Mexico and Spanish Americana from Libreria de Antano
California Book Fair offerings from Libreria de Antano.
By Michael Stillman
Libreria de Antano has published the list of books that it brought to the recent ABAA show in Los Angeles. Many booksellers exhibited at the major west coast book fair in February, but few traveled as far to attend. Libreria de Antano is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so we can safely assume that any books they brought were important. We may also presume that the material on this list would be of interest to many collectors in North America, as well as to its southern neighbor.
Libreria de Antano specializes in South American and Spanish works. However, in a nod to the more northern concentration of attendees, this collection had a higher concentration of the United State's closest neighbor, Mexico. Many Mexican items from several centuries ago highlight this collection. The great majority of material is in Spanish, though there are a few in English and French. The list offers many interesting titles from the lands that start south of the California border, and run almost to Antarctica.
Item 21 is Antonio de Solis' Historia de la Conquista de Mexico... De Solis was a Spanish official who wrote the definitive history of Mexico up to the time, which was 1684. The book was very popular in Spain, going through dozens of editions, but this is the first. De Solis paints a heroic portrait of conquistador Hernan Cortes, a view not likely shared by the Mexican natives who preceded him. De Solis was also a playwright, many of his plays having survived, but he severed all ties to this earlier life before traveling to Mexico on behalf of the Spanish crown. This first edition was published in Madrid in 1684. Priced at $8,000.
Item 58 contains a collection of drawings from Bougainville's circumnavigation of the globe. This is not the more famous Bougainville, Louis Antoine, the famed South American explorer for whom the Bougainvillea flower is named. This was his son, Le Baron de Bougainville, who traveled from 1824-1826 with the ships Thetis and L'Esperence. The younger Bougainville conducted research in Australia as well as South America. His book is, Album Pittoresque de la Frégate La Thétis et de la Corvette L'Espérance, published in Paris in 1828 (first edition). $12,000.
Mexico and Spanish Americana from Libreria de Antano
Executed Mexican President Miguel Miramon, photo courtesy of Library of Congress.
Item 16 is a 150-year-old portrait of a Mexican president, though not necessarily a beloved one. At the age of 15, Miguel Miramon was held prisoner during the Mexican-American War. Afterwards, he would quickly rise in the military. While a charismatic figure, Miramon was no man of the people. He was a staunch conservative, and vehemently opposed the progressive reforms of the reformation movement of the late 1850s. In 1860, he became president, but would be forced from power by the liberals under Benito Juarez. Miramon fled to Europe, but he would return as military commander in 1866 after the French installed Maxmillian as emperor of Mexico. However, once the French withdrew support, Maximillian and Miramon's days were numbered. Both were captured by Juarez's forces and executed together in June 1867. However, Miramon can live on in your home if you purchase this circa 1858 portrait. $3,500.
Item 27 is a notable book about the Mexican Revolution, Notes on Mexico made in the autumn of 1822 accompanied by an historical sketch of the revolution... This 1824 first edition was credited to "A Citizen of the United States," but the author was South Carolina Congressman Joel R. Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico. He was first sent to the newly independent country as Special Envoy in 1822. He served there until recalled in 1830, the result of his meddling in internal affairs (though his intentions were generally good). However, his service gave this otherwise forgotten man a bit of immortality. Poinsett sent home samples of a flower that grew in the nation's southern region which is today knows as the "poinsettia." In 1833, he married Mary Pringle, but there is no indication the reconstituted potato chip was named for her. Poinsett supported President Jackson against fellow South Carolinian Senator John C. Calhoun during the Nullification crisis. This would earn him appointment as Secretary of War under President Martin Van Buren. Poinsett retired to his plantation in South Carolina in 1841, where he lived the remaining decade of his life. $900.
Who would have known that Tarzan could speak Spanish, but he was a man of amazing talents. Item 32 is a collection of eleven of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books, mostly Spanish language first editions. Published between 1922 and 1937. $1,500. Item 33 is a Spanish first of Carlo Collodi's Italian classic, Pinocchio, or Aventuras de Pinocho. $4,500. For a classic of more recent vintage, there is Cien Anos de Soledad, (in English, "One Hundred Years of Solitude") by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Item 39 is a 1967 first edition of this most important Latin American novel. $5,000.
You may reach Libreria de Antano by email at email@example.com or by phone at 5411 48227178.