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    [Alchemy]. Heinrich Khunrath. Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae Solius Verae, Christiano-Kabalisticum, Divino-Magicum, nec non Physico Chymicum, Tertriunum, Catholicon: instructore Henrico Khunrath Lips: Theosophiae amatore fideli, et Medicinae utriusq[ue] Doct:...[Hanau: Wilhelm Anton, 1609]. Second, and first complete, edition (first published in 1595). Folio (12 x 7.125 inches; 306 x 193 mm). [4], 60, 222, [1], [1, blank] pages. Signatures: a-g4 h2 A-Z2 Aa-Ee4. Pages 191 and 192 incorrectly numbered 192 (the "9" faintly and the "2" heavily inked) and 193. Engraved allegorical title. Engraved portrait of the author by Jan Diricks van Campen as frontispiece, nine highly detailed double-page engraved plates (some by Peter van der Doort), one full-page engraved plate, and one double-page table. Complete with the rare "wise old owl" plate. Double-page plates mounted on guards, but tightly, so it is difficult to open them completely. Some text printed in double columns. Each page printed within a double-rule frame. Woodcut head- and tail-pieces, initials. Edited by Erasmus Wolfart. Colophon: "Hanoviae Excudebat Guilielmus Antonius, MDCIX."

    Contemporary vellum over pasteboard with fore-edge extensions. Title in red ink within decorative red rules. Lacking ties. Vellum rubbed and stained; corners bumped; small hole in both front and rear cover; slight damage to lower spine. Hinges repaired; rear pastedown repaired in the gutter. Some dampstaining and soiling; quite browned in places; occasional mostly marginal staining and spotting. A few lower blank corners crumpled slightly during printing; crease from lower edge of E1 (pp. 33/34) into text, affecting a couple of letters on verso. Lower corner of second leaf renewed; quarter-inch tear (paper flaw) to upper corner of O2 (pp. 107/108); small piece torn from lower corner of e3 (pp. 37/38) and Y1 (pp. 169/170). A few plates with short marginal tears at fold, or where attached to guards. Faint ink underlining on p. 145. A very good copy. Protected in a clamshell case covered with black, orange, and white cloth with a Halloween motif.

    Duveen, pp. 319 and 320, describing the 1595 first edition (Hamburg?), "of which only one other copy is known," and the 1653 Frankfurt edition, which is described as the third edition, "being a re-issue of the 1609 edition with a new title page." Caillet 5747; Ferguson I, p. 463; Wellcome I, 3560.

    Duveen (on p. 319) describes this book as "one of the most important books in the whole literature of theosophical alchemy and the occult sciences. Full details regarding this extraordinary book and all the references to the authorities will be found in: Duveen, 'Notes on some alhemical books,' The Library, fifth series, vol. I, No. 1, June 1946, p. 56."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    15th-16th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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