The Medical & Science Library of Gerald I. Sugarman, MD to be Auctioned at PBA Galleries November 20

Neatly placed in fine rose-wood book cases in the personal office library at the cottage-style medical offices of Dr. Gerald I. Sugarman was a select group of rare books on medicine, science and related subjects, the product of decades of collecting. Rare works on midwifery and obstetrics from the 16th century; early illustrated books on “monsters,” the result of birth defects and genetic mutation; massive folios with colored plates depicting horrific diseases of the skin; seminal works on anatomy; and many more lay in the shelves, with the larger books stacked one on top of the other. The counterpart to this collection of tomes was the amazing accumulation of original medical instruments, medicines, and devices of all description which was neatly housed in glass-fronted rose-wood cases in the reception area of his offices. Forceps, early stethoscopes, vintage suture needles, Civil War amputation saws, microscopes, mechanisms for administering mild electric shocks, apothecary jars and more were on display, along with vintage scales and other medical office furniture. Dr. Sugarman, of Arroyo Grande, California, a stone’s throw from Pismo Beach, both a medical doctor and a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice, had after much deliberation decided to sell his astounding collection. Specialists from PBA Galleries were there to examine and pack up the material to truck it safely to San Francisco, where they will sell it at public auction on November 20th, 2008.

Among the highlights of the auction is The birth of Mankinde, otherwise named The Vvoman’s Booke by Eucharius Roeslin, 1598, the eighth edition of the English translation by Thomas Raynalde. First published in German in 1513, it is notable as the first book written especially for midwives in the vernacular because intended users were not conversant with Latin. The vellum-bound work, illustrated with woodcuts, is estimated at $10,000/15,000. The Opera omnia anatomica & chirurgica of Andreas Vesalius, 1725, is another important work in the auction, being the first collected edition of the works of the great 16th century physician, considered the founder of modern human anatomy. Illustrated with magnificent copper-engraved plates by Jan Wandelaar, the work, estimated at $6,000/9,000, amply demonstrates the great advances in medical science and the understanding of the human body which took place during the Renaissance. Another work notable for a striking series of illustrations is Paolo Mascagni’s Vasorum lymphaticorum corporis humani historia et ichnographia, 1787, an important work on the lymphatic system. A massive elephant folio, with 27 copper-engraved plates and 14 engraved outline plates with letter keys, all in meticulous detail, it has an estimate of $7,000/10,000. Finally, we have one of the most fascinating books in the auction, Fortunius Licetus’ De Monstrorum Caussis, Natura, et Differentis…, 1634, the first illustrated edition of the first comprehensive collection of monsters, or “freaks,” in reality an early classification of deformities and birth defects. Embellished with 55 copperplate engravings in the text, many with multiple images, the work was a main source of information on sexual and embryological matters not only for doctors but for lay people as well, and was still in use in the 19th century. It carries an estimate of $2,000/3,000.

For more information on the auction, or to receive a copy of the catalogue, you may contact [email protected]

High-resolution images for each of the lots described in this article, suitable for publication, may be received via email. Contact [email protected]

About PBA Galleries
PBA Galleries is the only specialist auction house in the West devoted to rare books, manuscripts, and maps. Focused primarily on personal collections and exceptional books, recent offerings have included the sale of maps and atlases from the Ernst W. Gerber collection; The Library of Ford Mitchell: Early Americana, Texas & the West; The Daniel G. Volkmann, Jr., Collection of Fine California Press Books; The Botanical Library of J. Roy Barrette of Brooklin, Maine; and many more. PBA Galleries provides clients the benefits of its staff of appraisers, online and printed catalogues, and biweekly gallery auctions where clients can bid in person, email, and in real time from their computer.