COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. 1473-1543. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.
Lot 79
COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. 1473-1543.
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.
Sold for US$ 100,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. 1473-1543. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.
COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. 1473-1543.
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.
Folio (288 x 190 mm). []6 a-z4 A-Z4 Aa-Ff4 Gg6. Woodcut diagrams, intials and printers emblems. Early vellum over boards (17th century?), spine lettered in gilt. Early annotation, generally on paste-on slips, normal occasional browning, a few instances of brief repair, title with small area of tissue reinforcement to fore-edge margin, binding with only minor wear, a tall and handsome copy.
Provenance: "F.V.D.R." to title.

SECOND (AUTHORIZED) EDITION. Rightly called "The Greatest Book in the History of Astronomy," Copernicus' De Revolutionibus assigned the Sun the central position in the solar system and repositioned the earth as a revolving planet. In thus transforming man's view of the cosmos, it "set the course for the modern world by its effective destruction of the anthropocentric view of the universe" (PMM 70).
Intended as a page-for-page reprint of the 1543 first edition, this second edition contains an important added feature: the text of Rheticus' Narratio Prima, the famed pre-announcement of Copernicus' work. As the first two editions of the Narratio (1540 and 1541) are both of very great rarity, this third printing of the Narratio is, for all practical intents and purposes, the earliest obtainable form of the text.
De Revolutionibus was put on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1616 and this copy in fact vividly bears the marks of such Church condemnation. The prefatory matter and early leaves of Book I were "corrected" (i.e. censored) in 1630 by the "Master of Sacred Theology and Inquisitor of Verona" — the Dominican Pio Joanino of Bologna — who signs himself at the end of the text, in adding the humorous touch of a poetic couplet (originally written by the Welsh poet John Owen against the English scientist William Gilbert): "Thou the earth denyst to stand ... Thou perhaps wert in a boat."
This copy also contains near-contemporary annotations of a mathematical nature. Small paste-on slips are to be found in the blank areas/margins of books I and III, which number some of the diagrams (in Book I) and correct numerical technical details (in Book III); three longer comments on larger slips are also tipped into the inner margin of Book I. These larger slips explicitly refer to the mathematician/astronomer Christopher Clavius and his work on "spherical triangles," and they further self-reference the commentator's "observations" on Copernicus. Each of these slips appears to be a critique of Clavius and a defense of Copernicus' mathematical logic. This copy is II 130 in the Annotated Census of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus (Brill, 2002); Adams C2603.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $250,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $250,001 to $4,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% on the excess over $4,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Adam Stackhouse
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3266
    FaxFax: +1 415 861 8951
  2. Catherine Williamson
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5442
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843
Similar Items