BIE, Jacob de. (and) HEMELARIUS, Johannes

BIE, Jacob de. (and) HEMELARIUS, Johannes Imperatorum Romanorum a Julio Caesare ad Heraclium usque numismata aurea

Antwerp, Geeraerdt I van Wolsschaten and Hendrick I Aertssens apud Hieronymus I Verdussen, 1615


FIRST EDITION. 4to, (xxii + inserted fol. with bookplate) 233 (v), 65 engraved plates (iv). Roman and italic letter, one large floriated initial. Handsome engraved frontispiece with allegorical figure of Justice, engraved plates with over 700 illustrations of ancient coins. Light waterstain to upper margin of t-p, very small spot to lower blank margin of two initial gatherings. A very good copy in contemporary calf, rubbed at joints, worn at tail of spine, gilt, outer edges gilt, couple of small wormholes towards tail. A few early ms. numerical annotations to fly, ms. “Ex libris Antonij de Lamare MVICXXVII (=1627)” to t-p and early ms. motto “ἐν τούτῳ νικὴ” (“in this sign you will conquer”) with drawing of cross above, large engraved armorial bookplate of Antoine de Lamare on leaf between a2 and a3 with printed description pasted below and same ms. motto, bookplate of the Scottish politician Sir John Anstruther (4th Baronet and 1st Baronet, 1753-1811) to frontispiece verso.

Attractive first edition of this richly illustrated catalogue of ancient Roman coins, with a stunning frontispiece after a design of Peter Paul Rubens.

Jacques De Bie (1581-1640) was a Flemish engraver, publisher and numismatist active in Antwerp, Brussels and Paris. He is renowned for his numerous, well printed and beautifully illustrated works on numismatics, and for ‘Les vrais portraits des rois de France’ (1634). Around 1610, soon after entering the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke as a master engraver, de Bie was appointed keeper of the extensive numismatic collection of Duke Charles III de Croÿ (1560-1612) in Brussels. De Croÿ was a Flemish politician, soldier, and avid collector of paintings, books and coins. The present work constitutes a complete catalogue of his coin collection, comprising 64 very detailed plates – here in clear impression – designed and engraved by de Bie. The coins range from the period of Julius Cesar up to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius I. The catalogue is preceded by a commentary by Johannes Hemelarius, Canon of the Church of Our Lady in Antwerp: this consists in a precise description of each plate and of all the coins it contains, particularly focusing on their inscriptions and explaining their iconography and symbology.

This copy bears the ex libris, 1627, of the French nobleman and poet Antoine de Lamare, Sieur de Chesnevarin in Normandy. Born at Rouen in 1590, de Lamare was conseiller du Roi and commissioner of audit at the Chambre des Comptes de Normandie. He wrote ‘Les Éloges de la Ville de Rouen’ (1667), as a homage to his hometown, and died about 1670. De Lamare was a passionate bibliophile interested in local genealogy and history: numerous volumes from his collection, showing his beautifully engraved armorial bookplate and manuscript motto, are held in French libraries (including the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Public Library of Rouen)

USTC 1001468; BM STC Netherlands C17, B179. See Brunet I, p.939 and Graesse I, p. 422. On Lamare: CERL Thesaurus cnp01427407.