London: Privately Printed and Not For Circulation, 1898. First Edition. Softcover. 4to. (28 x 20 cm). viii, 64 pp. Softcover, original paper wrappers (chipped and worn, spine defective), detached from textblock. Fair. Item #2209
Rare, privately printed catalogue of a collection of 499 Continental incunables formed by Walter A. Copinger. The catalogue is effectively a vehicle of sale. The collection is now at the Free Library of Philadelphia (Copinger-Widener Collection).
It is hardly surprising that our copy is the only one on the market. Since 2005, when we purchased it at the famed Bibliotheca Bibliographica Breslaueriana sale (Third Portion, 28 June 2005, lot 1300), exactly zero copies have appeared at auction. Prior to this date, the only copy on the market was sold at Parke-Bernet in 1957 (this copy?)
A passage from Copinger's Introductory Notice is informative:
"The Collection of which a handlist is here presented is the result of many years' labour, every part of the Continent having been laid under contribution. The Collection has been made with the object of illustrating the early progress and development of the Art of Printing, by bringing together as many specimens of the various presses at work and the types employed during the first fifty years after its introduction. At the same time the Collection has been brought together with a Bibliographical as well as a Typographical aspect, and those volumes which are not mentioned by Hain in his Repertorium Bibliographicum, or which have not been seen or described by him, have been specially sought after and, when possible, secured. When a press is represented by a single production or but few, special effort has been exercised to obtain a copy, and several of the volumes in the present Collection will be found to be the sole specimens of the particular press. Thus will be found specimens from such presses as:— R. Loeffs de Driel, Louvain. Perinus Lathomi de Lotharingia, Lyons. Bartholomaeus Vercellensis, Brescia. Vincentius Bertochus, Mantua. Conrad Stahel and Benedictus Mayr, Passau. The Printer of the Dictys. The Printer of the Vita S. Albani. The Printer of the Aug. de Fide, 1478. Nicolaus Gotz of Sletzstat. Works from the press of the Peculiar R. printer, Baptista Cavalus of Geneva, and many others who have issued but a book or two. No attempt has been made to have represented in the Collection, the fifteenth century presses of England. [...] The present collection is confined to France, Germany, Italy and Belgium."