Regularly Islamic scientific manuscripts and instruments are being sold as ” Islamic Art” via dealers or auction houses. It is very useful to follow these dealers and auctions, since sometimes unique instruments and manuscripts might appear briefly, which then will disappear again in a private collection for a long period.
The University of Pennsylvania has a nice website which contains a manuscripts database including manuscripts which have been sold in the past. The following description is from the website:
The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts encompasses more than 110,000 searchable entries of manuscripts written before 1600 and consisting of five or more leaves. This database is intended to be a powerful tool in:
- Locating and identifying information about particular manuscripts.
- Establishing the history and provenance of manuscripts.
- Aggregating descriptive information about specific classes or types of manuscripts.
It includes bibliographic information culled from approximately 12,000 catalogues issued by 2,000 dealers and auction houses since the early nineteenth century. This data is supplemented by entries from inventories and catalogues of private and institutional libraries. With twenty-nine searchable fields, it provides broad access to manuscripts through a range of discrete descriptive (i.e., vendor, catalogue name or number, item number, price, etc.) and physical (leaves, size, illuminations, etc.) properties. Multiple references to the same manuscript are cross-referenced to facilitate the tracking of individual manuscripts. The database is updated and augmented periodically on an ongoing basis. The Database of Manuscripts is the property of J. Lawrence Schoenberg. The Penn Library is sponsoring and facilitating access to it.
Online Auction Sites:
Dealers in London:
Dealers in Paris:
This dealer is specialized in scientific instruments and occasionally sells Islamic scientific instruments such as astrolabes, quadrants, compasses or Qibla maps.
Bouwman Oriental Books (Groenekan, The Netherlands)