Born in Germany in 1963.
Upon finishing my formal education in 1983 and following a six months sojourn in Patagonia, Argentina, I joined my father’s antiquarian bookselling business in 1984 (originally Detlev Auvermann KG, later Auvermann & Reiss). I have been familiar with the antiquarian book business since childhood, as well as with the auction market through my father’s then partner, Godebert Michael Reiss of Reiss & Auvermann. As my father had partners in Germany, England and America, I early on experienced an international market, with clients in numerous countries and continents, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, America, and Japan, among them many institutions. Following two and a half years of work experience at my father’s company I left for Spain to assist a bookseller in Madrid for several months. Back in Germany, I entered an apprenticeship with a much-respected bookseller in Nuremberg in January 1987.
In late December 1987 I moved to London to begin an apprenticeship in the Science and Medicine department at Bernard Quaritch Ltd. (www.quaritch.com), then run by William Patrick Watson (email@example.com). Whilst his and my time at Quaritch only overlapped for a short period, we have worked together on numerous occasions since. I eventually ran the history of science and medicine department for a number of years as a director of Bernard Quaritch.
My younger brother, Christoph was head of the book department of Christie’s auctioneers, Paris, from 2000, and now manages the Librairie Clavreuil, Paris (firstname.lastname@example.org). My older brother, Dirk, was partner in the Berlin-based auction house, Hauff and Auvermann.
After almost 25 years at Bernard Quaritch Ltd., I decided to leave the company in October 2012 to set up my own business.
I work from home. The areas I specialise in are early printing in general, history of science and occasionally natural history, medicine, human sciences, the odd travel book, art, crafts and architecture, literature, select Islamic material, plus whatever takes my fancy. Most are printed books, but I also occasionally handle manuscripts of interest as well as photographs.
Although I have dealt with or in a number of famous books over my time in the profession including first or important editions of Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Boyle, Mendeleev, Bolyai, Einstein, Vesalius, Harvey, Euclid, Ptolemy, Aristotle, Plato, Ignatius of Loyola’s Exercises, Vitruvius, Palladio, Arabic texts such as the first Latin Qur’an, Western printings in Latin or Arabic of major Arabic texts on science, medicine or philosophy, a Gutenberg Bible vellum leaf recycled as a binding in the 17th century, Beethoven firsts, etc., I very much appreciate too the maybe less famous or important, but rare and interesting.
During my time at Bernard Quaritch, then owned by Lord Parmoor, I assembled several special catalogues, including one on the Swiss physician, alchemist and philosopher Paracelsus, a catalogue on mnemonics for which the late Umberto Eco wrote a preface, a small series of catalogues on the science of art with works on optics, perspective and colour theory, various catalogues on alchemy and Rosicrucianism, a groundbreaking catalogue prepared together with my former colleague and then director of our travel department, Anthony Payne, on the history of the Jesuits, entitled The Society of Jesus, with a preface by Alastair Hamilton, Professor of the History of Radical Reformation, University of Amsterdam, and Louis Thijssen-Schoute Professor of the History of Ideas, University of Leiden, a catalogue on the history of cryptography, with a preface written by the American historian, journalist and writer, and author of The Codebreakers, David Kahn, and a catalogue on the 16th century eccentric visionary, linguist and religious universalist Guillaume Postel, prefaced by Professor Alastair Hamilton.
A good number of the books and manuscripts offered by me are of a relevant provenance.