BOUND FOR CHARLES II

De nummis in Repib. percutendis & conservandis libri duo.

Hanau, typis Wechelianis : apud Claudium Marnium & heredes Ioannis Aubrii, 1608.

£7,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to pp. 102, [x]. A-O. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek, woodcut printer’s device on title-page repeated on recto of last (otherwise blank), floriated woodcut initials, typographical headpieces, woodcut tailpieces, octagonal stamp in blue on verso of t-p of the British Museum, indicating Royal Library provenance, and duplicate stamp, 1787, sold Leigh and Sotheby, March 1788, armorial bookplate with motto “Aurea mediocritas” on pastedown, autograph ‘John Caley’ (1760-1834,) the antiquary on fly, initials A.J.P., stamped on rear pastedown. Age browning, occasional light foxing, marginal wormtrail. A good copy in a splendid Restoration crimson morocco binding, for Charles II by the Samuel Mearne bindery, boards gilt ruled to a panel design, gilt crowned cypher of Charles II between palm leaves to outer corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, expertly rebacked, with original spine laid down, gilt crowned cypher of Charles between palm leaves at centres, a.e.g. a little worn at extremities.

First edition of this important work on the minting and circulation of money by Jacob Bornitz who worked at the court of Rudolf II as a political administrator and wrote several works on economics, trade and political philosophy. He was an author well known in Stuart England; his works were owned by John Donne and William Camden. This tract on the minting and preservation of coins within a republic, dedicated to Rudolf II, was probably his best-known work. “Jacob Bornitz (1560 – 1625), an advocate for the Hapsburg imperial treasury, was a strong advocate of alchemy. He made the alchemically inspired “mastery of Nature”, which encouraged Rudolf II in Prague to patronize  new industries, into an explicit political theory. Bornitz was responsible both for the first discussion of reason of state in German-speaking lands, as well as for a theorizing of the body politic based on alchemical views of natural bodies. In particular, in his last and greatest work, On a Sufficiency of Things (1625) he stressed that money and circulated goods operated as a ‘second blood’, circulating through society. This formulation preceded William Harvey’s formulation of the circulation of blood..” Mary Lindemann ‘Money in the German-speaking Lands.’

“Samuel Mearne (1624–1683)  the best known binder of this period .. described by David Pearson as ‘long celebrated as the greatest name in English Restoration bookbinding’.  As well as .. being the bookbinder to the King, his son Charles was also granted the posts of bookbinder, bookseller and stationer to the monarch.  The restoration of the monarchy in 1660 is seen as the beginning of a ‘golden age’ in English bookbinding, in which Mearne was a figurehead.  He is known as the chief exponent of the ‘Cottage Style’ or ‘Cottage Roof’ design, described by John Carter as ‘A style of decoration in which the top and bottom of the rectangular panel, which itself will be filled with smaller ornaments in a variety of rich designs, slope away from a broken centre, thus producing a sort of gabled effect’. The two Cs back to back between palm leaves, Charles II’s cypher, is a good indication that this book has been bound by Mearne: the tools to create these designs in the leather were used exclusively by him.” Catherine Sutherland, Pepys Library and Special Collections, Magdalene College libraries. The binding is in a simple Mearne style, and is consistent with the bindings he made for Charles II’s library at St James’s; records show that he bound 830 books for St James’s between 1663 and 1667 see Nixon, “English Restoration Bindings”, plates 2 and 6, for near-identical bindings.

BM STC Ger. C17th vol. I B1871. Not in Kress. Goldsmiths I 372.

L2363

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