$122k for Galileo's first ever telescope observations



2015-06-26 11:46:18

$122k for Galileo's first ever telescope observations

The text has sold alongside Uncle Tom's Cabin, 'the most influential C19th fictional work,' at Sotheby's

The first-ever account of the discoveries made with a telescope sold for $122,500 at Sotheby's, last Friday (December 11).

The second edition of Galileo Galilei's 'Sidereus nuncius magna, longeque admirabilia spectacula pandens' wasreleased just months after the first, and also the astronomer's first work published outside of Italy.

Galileo's first telescope observations ($122k) Galileo's first telescope observations ($122.5k)

First published at Venice, on 12 March 1610, it contains Galileo's observations of the Milky Way, its nebulae composed of stars, the moons of Jupiter, and the irregular surface of the Moon - and isfascinating ancestor to the tools which have allowed mankind to explore the stars.

For this Frankfurt edition, little time or expense was devoted to copying Galileo's careful lunar engravings, insteadsubstituting them with less-accurate woodcuts.

The second highest lot was a rare manuscript leaf from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, perhaps the most influential fictional work of the 19th century.

An incredibly scarce work -only eight other autograph fragments from the work appear to be known to scholars -it left the auction block at $98,500.

'Prodromus astronomiae', by far the most well-known of astronomer Johannes Hevelius seminal body of works and observations, was the third highest lot.

 Johannes Hevelius's 'Prodromus astronomiae', salvaged fromthe author's1679 house fire ($86.5k)

The rare piece was also one of the fewworksto be salvaged from a devastating fire at Hevelius's home observatory, in 1679.

The catalogue of 1,564 stars, arranged alphabetically - incorporating Hevelius's observations along with Ptolemy, Copernicus and others - eventually brought $86,500.

Meanwhile,a set of celestial globe gores by Vincenzo Maria Coronelli - "the greatest globe-maker of all time... when globes were ornaments of palaces," quotes Sotheby's - went for $68,500. Globe gores are two dimensional convex edged strips, connected side-by-side which 'roll up' to forma sphere.

The set comprises various volumes with plates, ranging in height from two inches to three feet, featuring detailed terrestrial and celestial globes.

An 1820 edition of the Book of Hours, aka Horae Beatea Mariae Virginis, made for use in Rheims, the Metropolitan See of France, also went under the hammer.

Much rarer than those made for Paris or Rouen, it wasthe fifth highest seller at Sotheby's,bringing $59,375.

The Sotheby's sale also included a collection of drawings by John James Audubon. The Birds of America, from Drawings made in the United States and their Territories (New York, 1840-1844) had a final hammer price of $56,250.

Images: Sotheby's

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