A note on Gutenberg, with the comment “a divine invention, and one quite apt for displaying human stupidity” (trans.)

557j. Baptistae Fulgosi. 1453-1504

De Dictis Factisq[ue] Memorabilibus collectanæ Camillo Gilino latina facta.

Milan, Giacomo Ferrari, 22 Juin 1509.     Price $6,500

Imprint from colophon; which reads: Iacobus Ferrarius Mediolani. x k[a]l[endas] Iulias a redemptione Christiana anno M.D. VIIII. impressit.

Folio 31×21,5 cm.  Signatures: A⁶ a-x⁸ y⁶ z⁸ aa-ff⁸ gg⁶ hh⁸ ii⁶ kk⁸ ll-mm⁶ nn-rr⁸ ss⁶ tt⁸ uu⁶.  Editio princeps, a Latin translation of the Italian manuscript original, which was never printed. This copy is bound in full contemporary vellum.

There are comments on Francisco Pico dela Mirandola; Ludovico Sforza, Savonarola, Petrus Sermone-tus and Cardinal Riario among others. There is also a note on Gutenberg, (in the 12th chapter of book VIII signature LLii. Page 294) the comment:

“a divine invention, and one quite apt for displaying human stupidity” (trans.)

This is also one of the early books, recording the discovery of America. 

On sig. LL2 the discovery by Columbus of a way to the Indies, shorter than any known before, is recorded, Fulgosi states that this new way was much easier, shorter, and better than the long and dangerous voyage round the Cape and through the Indian Ocean, by which, Vasco de Gama had sought the same regions. This, constitutes an interesting and very early notice of the two most important voyages in the annals of geographical discovery.

EDIT 16 CNCE 19894 JCB Lib. cat., pre-1675,; 1:49; Alden, J.E. European Americana,; 509/6; BM STC Italian, 1465-1600,; 281Thacher,; II, p. 100 (Miscellanea); Adams,; F1148; Isaac,; 13634; BM STC Italian, 1465-1600,; p. 281; NUC pre-1956Sabin; 26140; JCB; I, 49; Harrisse Additions; no. 34. Libreria Otto Lange. Catalogue No. 48. CATALOGUE OF BOOKS DEALING WITH NORTH AMERICA. Books published before 1551. (1925)

With A Portrait of Christopher Columbus

Johann Samuel Fuchs; Theodosius Glaser; Paul Ledertz

Samuelis Fuchsii Cuslino Pomerani metoscopia & ophtalmoscopia.

Argentinæ excudebat Theodosius Glaserus sumptibus Pauli Ledertz. M. DC. XV.    Price $3,000

Octavo  16 x 10 cm. Signatures:  ):(⁸ A-I⁸.  with 24 text engravings and two woodcut -First edition Bound in contemporary vellum.

“Samuel Fuchs, a native of Köslin in Pomerania, was professor of rhetoric at Königsberg. In [the present work] he suggests a system for the estimation of character based on the shape of the head and the eyes which is linked by Garrison (p. 273) to the work of Carden and Lavater. Among the finely executed engravings and woodcuts are portraits of Cosimo Medici, Andrea Doria, Christopher Columbus, and Philip II, Duke of Pomerania. A. de Neuille published a detailed analysis of this work, “Une precurseur de Lambroso au XVIIe siecle,” in La Revue des Revues (15 June 1896). Cf. L. Stieda, “Samuel Fuchs, der Verfasser der Metoposcopia und Ophthalmoscopia,” Janus 4:134-136 (1899). [Cf. Garrison, p. 273; Hirschberg, section 483; Waller, I:3303; Wellcome, I:2468.]”–Online catalog of The Bernard Becker Collection in Ophthalmology (Washington Univ. in St. Louis)

The LC copy is incomplete: p. 81-96 (gathering F) and last two leaves of final gathering wanting; repairs to first and last leaves. [All present in the copy offered here]

BM-STC F 1306. Krivatsy 4457. Waller 3303. Wellcome I, 2468. Becker Coll. 95. Hirschberg 483 (III, S. 20, 1). Sabin 26106. Caillet II, 4248, “livre recherche et rare, orné de figures dans le texte finement gravees”. Graesse, Bibl. mag.- pneum. 104. Rosenthal 953 (“Piece fort rare”). L’Art Ancien 673; Lit.: A. de Neufville. Un précurseur de Lombroso au XVIIe siecle; in: La revue des revues 15. June 1896. Analysis of the book on 10 pages. 

The First printed tribute to Gutenberg with a date.(1440)

  • 307J Eusebius of Caesarea 260-c. 340

Eusebii Caesariensis episcopi chronicon id est temporum breuiarium incipit foeliciter: quem Hieronymus praesbiter diuino eius ingenio Latinum facere curauit: et vsque in Valente[m] Cesarem Romano adiecit eloquio. Que[m] et Prosper deinde Matheus Palmerius … subsequuntur.

Impressit Venetijs : Erhardus Ratdolt augustensis solerti vir ingenio maxima …,1483.



Quarto: 23 x 16.7 cm. π10 a-v8 x10 (π1,a1 and x10 are blank and missing). This copy is bound in very nice old vellum. Previously owned by the Xavier Givaudan Library (1867-1966)


The Chronicles of Eusebius was composed in 310, the original Greek text was lost and survived due to its translation into Latin and Armenian. Eusebius was one of the most learned men of his time and wrote in the service of Christianity this chronology “in order to establish on solid foundations the confidence that the historical books of the Old Testament deserve” (Friedrich Schoell, History of secular Greek literature, 2nd edition, T6, Paris, 1824). The editing work of this chronology of Eusebius is very interesting because it is based on the Latin translation of Saint-Jerome, which continued the chronological work of Eusebius, then continued by Tiro Prosper until 455 then Matteo Palmieri of Florence. The first edition of the Latin translation was published in Milan in 1475 by Lavania (Goff E116). Our edition completes the latter with the continuation of Mattia Palmieri of Pisa until the end of 1481.

On leaf v3 verso under the year 1457, there is a reference to the invention of printing, ascribed to Johann Gutenberg in 1440.


 “IT IS BEYOND THE POWER OF WORDS to express how much students of letters owe to the Germans. For by Johann Gutenberg zum Jungen, knight of Mainz am Rhein, a man possessed of great genius, a method was discovered on 1440 for the printing of books. At the present time it is being diffused in nearly all parts of the earth…”

Margaret Stillwell in The Beginning of the world of books 1450-1470, New York 1972, states that:


“There must have been many persons alive, as presumably Santritter and Ratdolt, to whom the 1440s were within easy memory. The statement was not refuted and no counterclaims were made. It was on the strength of this statement and of its repetition by Ulrich Zel, as quoted in the Cologne Chronicle of 1499 (Goff C467) together with such activities as are indicated in the early documentary sources, that the international celebration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the invention of printing was held in 1940.”

The Chronicon is “the ancient world’s first systematic universal history” (Bedrosian). This book is edited by J.L. Santritter, and is believed to have been printed using funds provided by Santritter, as was Paulus Pergulensis’s Compendium logicae printed by E. Ratdolt in 1481. It includes the two-color printing and table-style printing at which Ratdolt excelled. Santritter himself was a printer, and there are five known titles of incunabula that he printed.

Goff; E-117; BMC V, p. 287-288 (IA. 20527).; GW; 9433; Hain-Copinger; 6717*; Pellechet 4634; ISTC  ie00117000; Thacher; 287. Redgrave, Ratdolt 36. IBE 2338