Press Info

Skydiving with Leonardo - Book Auction Sales in Königstein

Preview of the Spring Auctions of Books and Prints at Reiss & Sohn in Königstein near Frankfurt/Germany from May 6th to 8th, 2019

This year’s spring auctions at Reiss & Sohn are presented in two richly illustrated catalogues with a total of almost 3000 lots. Amongst them is a fine selection of rare Italian books from the 16th century as well as a selected collection on the subject of Greece and a collection of extremely rare maps of early Italian cartographers from the so-called Lafreri School.
The price highlight is a copy of the most famous Braun and Hogenberg town book, “Civitates orbis terrarum”, with views and plans of the most important cities and places in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America (Estimate 60.000 €).

Amazing Inventions and Natural Beauties

In his work “Machinae novae” (published around 1615), the universal scholar Faustus Verantius unfolds a fascinating spectrum of mechanical and technical innovations of his time and of his own. His ‘homo volans’ is the first published construction of a parachute in the sequel of Leonardo (Estimate 26.000,- €). The astronomer Johannes Hevelius was one of the first to describe comets scientifically. For almost 15 years he collected information about the numerous comet phenomena shown in his “Cometographia” , his magnum opus published at his own expense in 1668 (Estimate 30.000,- €). Flora and fauna as well are represented by magnificent books at Reiss & Sohn. On 121 coloured copper plates, the entire world of British birds is unfolded in Thomas Pennant’s “British Zoology”, published 1761-1766 (Estimate 18.000,- €). „All economic plants“ are superbly depicted in Johann Simon Kerner’s excellently coloured flora, complete with 800 copper plates (Estimate 18.000,- €).

Milestones of Pacific Voyages of Discovery Numerous important works about major discoveries in the Pacific region enrich the travel section of the auction catalogue, often with reference to James Cook and his contemporaries. For the Northern Pacific, the travel account of George Vancouver is undoubtedly outstanding. In his work “A voyage of discovery to the North Pacific Ocean” from 1798, he describes and maps for the first time the North American coast in detail (Estimate 15,000 €). Spectacular travel reports of great explorers as Frederick William Beechey, William Bligh, Yves-Joseph Kerguelen, Jean-François de Galaup La Perouse, Sydney Parkinson are beeing offered, the majority in first editions, with estimated prices from 2,000 to 6,000 €. Maps of Early Italian Cartographers Among the more than 200 lots of very rare maps of the 16th-17th century are Israel by Bertelli (taxe 1.500 €), Istanbul in bird’s-eye view by Duchetti (taxe 1.500 €) and Northern Europe by Scolari (taxe 8.000 €). A great rarity amongst them is a world map in heart-shaped projection by Finè and Cimerlino printed around 1590 (Estimate 30.000 €). A copy of Abraham Ortelius‘ “Theatrum orbis terrarum” from 1601 is outstanding through its special provenance of the jurist and poet Tobias Scultetus v. Bregoschitz und Schwanensee (1565-1620), who was acquainted with Ortelius (Estimate 35.000 €). An impressive travel map of Japan from 1804 measuring 8.70 meters in length, shows in detail routes, mountains, points of cultural interests and even names of local rulers (Estimate 3.000 €). A particularly detailed manuscript map published around 1800 and intended for the use of seafarers shows the surroundings and a city map of Nagasaki (Estimate 6,000 €).
Catalogues – Bidding
The two richly illustrated catalogues can be purchased as print versions. The printed catalogues will be available from April 10th , 2019 on. The online catalogues are accessible from now on at and figure all lots through a total of approx. 10,000 images. Absentee order bids can be submitted online directly from the web catalogue or via email (identification may be required). A fax form can be down loaded from the web site.

Adelheidstrasse 2 · 61462 Königstein im Taunus · Germany
phone. +49 6174-92720 · fax +49 6174-927249 · Email: