Lugduni: Apud Seb. Gryphium, 1551. 8vo, somewhat later [17th century?] full vellum; spine with gilt lettering (BUDAEI / DE / ASSE) within gilt panel. 815, (81) pages; woodcut printer’s device on title; woodcut depiction of a griffin on final leaf verso; woodcut initials. Binding with some worming to spine and rear joint; minor marks to covers, but sound and intact. A few leaves with marginal loss not affecting main text block; occasional discoloration. Very good, overall. Item #7137
A rarely encountered octavo edition of the first printed numismatic book, published in Lyon in 1551 by Sebastian Gryphius (Sébastien Gryphe). Budé’s treatise on ancient metrology may seem an unlikely bestseller but it was enormously important, with an influence far beyond those interested in numismatic study. First published in Paris in 1514, it elucidated the denominations of ancient Greek and Roman coins, discussing their values and the meanings of their names. Budé’s work, written in a dense but skillful Latin, succeeded to a greater degree than that of anyone before in making sense of terminology that had been forgotten for a millennium. It is a core reference within 16th-century humanist scholarship, and Budé was lionized as the most important French humanist of his day. Roberto Weiss has described this book as “undoubtedly the philological masterpiece of the early sixteenth century.” This compact 1551 octavo edition, carefully printed in italic type, is very scarce, going unnoticed in all of the early numismatic bibliographies including Lipsius; Dekesel locates only nine copies. In addition, the text is considered to be one of the most accurate. While Luigi-Alberto Sanchi used the 1541 Paris edition as the basis of his 2018 French translation, he acknowledges the 1550 and 1551 Gryphius editions to be among those considered canonical. Gryphius was successful and well-respected as both a printer and a bookseller. A humanist in his own right, he focused his attention on promoting works by contemporary authors who wrote within that tradition such as Erasmus, Poliziano and Budé. This is the first copy of this edition we have ever handled. Dekesel B149.