Press Info

PRESS RELEASE - September 2020

From Fake News to the Invention of Cinema

Preview to the autumn auction sales 2020 at Reiss & Sohn
in Königstein/Taunus, Germany,
October 27th-30th  2020

Königstein (Taunus), September 2020 – This year’s autumn auctions at Reiss & Sohn will be presented in two catalogues with a total of more than 2800 items of valuable and rare books, manuscripts, atlases and maps as well as decorative graphics. One of the many highlights of the offer is a section of 220 books on the history of optics and its practical application including forerunners and early works of photography as well as motion picture, including rarissima from the 16th to 19th century.

Botanical Book Illustration: Fishes and Flowers

Beautiful and exotic fishes shine on more than 400 fine colored copper plates in the important ichthyological work of Marcus Elieser Bloch, mostly illustrating exhibits from his own collection. The present copy, here bound in 12 monumental volumes in fine binding, is a highlight of this year’s fall auctions, offered at an estimate of € 70,000.
Collectors can purchase one of the earliest descriptions of the flora of the West Indies, the splendid botanical work “Flore des Antilles” by the French natural scientist Francois Richard de Tussac with almost 140 color engraved plates (€ 40,000).

Faked Biographies and Baroque Alchemy

The first auction day debutes with a fine section of almost 30 incunabula and 70 manuscripts. A fake biography of Saint Hieronymus was a bestselling work in medieval times. A German version in a vellum codex, dating around 1400 is on offer at € 10,000.
A collection of numerous German and Latin manuscripts on alchemy, medicine and occultism from the period about 1670-1740 is assembled in together 5 strong volumes with an interesting provenance, a massive treasure trove which gives room for research (€ 10,000).

The Eye, the Lens, the Photograph, the Motion Picture

With his book “Ophthalmodouleia. Das ist Augendienst”, published in 1583, Georg Bartisch von Königsbrück, established modern ophthalmology. The book is particularly known for its rich illustrations and the present copy offered is in splendid contemporary colouring  (€ 30,000).
A milestone of literature on optics is the first edition of “Peri Optikes” by the medieval monk Vitellio, in which he imparts ancient Greek-Arabic theories. Johannes Kepler, who later based his studies on this standard work, received his copy as a gift. The estimate price for the copy now auctioned in Königstein is € 15,000.
The German terms ‚Okular (ocular)‘ and ‚Objektiv (lens)‘ are traced back first to Anton Maria Schyrleus de Rheita and his book “Oculus Enoch et Eliae” from 1645 (€ 6,000).
Molyneus’ “Dioptrica nova” of 1692, is the first treatise on optics ever written in English (€ 6,000).
Cinema would not have been realised without the Lumière brothers invention of the “Cinématograph”, which first enabled film projection on a large screen (€ 6,000).
The ‘father of photography’, Louis Daguerre, published his famous treatise “Historique et déscription des procédés du daguerréotype” in 1839 in various editions. The first and second edition are here bound together in one volume (€ 12,000).

The earliest German “Bilderbuch” for Children

A vivid picture of various professions of the time about 1690 in beautiful large size woodcuts can be found in “Curioser Spiegel des gantzen menschlichen Lebens”, which is the earliest German picture book for children. This rarity is supposed to reach € 10,000.

Europe’s Splendor and Glory

An extremely rare town book by Frederik de Wit, published 1695 under the title “Theatrum ichnographicum omnium urbium” contains more than 250 magnificent views of mostly European cities (€ 45,000). Another outstanding town book was published in 1657, by Jan Jansson, under the title “Urbium totius Germaniae superioris”. The 220 fine views of German cities are in fine contemporary colouring (€ 35,000).
Of special interest among the chapters of maps and views, arranged by geographic order, is a very rare wall map of Europe in 6 sheets by J. M. Haas, printed by Homann Erben in 1746 (€ 12,000). Aegidus Sadeler’s impressive panoramic town view of Prague was engraved in 1606 and is one of the finest of it’s kind. The future proud owner of this large size copper engraving, however, will need a wall of at least 3.20 m in width (€ 20,000).

Two richly illustrated catalogues will be published for the auction sales. The complete auction offer, with approx. 10.000 additional images and a full text search, can also be found on our website . For further information and images please contact:

Adelheidstraße 2 · 61462 Königstein/Ts. · Germany
phone: +49 (0)6174-92720 · fax: +49 (0)6174-927249 · email: