The Scarce German Edition of Gould's "Toucans" in Publisher's Wrappers


(Nuremberg: Published by the Translators, 1841-47). 343 x 255 mm. (13 1/2 x 10"). 41 (of 42) leaves of text (see below). Four fascicles. Translated by Johann Heinrich Christian Friedrich Sturm and Johann Wilhelm Sturm. First German Edition.

PUBLISHER'S PRINTED PAPER WRAPPERS, that of second issue lacking back wrapper (but with two states of the front wrapper), that of fourth issue apparently in facsimile. Housed together in a modern brown buckram clamshell box backed with cream-colored linen. 40 LITHOGRAPHIC PLATES, including 36 HAND-COLORED PLATES OF TOUCANS, two black & white anatomical plates of toucan bills and skeleton, and an additional three black & white states of colored plates, not called for by the bibliographies consulted. The three additional uncolored plates with pencilled notations and stamp of the Nuremberg Natural History Library on verso. Anker 169; Ayer/Zimmer, p. 256; Nissen IVB 379. Minor stains to paper wrappers, occasional mild offsetting, other trivial imperfections, but A FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and brightly colored.

This is a very appealing copy of the German version of Gould's work on Toucans, with beautifully colored plates, and with the unusual opportunity to appreciate the degree to which hand coloring enhances the reader's experience. Our copy has three additional plates in black & white (like the plates in the online BSB copy), allowing one to contrast the difference between colored and uncolored plates, and the extent to which the artful hand coloring brings the exotic birds to life. Zimmer notes that "the principal part of the general text is based on Gould's 'Monograph of the Ramphastidae,' 1833-35, of which it is, in places, a literal translation; but considerable [sic] of the matter is rewritten or revised and there are additional species described here for the first time. The plates are sometimes redrawn and reduced from Gould, but often altered or designed afresh, while the illustrations of the new species are entirely new."

Added to the Gould text is a translation of Richard Owen's article on toucan anatomy, with additional comments by Rudolph Wagner, accompanied by two plates of toucan skeletons and bills. The German edition is scarcer than the English version, with ABPC and RBH finding five copies at auction since at least 1975, as opposed to more than 70 copies of the English edition. Because this work was issued in parts over several years, collations vary. While Zimmer calls for 42 leaves, he also reports that the Ayer Library copy included the prospectus, not present here; perhaps that was included in his count.

Price: $12,500.00

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