More Than Just Old and Rare Bibliography from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books
Item 57 proves the old idiom not to believe everything you read. The book is De Vera Typographia Origine Paraenensis...by Jacques Mentel. Published in 1650, it is an attempt to "prove" that printing was invented by 15th century Strassbourg printer Johann Mentel, whom the author claimed as an ancestor. The younger Mentel used forgeries to establish the false claim that the senior Mentel himself never made. Item 57. 900 (US $1,182). For another inaccurate, though perhaps not deliberately dishonest, attempt to claim credit for another for Gutenberg's invention, item 92 is Vier-honderdjarig Jubelfeest Van De Uitvinding Der Boekdrukkunst Door Laurens Janszoon Koster... In this 1823 work, author J. Sulkowski attributes the invention of printing to Laurens Janszoon Koster. Poor Gutenberg suffered the same fate as Shakespeare -- people constantly trying to credit his creations to another. Item 92. 75 (US ($98.)
Item 29 is an uncommon Ben Franklin item. When he lived in London in 1725-26, he worked for a printer. Over a century later, the old press on which he had worked was discovered and put on exhibition in London for a few weeks, and then shipped to a U.S. buyer. While on display, visitors were able to watch the press in action as it printed off broadsides, of which this is one. It includes a poem by Franklin and twelve rules for personal self-government Franklin created in his youth. Among the twelve were "Temperance -- Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation," and "Chastity -- Avoid injuring your own peace or another's reputation." As far as I know, he lived up to the other ten, and ten out of twelve ain't bad. 1,500 (US $1,971).
Item 43 is an unusual printing sample: New Mode of Printing. Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, by Samuel Johnson. You can ignore the Prince and Sam Johnson. What makes this interesting is the "new mode of printing." Philip Rusher devised a typeface that eliminated letters descending below the line, essentially squeezing and raising them. Pick up any recent book and you will discover that this concept never caught on. This book was published in 1804, and the type was apparently used only one other time, for a book about beekeeping half a century later. The book displays both the old and "new" type styles. You can compare them in the illustration on this page. 950 (US $1,248).
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