A Very Attractive Collection of 55 Incunabular Leaves, All with Woodcuts, 32 with Hand Coloring


(München: Weiss & Co. Antiquariat, 1929). 480 x 375 mm. (19 x 14 3/4"). With an 87-pp. volume of commentary in German. No. 21 OF 50 SETS (issued with accompanying German text); there were also 50 with accompanying English text.

Loose as issued in a linen-covered chemise, titling in black on front cover. Commentary volume in original paper wrapper. WITH 55 LEAVES FROM INCUNABULA issued by German, Swiss, Dutch, Czech, and Italian presses, ALL WITH ONE OR MORE WOODCUTS, 32 OF THESE HAND-COLORED. ◆Front cover of commentary volume with thin, six-inch brown stain along head edge, but the volume otherwise clean and fresh, the leaves with occasional browning or minor staining, but excellent specimens overall, the hand coloring often quite attractive.

Arranged according to the city in which they were printed, this is a wonderful collection of 55 incunabular leaves, all illustrated with woodcuts. The group includes important early images large and small, with 32 of them hand painted, often with brilliant, memorable color. Although every leaf here is of interest, there are some leaves that deserve special mention: the 1471 Zainer printing of "Heiligenleben" (the earliest leaf included); a number of leaves from herbals, Bibles, and lives of the saints; leaves representing two different editions of Brant's "Stultifera Navis," a Basel 1500 edition of Aesop, and the celebrated 1499 Aldine "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili." A full-page woodcut from Koberger's "Schatzbehalter" ("Treasure Book," 1491) shows Korah, Dathan, and Abiram being swallowed up by the Earth for their rebellion against God, while Moses and Aaron pray, as God sends fire to destroy the rebels.

Among the hand-painted woodcuts are several that are outstanding both for the composition of large, complex images, and for exuberant coloring. These include Pharoah's daughter rescuing the baby Moses, as well as the adult Moses with the burning bush, both from the German Bible printed by Koberger in 1483; a view of the city of Perugia in Schedel's "Weltchronik" (1493); and another Schedel leaf depicting the martyrdoms of the Apostles Andrew and Thomas. The 55 specimens included here would serve very well either as a final capstone in an advanced collection or else an outstanding nucleus for a beginning collector of illustrated incunabular leaves. Several of the books represented are difficult to obtain, and most of the ones that can be procured are very expensive.

Price: $27,500.00