The Ponte Auction House has always kept its attention to the collection of Manuscripts and Rare Books, so much so that in 2017 it inaugurated a dedicated department which, in the space of a few years, has intercepted an increasingly cultured and curious niche of enthusiasts. Also for this sector, the auction house has chosen to maintain a broad vision of the market, with composite contributions in which one can find Manuscripts, Incunabula, First Editions, Autographs, Atlases and Maps, but also twentieth-century Livres d’Artistes, Antique Classic Books and Historical Curiosities. The strategy of preferring quality and rarity of the items offered at auction was successful, to attract the interest of important private collectors and the international public.
The auction of Antique Books and Livres d’Artistes leads the second chapter of 2023 at Il Ponte: the turnover exceeds € 470,000 in sales, 86% of lots sold and 120% of increase on starting prices.
Bibliophiles from all over the world are the main characters of the many chapters of the sale, starting off with the booklet of twenty-eight autographed sheet music that belonged to Carolina Verri, a true jewel of publishing, signed by many composers such as Richard Wagner, Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Arturo Toscanini and many others: top lot of the auction sold for €32,760.
The “modern section”, the one dedicated to the Livres d'Artistes, is becoming increasingly popular where it stands out the sale of the masterpiece by Italian futurist artist Fortunato Depero "Imbullonato" (€ 20,160) and the drawings for "La Cite" by Natalia Goncharova from 1920 (€ 6,930) in its editorial wrappers.
Also the eclectic collection of illustrations exceeded the expectations, as it has proved to be a great sought-after testament of the past, as it was shown from the beautiful 19th-century book devoted to ornithology by naturalist Eugenio Bettoni, enlivened by splendid drawings of more than 20,000 species of birds nesting in Lombardy (€12,600).
The dense excursus devoted to incunabula and ancient volumes boasts several outstanding sales, among them Dante's 'Commedia' printed by Vindelino da Spira in Venice in 1477 (€ 11,970) and the famous treatise on witchcraft by Jacobus Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer from 1574 (€ 6,300), considered a fundamental guide for witch hunts in the Inquisition courts.
It was an enthusiastic reaction the one for Alessandro Vitrioli's Italian translation of the very first treatise on chocolate, written by Spanish physician Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma in 1667, which reached € 5,670 from an auction starting price of € 2,000: a genuine first, never appeared before on the market.
Lastly, among the lots dedicated to the delightful combination of words and drawings, the sale of the collection of etchings excerpted from the works of ancient and modern painter stands out, where the artist Francisco Goya is the master (€ 7,560).