Luteciae Parisiorum: Excudebat Ludovicus Billaine, 1681. 4to, contemporary vellum; spine with four raised bands; red morocco spine label lettered in gilt; all page edges speckled red. (24), 463, (1) pages; engraved title vignette bordered with coins; woodcut initials, headpieces and tailpieces; numerous fine engravings of Seleucid coins in the text, including 80 mm diameter chapter headings depicting each ruler. Binding worn, but sound, with chipping along joint by spine label; old writing on front cover; mild corner stain to first 44 leaves. Contents generally fresh. Very good. Item #6564
The first edition of the first book devoted solely to ancient Seleucid coins. It comprises an authoritative history of the Seleucid Dynasty in Syria, based largely on the author’s extensive collection. Each ruler is depicted with a handsome large format portrait taken from a coin, followed by commentary and illustrations of his coins. Jean Foy Vaillant (1632–1706) was a dedicated and scholarly French numismatist and collector of coins who authored a large number of important numismatic works on ancient coins. This particular title is scarcer than many of his works, with this being only the second copy we have offered in the last twenty years. Vaillant’s exciting, sometimes perilous, travels on behalf of Colbert, minister to Louis XIV, in search of coins, manuscripts and antiquities, have become the stuff of legend; particularly the tale first related by the French humanist and fellow antiquary Jacob Spon of Lyon, concerning their near capture at sea by “Turkish” corsairs near Marseilles, where Vaillant reportedly ingested a collection of twenty ancient gold coins he was carrying, later recovering them “at the rate nature herself permitted.” Banduri (1718) LXXIII. Dekesel F50. Hirsch 131. Lipsius 409. Van Damme (1807) 597. Ex Patricia A. Milne-Henderson Library, with her bookplate.