SECOND ST. PETERSBURG AUCTION OF ANTIQUE BOOKS
St. Petersburg House of Books and the Auction House of the Russian Federation invite booksellers, journalists and all interested readers to the Second St. Petersburg auction of antique books.
The event will take place on 18 October at 14.00 in the House of Books, in the atrium of the Singer House (St. Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect, 28).
The project of joint antique books auctions started in 2013 on the initiative of St. Petersburg House of Books. The Auction House of the Russian Federation acted as a professional organizer of auctions. The experience proved to be very successful – the auction attracted the attention of both private collectors and museum community. The preparation of the second auction took a whole year; it allowed to enlarge the collection and to include in the catalogue a number of unique books.
For the upcoming auction put 289 items in seven major sections: books on history, finance, law, art, belles-lettres, books for children and books in foreign languages. Range of starting prices is also big – from 500 rubles to 300,000 rubles.
“We are happy with the fact that, due to reputation and popularity of the organizers of the auction (St. Petersburg House of Books and the Auction House of the Russian Federation), during the year that has passed since the first auction, significantly increased the inflow of “first-hand” lots for sale from the citizens of our city. Due to this, the starting prices for many items in our catalogue are significantly below the market prices. We hope this will attract new purchasers to us and will provide an interesting competitive activity at the auction” (Andrey Stepanenko, General Director of the Auction House of the Russian Federation).
“By the results of the first auction and further work of antique department of the House of Books in the course of the year we have got a circle of regular customers – lovers and collectors of antique books, not only from St. Petersburg, but also from other cities. We hope to expand this circle. Old book gives a wonderful sense of touch to the epoch when it was published. For me it is its main value. In addition, contrary to popular opinion, collecting of old books – it's a hobby of not only the rich people. It is a special excitement – to find an interesting antique book at a price comparable to the price of a new, just published book. We invite to our auction all book lovers. Maybe this will give birth to a new very interesting hobby” (Maria Grusheva, Member of the Board of Directors of the St. Petersburg House of Books).
In gathered for the auction collection stands alone distinguish two surprising with their topicality lots “Problems of St. Petersburg Transformation” by Fedor Yegorovich Enakiev (Lot 76. Estimate 35,000‒45,000) and a set of 23 books on customs subject (Lot 193. Estimate 250,000‒270,000). Published more than 100 years ago, today they look more topical and in addition to collection value they are of undoubted historical and educational interest.
Lot № 76 ‒ “Problems of St. Petersburg Transformation” ‒ an extremely rare edition, practically appear on the market.
In 1910, engineer Enakiev and architect L. N. Benois with the participation of M. M. Peretyakovich developed a grand plan for modernization of St. Petersburg. The project was well known, widely discussed and supported by both the Royal Family and the public.
Problems of the megalopolis, which the author emphasized in 1912, remain relevant today. Being embodied in the early XX century, these changes could make life of modern citizens of St. Petersburg more comfortable.
Among the proposed innovations, for example – creation the street – duplicate of Nevsky Prospekt, which had to cross Bol’shaya Konyushennaya street along the road of Swedish lane. “Inconveniences experienced while carriages and trams moving along the streets in areas located between the Fontanka River and Bolshaya Neva, and along Kamennoostrovsky avenue, indicate the need in the nearest future for driveways, parallel to existing arteries. The work of this kind should begin immediately, because the rapidity of movements within a large city – a powerful factor of its enrichment” – wrote Enakiev.
More than 100 years passed and “inconveniences experienced while moving” aggravated many times, and the “rapidity of movements within a large city” has become one of the major problems of the world's megacities.
Other measures to transform Petersburg: creation of “the second” Kamennoostrovsky avenue, transfer of barracks and hospitals on the outskirts, the enlargement of the port, creation in place of the New Admiralty “one of the most elegant and beautiful” city blocks of buildings – remain relevant and unresolved today.
Of particular interest is the development project of St. Petersburg underground. At the time of publication of the book, the underground was in operation in seven cities: London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. According to the author, – “The Underground is a kind of patent for the recognition of the city world significance”. Despite the fact that underground development projects have been discussed since the end of the XIX century, a series of horrible historical events that attacked Russia in the first half of the XX century, led to the fact that this “patent” our city has received only in 1955 – almost 100 years later than London.
Enakiev in his book clearly shows the problems of the big city (transport and housing problems, population growth, location of industrial zones, health and landscaping, and so forth) and provides specific measures to solve them.
Also the author examines in detail the financial part of the proposed changes, reasonably noticing that “the beauty of the city – the creator of its prosperity and social peace ... The commercial value of the beauty is now formally recognized. All are aware that the city is beautiful, clean and well kept, and it's money in pockets of those who live in this city”.
There is no doubt that in the case of implementation of this plan, Fedor Enakiev would be destined to play in the history of St. Petersburg a role as significant as a role which belongs to Baron Haussmann in the history of Paris.
Relevant today remains the instruction of Aristotle, which the author addresses the city leaders, architects and artists: “to organize the city so that the citizens were happy and lived in security”.
Edition has rich illustrations – many color maps, plans, and so forth, allowing to visualize the grandiosity of these changes.
Lot № 193 – the set of 23 books on the customs – another Lot, wonderfully echoes with the contemporary events.
The set includes 23 official publication of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (from 1901 to 1914), containing mainly materials for the preparation of a new Trade Agreement with Germany.
On the eve of the World War II revision of trade relations with Germany had a wide resonance in Russian society and in the media. Validity of existed at the time agreement of 1904 would expire 18 December, 1917. At the beginning of the XX century Russia had with Germany such extensive trade relations, than with no other country.
The main reason for the renegotiation of the Agreement was the intensification of agricultural production in Germany and, as a result, the extrusion of Russian bread from European markets, as well as the penetration of the German grain to the domestic market.
With the deployment of deep reforms in the sphere of agricultural production in Russia started a campaign for a renegotiation of the existing Agreement, unfavorable for Russia.
Negative trends in the Russian-German trade relations have contributed to the strengthening of Russia's anti-German sentiment. The newspapers reported that Russia was rapidly becoming a “colony” of Germany, and the nature of established bilateral relations in trade sphere threatens Russia with the loss of great empire status. Russian press was almost unanimous in their evaluation of this Agreement as very favorable to the German Party and ruinous for Russia.
Due to recent political events, particularly interesting is a booklet “The list of goods prohibited to be imported”, edition of 1914. Exactly one hundred years ago, in the list of goods “under penalty” among others were included such items as “gunpowder and explosive mixture, military shells, cannons, mortars, bullets, bombs, wind-gun, as well as canes, sticks and chibouks with daggers and other concealed weapons”. "In addition, in the list of goods prohibited to be imported were playing cards – due to the fact that since the end of the XVIII century cards have become a very profitable source of replenishment of the treasury and state completely monopolized cards trade and production; Bengal matches (in view of a fire risk), “all sorts of goods and things, having the nature of disrespect to the sanctuary, blaspheny and sacrilege” (the reason is clear), American potatoes (due to Colorado potato beetles, raging in the United States in those years), “all sorts of pork production” (by epidemic reasons), as well as “food and beverage containing artificial sweeteners”(being hazardous for health).
In addition, the list includes “corks with the stamps of foreign trading houses, being brought separately from bottles” (it can be assumed that they were prohibited because of the particular pushfulness of some Russian wine merchants), as well as dishes with a double bottom, as there were cases of its use for smuggling alcohol.
In addition to these “topical” publications in the auction catalogue there are many most interesting antiquarian books.
Among the lots, having undoubtedly a collection and artistic value – the first edition of “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, the first edition of the novel of Mikhail Bulgakov “Dog’s Heart”, a verbatim report in three volumes of the famous “Beilis Case”, the six-volume “History of Art” by Igor Grabar’, lifetime edition of Elena Guro “Street Organ: Plays, Poems, prose," and many other unique books.
Lot № 1 – Lomonosov, M. V. Russian Grammar.
One of the first grammars of Russian language, compiled by M. Lomonosov in 1755. Published edition of 1,200 copies. Estimate 100,000–110,000.
Lot № 40 – Ukhtomsky E. Journey to the East of His Imperial Highness the Inheritor Tsesarevitch: 1890-1891. In three volumes.
The publication is dedicated 300 days journey (from 23 October 1890 to 4 August 1891) of Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Emperor Nicholas II) in Greece, Egypt, India, China, Japan and Siberia. Voyage was considered to be the final stage of education of the Inheritor of the Russian throne. At the same time it was an important diplomatic move on the part of the Emperor's-the father. The event was worthy commemorated in history, largely due to E. E Ukhtomsky, who was included in the escort of Nikolai Alexandrovich a few days before departure.
A complete set of volumes. Rarity. Estimate 230,000-250,000 rubles.
Lot № 194 ‒ Imperial Porcelain Factory 1744‒1904. Historical Sketch.
Deluxe anniversary edition, issued for the 160th anniversary of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, edited by Baron N. B. von Wolf, covers the history of the Factory from the birth of Russian porcelain production until the early years of the XX century. The book has a rich reference material, extracts from archival documents, and also includes an extensive illustrative material: phototypes in the text and heliogravures on separate sheets. Estimate 140,000‒160,000 rubles.
Reference to PDF-catalogue with full list of lots
Information about the auction on the site of the Auction House of the Russian Federation