Paris: Imprimebat Michael Vascosanus sibi, Roberto Stephano, ac Iohanni Roigny, affinibus suis, 1542. Cum privilegio Regio. Colophon: Finis libri quinti & ultimi, Gulielmi Budæi Parisiensis, Consiliarii Regii, supplicúmque libellorum in Regia magistri, de Asse & partibus eius, diligenter cum reliquis ab ipso authore antequam vita defungeretur, & recogniti & aucti. In typographia Michaëlis Vascosani, mense Ianuario. M.D.XLII. Folio [33.5 by 23 cm], 17th-century alum-tawed pigskin; both sides double-paneled in blind, with large central decorative device in blind impressed with the initials I.V.P.; spine with six raised bands, ruled and decorated in blind with traces of gilt remaining in recesses, dark red morocco spine label, gilt; all page edges red and speckled blue. 224, (12) leaves; woodcut initials. Covers discolored, with some spotting; front hinge cracked and small chip near tail of spine, but binding sound and wholly intact, with only light bowing; pages generally crisp, with very little in the way of spotting. Very good or better. Item #6072
A rare folio edition of the first printed numismatic book, here published in Budé’s native city by Michel de Vascosan, Robert Estienne and Jean de Roigny. Ernest Babelon has written: “The hellenist Guillaume Budé (b. Paris 1467 † August 23, 1540), was a friend of Francis I who, it has been said, wrote in Latin with the skill of Varro. At the time of the reign of Louis XII he had already put together the collection of gold and silver Roman coins upon which he was to base his book De asse et partibus eius (1514). When this treatise on numismatic metrology, as long and diffused as it was learned, was published, Erasmus proclaimed Budé ‘the prodigy of France’” (Ancient Numismatics and Its History, 66). The work became the definitive study of its time, and its author “was celebrated as the principal French humanist, equal to Erasmus, or indeed superior” (Contemporaries of Erasmus, 1985, Volume I, pages 214–215). As Roberto Weiss has written, “the greatest work on numismatics prior to [the] volume of Fulvio is the De Asse of Guillaume Budé, published in Paris in 1514. In this volume, which is undoubtedly the philological masterpiece of the early sixteenth century, Budé succeeded better than any of his predecessors in this area in proving, with an erudition and an exceptional acuity, the exact significance of the monetary terminology of Greek and Roman antiquity, and not only Roman but also Greek coins, in relation to those of his time” (“An English Translation of Nota,” page 17). This handsome 1542 folio edition of this numismatic landmark is rare, going unnoticed in all of the early numismatic bibliographies including Lipsius; Dekesel locates only six copies, only one of which (in Wolfenbüttel) is identified as being of this second state. The Oxford Companion to the Book notes that printer Vascosan (d. 1577) was “known for the unadorned elegance of his editions.” He was related by marriage to the great printer Badius Ascensius (Jodocus Badius). He is known for the clarity of his typography, a trait by which he continued the work of Badius. This is the first copy of this edition we have ever handled; in contrast, three different copies of the somewhat similar 1532 folio edition, while a decade earlier, have passed through our hands since 2009. Dekesel B143 (second state). Ex Birmingham Assay Office Library, with their small, circular stamp, and listed on page 212 of Westwood’s beautifully printed catalogue of that library.