Mediolani [Milan]: Prostant in Regia Curia in Aedibus Palatinis, 1750–1752 & 1759. Six volumes, complete. Small folios [28.5 by 21.5 cm], matching contemporary vellum over sturdy boards; spines ruled in gilt with brown spine labels ruled and lettered in gilt; speckled page edges. (16), xii, (2), 304 + (4), 417, (1) + (6), 147, (1), (4), 137, (1), 46 + (8), 344 + (18), 180, (122) + (6), 96, (2), 96–138, (4), 139–160, (2), 161–172, (2), 177–274, (18) pages; first title printed in red and black; all titles with engraved vignettes; woodcut initials and tailpieces; engraved headpiece and initial; text engravings of coins and seals, a number full-page; 112 engraved plates of coins and medals, one folding [Pars Prima: 90 coin plates on 45 leaves; Pars Secunda: 5 coin plates on 3 leaves; Pars Tertia: 16 coin plates on 8 leaves; Pars Quarta: 1 facsimile coin plate on a leaf inserted between pages 24–25 plus 3 plates of symbols on 2 leaves]; genealogical table; 3 plates of symbols; 4 + 16 folding tables; folding title facsimile of Scaruffi’s L’Alitinonfo; superbly engraved oval portrait plate of Francesco III d’Este. Loosely laid in the fifth volume is a finely produced four-page reproduction of a note to the reader (a’ benigni, e cortesi leggitori), announcing publication of the final two volumes. Spine of second volume worn, with a scrape to the vellum (see photos); else a clean and well-preserved set in contemporary bindings, with only occasional minor faults. Very good or better. Item #6120
An extraordinary numismatic anthology, bringing together several dozen essays exploring various aspects of Italian coinage, monetary theory, and economics. Ferdinando Bassoli discusses this work in some detail in his Antiquarian Books on Coins and Medals [Monete e medaglie nel libro antico dal XV al XIX secolo], noting that it includes several significant numismatic essays “that would have faded into obscurity had Argelati not republished them.” Comparing this compendium with that of Zanetti, Bassoli writes, “By collecting together documents and presenting them for public consumption in book form, these two men planted the seed from which interest in economics and fine book production flowered in Italy. The anthologies they produced can be found in the collections of economists, numismatists and bibliographers alike, for the quality of production as much as for the actual content of the books (vast illustrated series of coins that are, on the whole, accurate and reliable) ... Argelati’s creative contribution, as author of De monetis Italiae, is not particularly noteworthy, although he illustrates a series of coins struck at Milan and provides very accurate general and analytical indexes. What is significant is the material he collected and put at the disposal of his readers: some eighty discourses, plus various texts and documents detailed in almost 2000 pages of text. The anthology must have been a success given that, when Argelati died in 1755 after the publication of the first four volumes, it was completed in 1759 with two more volumes produced by Canon Carlo Casanova. ... From the bibliophile’s point of view, complete copies of the book are rather rare... The work of Argelati and Zanetti represents a period in the development of numismatics which cannot ever be repeated; and no one since has considered writing a numismatic anthology on such a scale.” Among the wealth of coin plates are a number of illustrations depicting Renaissance medals. This was Dr. Bassoli’s own set of this masterpiece of Italian numismatics. Rare, and of considerable importance. Bassoli, pages 63–66. Brunet 25293. Ciferri 42. Clain-Stefanelli 10168. Dekesel A134–A139. Gnecchi 424. Hirsch 5 (Parts I–IV). Kress S.3843. Lipsius 14 (Parts I–IV). Many of the individual essays included within are cited separately within the standard bibliographies. Ex Petri Ginori-Conti, with his armorial bookplate; ex Livio Benintendi, the noted Italian politician, with his printed library acquisition labels; ex Caldini, 1979; ex Dr. Ferdinando Bassoli (Kolbe Sale 108, 2009), lot 109 at $6000 hammer.