Copenhagen ["Hafniae"]: Libraria Gyldendal, 1889-1898 (i.e. 1901). First Edition. 8vo. , 470 pp. Later neat blue buckram, red morocco lettering piece, top edges gilt, original wrappers bound in (short tear at top of front wrapper). NOT ex-library! Very good. Item #3159
Special edition, limited to 100 copies (sic) with a preface by H.O. Lange, of the catalogue of 2,562 incunables preserved in the Royal Library of Denmark, Copenhagen. The entries are listed in Hain order (i.a. alphabetical by author), many of which are described in GREAT DETAIL. This particular catalogue is one of the earliest to contain an index of the towns represented, which extends to 102 pages (sic!) for which see below.
The original compiler, J.A. Bolling, worked on the catalogue from the 1830s until his death in 1862; according to Victor Madsen, Bolling "had almost completed his work and put down 2,558 incunabula. Bolling's catalogue remained in manuscript for more than 25 years, when at last Christian Brunn, chief librarian, entrusted Dr. Emil Gigas, at the time assistant librarian, to examine and supplement it, making it ready for press. The first part was published in 1891 and the printing was finished in 1898, when the catalogue was issued as vol. IV of the 'Annual Reports and Publications from the Great Royal Library.' A special edition (i.e. THIS edition) prefaced by Brunn's successor as chief librarian, Dr. H.O. Lange was published in 1901. Bolling's catalogue arranges the incunabula alphabetically according to authors' names and in the case of anonymous publications according to catchwords. In order to characterize it as a contribution to the knowledge of the development of printing it has been provided with an index arranging FOR THE FIRST TIME [emphasis ours] the incunabula by order of towns and in each town by printers." Was Madsen trying to assign priority for such an arrangement not to Proctor ("Index to the Early Printed Books in the British Museum," 1898) but to Bollinger instead? (see: Madsen, Katalog over Det Kongelige Biblioteks Inkunabler, vol. I, pp. xxii-xxiii).
¶ From H.O. Lange's preface to the Bollinger catalogue: "Hujus libri exempla C, e quarto volumine Annalium Bibliothecae nostrae ('Aarsberetninger og Meddelelser fra det store kongelige Bibliothek') seorsum impressa, nunc in librariis prostant."
While many books have very detailed descriptions, others are surprisingly brief, such as no. 477: vol. II (only) of "Biblia Latina" (Moguntiae, Joh. Guttenberg, c. 1450?), in Fo[lio], 42 ll." This is of course the 42-line "Gutenberg" Bible, for which see Eric White, "Editio Princeps" no. P47 for a full account of this book and Bolling's cataloguing of it.
Surely many of the incunables in the present catalogue once formed part of the ducal library at Schloss Gottorf: White explains that in 1713 Danish troops took possession of Schleswig-Holstein, and by 1749 the aforementioned 12,000 volumes had been transferred to the KB Copenhagen.
¶ From the famed Bibliotheca Bibliographica Breslaueriana (sale at Christies NY, 2005, lot 1255).