The Hague: S. & J. Luchtmans, Van Cleef Bros., and B. Scheurleer, 1824. First Edition. Hardcover. 5 vols. in 2, complete: 6 ff., 378 pp.; half-title, 210 pp.; 4 ff., 217, 221 pp. (without blank leaf), 2 ff., 182 pp. (MSS), 1 f. - PRIX DES LIVRES. 8, 186 pp. Recent half calf antique over marbled boards, red morocco spine labels, sprinkled edges. Original unobtrusive tax stamps "Zuid Holland 8 Pn" on lower blank margins on about a dozen leaves in each volume. A very nice copy, the text clean and without blemish. Very good. Item #1203
¶ Complete set, with the 186-page list of Prices Realized, of the sale catalogue of the astounding Meerman collection, 'one of the most famous private libraries in Europe' (Munby), listing ca. 10,000 titles and 1,100 Manuscripts. Gerard Meerman (b. Aachen, 1715, d. Leyden, 1771) was the author of 'Origines Typographicae' (1765), one of the first detailed studies on the history of printing. Here Meerman claimed as the inventor of movable type not Johannes Gutenberg but Laurens Jansz. Koster, of Haarlem. On this matter Meerman was incorrect, although his efforts did much to spread bibliographical scholarship throughout Europe. His 'De Chartae Vulgaris seu lineae origine' (1767) was an extremely early essay on the history of watermarks. Meerman had acquired all the MSS belonging to the College de Clermont, in Paris: a major triumph. The Bibliotheca Meermanniana was inherited -- and greatly augmented -- by his son Johan (1753-1815), an attorney and one of the principal exponents of the foundation of the Royal Library, The Hague. The younger Meerman attempted to donate the entire collection it to that city. After that bequest was refused (sic!) it was sold by auction, for which the present catalogue was the vehicle of sale, realizing a total of 131,000 Guilders; Sir Thomas Phillipps attended the sale of the MSS in person (though the London bookseller Thomas Rodd bid for him) acquiring more than 650 of them (see Munby, Phillipps Studies, III). - To a few copies a portrait of J. Meerman was added, not present here as usual. References: De Ricci, p. 120; G. Brunet; Blogie, IV, col. 57-58 (likewise without the portrait); LGB2. Literature: Jos van Heel, "The Odyssey of the manuscript collection of Gerard and Johan Meerman" in: Books on the Move: Tracking copies through collections and the book trade / edited by Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote (2007).