‘The Bibliophiles and Explorers Auction’ features an assemblage of rare books and maps from historian, economist and intellectual Don Benito Justo Legarda Jr.
Purveyors and enthusiasts of Philippine history must look out for León Gallery’s upcoming auction, “The Bibliophiles and Explorers Auction,” featuring the extensive collections of Filipino and historian Don Benito J. Legarda Jr.
The auction features a rare assemblage of books—guides, reports, memoirs, chronicles, and scientific and social studies—and maps that provide insights into the Philippines in the 19th century.
“It’s not often that a single collector embodies so many interests and whose tastes span as many centuries. But Don Benito Justo Legarda, Jr. was always far from the usual,” says León Gallery Director Jaime Ponce de Leon. “A gentleman of the old school, he would have been very much at ease with the first ilustrados, whose careers and life works—from Pedro Paterno to Jose Rizal—he avidly set out to emulate and thereafter, collect with a passion.”
Collaborating with León Gallery for the historic auction is Legarda’s daughter herself, Dr. Isabel “Tweety” Legarda. “My father’s collection of books and maps was the result of over 60, perhaps over 70, years of travels, joyous discoveries in shop corners, and avid curation,” she shares.
“Two years after his death from COVID-19, I returned to his library to excavate, like an archeologist, the artifacts of his long life.There I hoped to come to a better understanding of him, and I think I succeeded.”