Paris: Francois De Bure le Jeune, 1769. Hardcover. 2 vols., 8vo. xxxix, , 621, ; 491,  pp. 3542 lots described, all priced by a contemporary hand with the exception of the last 23. Contemporary French calf (refurbished), five raised bands on spines, red and olive lettering pieces, red edges, marbled pastedowns and endpapers. Old papers label on spine of Vol. I, later ink stamp on first blanks of both vols. "Handbibliothek unverkauflich" and with pencilled note "doubl." (i.e. duplicate). Very good. Item #1692
Sale catalogue of the library of L.-J. Gaignat (1697-1768), the immensely rich Receveur-general de la Chambre de Requetes and Secretary to Louis XV. Gaignat he devoted the greater part of his fortune to the acquisition of works of art and books, perhaps to console himself for the untimely death of his second wife and only daughter. Doubtless he was one of the greatest bibliophiles of eighteenth-century France. Charles Isaac Elton, in "The Great Book Collectors," wrote "When Gaignat died in 1768 his collection was regarded as perfect; it was said that 'no one in the commonwealth of letters had ever brought together such a rich and admirable assembly.'" This was no exaggeration: Gaignat's treasures are legendary, and included fabulous illuminated manuscripts, early printed books (for instance lot 16, a copy of the 42-line "Gutenberg" Bible), an alarming number of books printed on vellum, choice bindings, and so forth. The catalogue was written by the preeminent bookseller of the 18th-century, G.-F. De Bure, who was Gaignat's principal agent. The present catalogue forms a sort of monument to both men. The present Catalogue was issued as vols. VIII and IX of De Bure's 10-volume "Bibliographie Instructive," and provides important corrections to it. The significance of certain lots is related by De Bure in extraordinary detail, for instance the description of lot 2638 extends some 14-pages. The volume in question was the "Voyages & Avantures de Charles Magius," printed on vellum and exquisitely illuminated (now in BnF). It was purchased by the Duc de la Valliere who, according to Brunet, was the principal buyer at the sale and is believed to have spent somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000 livres (NB: the entire sale realize 227,597 livres). Brunet also notes that the finest incunabula in the sale came from the Gros de Boze collection (his sale, Paris, 1753). Vol. II contains a 245-page index which is a model of its kind. Our copy is priced in a contemporary hand.
¶ Brunet, Dictionnaire de bibliologie catholique, cols. 461-462. Emile Dacier, Un bibliophile du XVIIIe siecle, L.-J. G., in Bull. du bibliophile, 1920, pp. 1-21 e 41-65; id., Catalogues de ventes et livrets de Salons illustres par G. de Saint-Aubin, XI: Catalogue de la vente L.-J. G., Paris, 1920. Petzholdt pp. 81-83. North, Grolier no. 193.