Category: Provenance

Unknown stamp from Augsburg: Query solved.

By , 15 October 2013 10:27 am

One of the library broadsides incunabula bears a stamp from an unidentified library in Augsburg.

Thanks to the comments by Dr Klaus Graf and Verena Godde, my tentative reading of the stamp inscription “<Bibliothe>k des Kathol. Studie<rn****> in Augsburg” has been corrected in “Bibliothek des Katholischen Studienfonds in Augsburg”.

The stamp is found in the lower margin of the broadside edition of the Zeichen der falschen Gulden attributed to the workshop of Anton Sorg in Augsburg around 1482 [ISTC iz00019000; Oates (MS. addition) 921.5], now Inc.Broadsides.2[4421].  The text is a warning against false coins coming from the Netherlands and it is illustrated with ten woodcut images of the coins to help with their identification.

The stamp proves that the sheet remained in Augsburg at least until the 19th century.   It was acquired by the library from Erasmus Antiquariaat, Amsterdam (Cat. 213A / 15193) in October 1958.


An Elephant in the Bindings: A Rare Appearance ?

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By , 30 July 2013 4:53 pm


This small but intriguing tool is found on the beautiful early Renaissance bindings of four of our incunabula.  It shows a four-legged animal with a long protruding nose carrying a square basket on its back, which is covered with a tasselled rug, and   flying a flag bearing a cross.  The image immediately brings  to the mind representations of war elephants carrying  warriors in their howdah, and it seems to me that this little tool also represents an elephant. Continue reading 'An Elephant in the Bindings: A Rare Appearance ?'»

Richard, Rotherham and the King’s Half-Brother

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By , 26 June 2013 6:26 pm

The discovery of the remains of Richard III in a car park in Leicester prompted me to return to an annotation in a volume discovered and described briefly by my colleague Laura Nuvoloni in 2011. The book is a copy of Bartolus de Saxoferrato, Super secunda parte Digesti novi, printed in Venice by Vindelinus de Spira in 1473, Inc.1.B.3.1b[1341]. An early inscription demonstrates that it was once in the possession of Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England, and an annotation in it seems to refer to the events of June 1483, when Richard III seized power following the unexpected death of Edward IV. Continue reading 'Richard, Rotherham and the King’s Half-Brother'»

Bound with leaves from the Bible; identifying “paper wrappers”

By , 16 May 2013 2:27 pm

Cambridge University Library possesses four copies of the Ninth German Bible, considered to be one of the most beautiful of all German Bibles, printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger in 1483. Koberger is most well known as the printer of the Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle) and this Bible is no less splendid a production, and on a similarly grand scale. The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue lists nearly 300 extant copies, in varying degrees of completeness, and estimates of the print run range from 1000 to 1500. The text was taken primarily from the Fourth German Bible printed by Zainer in Augsburg in 1475 while the 109 images were produced using woodcuts by the Master of the Colgone Bible; Koberger purchased these after they were first used by Heinrich Quentell for his Low German Bible (Cologne, 1478). Continue reading 'Bound with leaves from the Bible; identifying “paper wrappers”'»