In this context which was highly conducive to the natural sciences, Albertus Seba settled around 1700 as a pharmacist near the harbor. He requires the sailors to bring him back the exotic plants which will be used for his apothecary preparations and the animals, shells and minerals which will constitute his repository of curiosities.
In 1717 Tsar Peter the Great paid his second visit to Amsterdam. Twenty years earlier he had been introduced by Witsen to Ruysch who taught him how to catch butterflies. On the occasion of his new visit the Tsar buys in their entirety the natural history collections of Ruysch and Seba.
Seba's procurement process was inexhaustible. He constitutes after that sale a new collection even more important than the previous one and decides to establish and publish a catalog with the help of the best scientists and engravers. His classification by physical features will directly influence Linnaeus who visits him twice in 1735.
Seba died in 1736 whereas only the first two volumes of his Thesaurus had been published, in 1734 and 1735. The edition will be completed with the third and fourth volumes in 1758 and 1765. This natural history by Seba is a splendid large folio 50 x 34 cm and somehow the counterpart for animals of the masterpiece of botany, the Hortus Eystettensis published by Besler in 1613.
On November 28 in Paris, Christie's sells a complete copy of Seba's Thesaurus, lot 547 estimated € 350K. Its binding in the mosaic style is exceptional : the first two volumes were bound by the Dutch master Mandelgreen ; the two later volumes were bound in an identical style without loss of craftsmanship.
SOLD for € 510K including premium