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    First Edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493
    With One of the Earliest Obtainable Printed Maps of the World

    [SCHEDEL, Hartmann. Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493].

    First edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle, preceding the German language edition (23 December 1493) by just over five months. Large folio (18 3/8 x 12 5/16 inches). 325 leaves ([20], CCLXVI, [5], [1, blank], CCLXVII-CCXCIX, [1]). Lacking two final blank leaves. This copy contains the three numbered leaves CCLVIIII, CCLX, and CCLXI, blank except for headlines, and the five additional unnumbered leaves containing the description of Poland, De Sarmacia regione, and the laudatory verse on Maximilian, and the blank leaf following them. Gothic type, sixty-four lines plus headline. Table and parts of the text in double columns. Woodcut title and 1,809 woodcut illustrations, of which 1,164 are repeats, from 645 blocks (Sydney Cockerell's count in Some German Woodcuts of the Fifteenth Century (Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1897, pages. 35-36) by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and their workshop, including (supposedly) the young Albrecht Dürer, including double-page maps of the world and of Europe. Unrubricated.

    Bound to style in modern pigskin over wooden boards, stained brown. Spine in six compartments with five raised bands. First blank page bears early holograph note: "Chronicarum Liber per Hartman Schedel. Hunclibrum Antho. Koberger Nurembergoe Impressis, Anno 1493." First printed leaf remargined around edges and with a few stains along fore-edge. Dampstains to fore-edge margin of a few preliminary leaves, just touching edge of text. Small worm tracks repaired with tissue to about 18 preliminary leaves in bottom fore-edge corner, well away from and not affecting text; and again to about 27 leaves (CLXXX-CCVII) at the bottom fore-edge corner; and again to bottom margin of CCLVIII-CCLXVIII and CCLXXXIII-CCXCVII. Dampstains to fore-edge margin not touching text or images (CCV-end) about nine inches tall at the worst and only occasionally prominent. Leaves CCIII-CCIIII browned. Leaf CLX trimmed at top, into leaf number. Numbering on CCXLVII corrected with a dab of white paint. Top of CCLVIII repaired at the top edge. Dampstains just touch text on some preliminary leaves. Browing and soiling to a few leaves. Dampstaining and browning to CLXV. Browning to CLXXIII and CLXXIIII. Repaired tear to bottom margin of CLXXV with some loss but not touching woodcut or text. Small paper repair to fore-edge margin of world map and a couple of small stains. Previous owner's contemporary holograph ex-libris partially erased from first printed leaf and difficult to read. Contemporary ink annotation to the top of the second printed leaf, and shoulder annotations on the same leaf appear smudged as if an attempt was made to erase them at some point. Holograph signature and note below printed colophon, showing through somewhat to the map side. Despite the flaws mentioned here, still a superb, well preserved copy.

    The most extensively illustrated book of the fifteenth century. The artists, Michael Wolgemut, the well-known teacher of Albrecht Dürer, and his stepson, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, are mentioned in the colophon. The woodcuts comprise religious subjects from the Old and New Testament, classical and medieval history, and a large series of city views (including Augsburg, Bamberg, Basel, Cologne, Nuremberg, Rome, Ulm, Vienna), as well as a double-page map of Europe and a large Ptolemaic world map. The text is a year-by-year account of notable events in world history from the creation down to the year of publication, including the invention of printing at Mainz, the exploration of the Atlantic and of Africa, as well as references to the game of chess, and to medical curiosities, including what is believed to be the first depiction of Siamese twins. Included are Biblical images and identified scenes of famous cities, as well as a series of charts illustrating the Ptolemaic geocentric view of the universe. It was one of the first secular histories of the world ever printed. Laid in is a copper-engraved view of Nuremberg.

    BMC II, p. 437. Goff S-307. Hain 14508. Harrisse 13. Polain 3469. Proctor 2084. Sabin 77523. Schreiber 5203. Updike, Printing Types, I, p. 65.


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    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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