuscript was last sold at auction by Sotheby's London, 16th June, 1958 (140 pounds); subsequently offered by Davis & Orioli.

Sold for $8,960
Estimated at $3,000 - $5,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


 

QUESNEL, JEAN

Relation d'un voyage a l'Amerique Meridionale, fait pendant les années 1759-1760, 1761, 1763, 1764 par Jean Quesnel et redigée au Port Ste- Marie l'année 1765. Paris?: 1765? Original cream vellum, spine lettered in ink on spine. 8 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches (20.5 x 14.75 cm); manuscript on paper in brown ink, 327 pp., written in an elegant, legible hand. Very light wear, repaired short tear to the first leaf, which is blank but for "1765," a few leaves pale but perfectly legible, generally exceptionally fresh.

As described in the first chapter, Quesnel was living in Cadiz in 1758, before embarking as a passenger on a Spanish ship bound for the Argentine. This seemingly unpublished account of his adventures (we can find no printed work that corresponds with it) describes a six-year residence in South America, and the manuscript has every appearance of a fair copy prepared for publication, or (at very least) circulation. It contains detailed information on the agriculture, commerce, and mining of South America, as well as on the manners and customs of the major cities: Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Valparaiso, Callao, Lima, Panama, Portobello, Cartagena are all described in some detail. He returned to Cadiz via Havana at the end of his time in South America.

Chapter VIII describes a trip to Huancavelica and its infamous mercury mine, the mina de la muerta. This was worked by the Spanish using indigenous labor for 250 years. Mercury was essential for the extraction of silver from its ore, and much of Spain's wealth in that metal ultimately depended on the Huancavelica mine. Elsewhere, there are extensive descriptions of alpaca and guanaco. This manuscript was last sold at auction by Sotheby's London, 16th June, 1958 (140 pounds); subsequently offered by Davis & Orioli.

Auction: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps, May 1, 2024

  • Auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on May 1, 2024 Totals $1.2 Million

  • A Medieval Manuscript Rules of St. Augustine Achieves $102k

  • Consignments Are Currently Being Accepted for Future Auctions


NEW YORK, NY -- Competitive bidding at Doyle’s May 1, 2024 auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps drove strong prices and a sale total that topped $1.2 million, surpassing expectations.

Featured in the sale was a fascinating selection of early manuscripts that achieved exceptional results. Highlighting the group was a 14th century manuscript of the Rules of St. Augustine from an English priory that soared over its $8,000-12,000 estimate to realize a stunning $102,100. The Rule of St. Augustine is among the earliest of all monastic rules, created about 400, and it was an influence on all that succeeded it. Other notable results included a 14th century Etymologiae of St. Isidore estimated at $5,000-8,000 that achieved $51,200 and a 15th century Prayer Book of Jehan Bernachier estimated at $10,000-15,000 that sold for $28,800.

A first edition of John James Audubon's octavo Birds of America sold for $41,600, far over its $25,000-35,000 estimate. Published in 1840-1844 in seven volumes, the first octavo edition was the final Birds of America publication overseen by Audubon in his lifetime.

The Fred Rotondaro Collection offered rare books and manuscripts on a range of subjects touching the African American experience in the United States over three centuries. A first edition copy of Frederick Douglass’ 1876 speech at the unveiling of the Freedman's Monument in Washington realized $12,800, far exceeding its $3,000-5,000 estimate. A first edition of the first issue of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin from 1852 also achieved $12,800.

Highlighting the range of offerings from the Ken Harte Collection of Natural History was a first edition Richard Bowdler Sharpe’s beautifully illustrated monograph of Kingfishers, 1868-71, that sold for $14,080, doubling its $6,000-8,000 estimate. It was accompanied by an inscribed copy of the rare unfinished chapter on the anatomy of the kingfisher by James Murie.


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Consignments are currently being accepted for future auctions. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our Specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

For information, please contact Peter Costanzo at 212-427-4141 ext 248, Edward Ripley-Duggan at ext 234, or Noah Goldrach at ext 226, or email Books@Doyle.com

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