A Large Folio Leaf from the 1460s, Printed on Vellum

(Mainz: Peter Schoeffer, 8 October 1467). 405 x 300 mm. (16 x 11 3/4"). Double column, 69 lines of commentary surrounding text; gothic type in two sizes; accompanied by a single leaf with title and bifolium with commentary.

Loose as issued in original tan buckram portfolio with red morocco label on upper cover (a little worn and frayed along spine and missing one of four ties). Paragraph marks in red and blue. Lower margin with a small, naturally occurring hole surrounded by stitch marks. Goff C-711; BMC I, 24; ISTC ic00711000. Vellum with two creases and a little waviness, a light stain to one corner, touch of soiling to lower edge, but A FINE SPECIMEN, extremely clean and bright.

Luxuriously printed on vellum, this leaf comes from a book of canon law by Pope Clement V (ca. 1260-1314) that collected and added to the decretals of Popes Boniface VIII and Benedict XI. The French-born Clement is best known for moving the Papal See from Rome to Avignon, an action which--combined with his practice of simony--caused Dante to consign him to the Eighth Circle of Hell in his "Inferno." The editio princeps of the "Constitutiones" was issued in 1460 by Mainz printers Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer; the present leaf comes from the 1467 reprint--one of the first books to bear just Schoeffer's name by itself, after the death of Fust in 1466. The goldsmith Fust (born ca. 1400) went into business with Schoeffer (ca. 1425-1503), who had been Gutenberg's principal assistant, and theirs became the first commercially successful printing company. Schoeffer married Fust's only daughter, and trained their sons as printers (his son Peter printed the first edition of Tyndale's English New Testament). The elder Schoeffer is credited with introducing the printer's device and with developing the basic techniques of punchcutting and type-founding.

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PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.031