Lugduni: Apud Seb. Gryphium, 1542. 8vo [16 by 10.5 cm], contemporary limp vellum; hand-lettered spine with three raised bands. (2), 819, (93) pages, printed in italic type; title with charming woodcut printer’s device featuring a griffin perched atop a book; woodcut initials; exceptional woodcut of a griffin on the final blank’s verso. Discolored throughout by an old damp-stain, with resultant wrinkling. A few early ink annotations. Good. Item #6476
A rarely seen 1542 Lyon edition of the first printed numismatic book, printed by Sebastian Gryphius, in a contemporary binding. Guillaume Budé (1467–1540) was a Parisian by birth and a scholar by vocation. An associate of King Francis I, he worked on De asse et partibus eius (“On the As and Its Parts”) for nine years, having assembled a large collection of ancient coins to assist him in his research. His lengthy and densely written treatise was immediately recognized as a groundbreaking work of humanist scholarship, and it was reprinted extensively in the 16th century. The work became the definitive study of ancient metrology 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). Roberto Weiss has described De asse as, “undoubtedly the philological masterpiece of the early sixteenth century,” writing that “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). Babelon 66. Bassoli 12 & 23–25. Brückmann 21. Dekesel B 144. Goldsmith 3. Hirsch 19. Kress Supplement 33. Lipsius 60. Struve 15.