([Mainz: Printer of the Catholicon (Johann Gutenberg?), ca. 1460; Peter Schoeffer(?) for Konrad Humery(?), 1469]). 356 x 267 mm. (14 x 10 1/2"). Double column, 66 lines of text in gothic type. From the FIRST EDITION, Second Impression, on Galliziani paper.
Initials and paragraph marks in red. Goff B-20; BMC I, 39. Small patch of dust-soiling to lower margin of verso, a touch of browning to edges, one small (wax) spot to text, otherwise an excellent specimen.
This leaf represents Gutenberg's final printing innovation: an early form of stereotyping. According to Paul Needham, when Gutenberg printed the first impression of "Catholicon" in 1460, he also created two-line "slugs" cast from the type, which could be reassembled for later impressions. These slugs were a part of Gutenberg's typographic materials obtained by Konrad Humery after the protoprinter's death in 1468, and they were used by Humery to print another issue of "Catholicon," perhaps with assistance of Peter Schoeffer, in 1469. The 1469 edition from which our leaf comes is distinguishable by the Galliziani paper on which it is printed; the 1460 version was on either vellum or Bull's Head paper, and a 1472 third impression was on Tower and Crown paper. Gutenberg's "Catholicon," while not as famous as its older brother, the 42-line Bible, is noted for being the first book to name its place of printing, and the first extensive work of a secular nature to be published. Compiled by the Dominican priest Johannes Balbus (or John of Genoa, d. ca. 1298), the text consists of a grammar and a dictionary of Medieval Latin, and treats the etymology of Latin terms in vogue during the Middle Ages. It was the first lexicographical work to be completely alphabetized, and the text on our leaf contains entries beginning with the letter "E." (ST12792)
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PJP Catalog: BOS20BF.009