Lot 257: German naturalist and explorer (1769–1859) who wrote Kosmos, a massive five-volume study which attempted to unify the various branches of man's knowledge. Outstanding collection of eight mostly untranslated ALSs in French and German, and an unsigned autograph note, totaling ten pages, most signed "A. v. Humboldt," dated between 1817 and 1848. Humboldt writes to various recipients, concerning the development of the gold price, Arnold Mendelssohn and the so-called 'Casket Affair,' an appointment, and various other subjects. One to a friend and banker, in part (translated): "May I ask…for your opinion as to whether the gold in relation to silver is rising. Between 1817 and 1823 the gold has very regularly increased…to which the stamping of the English gold was attributed…How is it this time? I wish to know whether the increase in gold production in the Urals and North America can be felt in the proportion of the metals, whether gold since 1825, where the gold of the Urals is only important in prices decreases as it becomes more frequent."
Another, concerning the 'Casket Affair,' in part (translated): "Amidst the increasing eerie movements of capital to remind you of your kindness to me, to the petition that you wanted to have a favorable attitude, in my name (in case of highly troubled Mendelsohn's family) to the king to hand over. The thing is my painful heart!"
The remaining include a letter to the meteorologist Georg von Boguslawski about an appointment; one to the gardener Peter Joseph Lenne arranging a meeting and an exchange; two others, including one to Prince Adalbert of Prussia, are letters of thanks; another is to the wife of the composer Gasparo Spontini, Catherine Marie Celeste, mentioning viewing some paintings in Paris; and the final letter is to a bookseller in Paris, ordering several volumes. The unsigned note is apparently about an article in a geographic publication. In overall very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds with significant separations to one letter. A substantial and highly desirable collection with diverse content by the great naturalist.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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