FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.

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Lot 20
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.
Comestorium vitiorum. Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.

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Fine Books and Manuscripts

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8 Jul 2020 ended at 13:00 EDT

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Early Printed Books and Illuminated Manuscripts
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.
Comestorium vitiorum. Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
Royal folio, 438 x 288 mm. 287 leaves (all five blanks at end of composition units cancelled). 49 lines, double column. Type: 1:114G. Contemporary rubrication throughout: leaves foliated, capitals struck, and paragraph openings marked with red, decorative red or blue initials (generally three-line, but some with long marginal extenders), opening nine line initial beneath a three-line manuscript incipit, traces of contemporary quiring in brown ink in lower right corners of rectos. 3 pinholes per page. Binding: contemporary Nuremberg blind-stamped calf over thick wooden boards, covers paneled with contrasting designs, the front with a broad frame of palmettes enclosing a complex diapered central panel with unicorn, double-headed eagle, bird, and ornamental floral stamp, the back cover with single fillets forming much simpler and larger lozenges, upper board with vellum title label under (damaged) horn with brass framing strips (and below it, an early library paper label); raised bands, two old (16th century?) paper labels on spine, two brass catches, remnants of leather straps, bosses on covers no longer present, hole for chain attachment at top of lower board. Small portion of the leather covering vanished (mostly at bottom of rear board, but also at above the top and below the bottom spine cords), joints cracked but sound, other general signs of use to the binding, text with occasional small marginal stains or smudges and additional insignificant imperfections, but an excellent wide margined copy that is fine internally, the binding retaining much of its original appeal.
Provenance: Nuremberg, City Library: early armorial paper booklabel mounted in first initial space; Albert Ehrman (1890-1969, his and Broxbourne Library bookplates, monogram and penciled notes, his sale Sotheby's London, 8 May 1978, lot 396); Helmut N. Friedlaender (bookplate; his sale, Christie's New York, 23 April 2001, lot 49).

FIRST EDITION
of Franciscus' work on the seven deadly sins, a very desirable copy of the first dated book printed at Nuremberg in probably it's first Nuremberg binding, with an early Nuremberg provenance. The text is the original printing of the chief work of Franciscus de Retza, an Austrian Dominican theologian and professor of theology at Vienna, the work dealing with the seven deadly sins and the corresponding virtues. The printer Johann Sensenschmidt (ca 1420-1491), thought by Haebler to be a native of Eger in Hungary who learned his trade in Mainz, was the prototypographer in the important printing center of Nuremberg. His career was divided into four stages, during which he changed partners, backers, and location (he moved to Bamberg in 1478). The present work comes from his earliest period, when he worked in partnership with Heinrich Kefer to produce as many as 20 books and was financed by Heinrich Rumel. Hawkins says that our "Comestorium" was "probably the first book printed at Nuremberg. A strong reason for assigning it to Sensenschmidt and Kefer in partnership rather than to the former alone, and also for regarding it as the first production of the press, is the phrase 'patronarum formarum concordia et proportione impressus' in its colophon, the words being taken from that to the Catholicon of Balbus printed at Mainz in 1460, anonymously, but almost certainly by Gutenberg, Kefer's old master" (Kefer was identified in legal documents of 1455 as one of Gutenberg's workmen). Haebler notes that Sensenschmidt's "close connection with ... Gutenberg's press would lead us to expect the influence of Mainz in his work. But in the design of his types he is remarkably independent." The faces he created were imitated, and, among others, the great Koberger, with whose name Nuremberg books will always be associated, "began to print with a similar type." In a later partnership with Andreas Frisner, Sensenschmidt "also cut new types, one of which exercised great influence on German printing." There is no doubt that this volume was bound at Nuremberg, though, somewhat curiously, its tools appear to belong to three different shops: the Carmelite convent (Kyriss shop 22, Schwenke-Sammlung Adler 52 and 407a), the Carthusian monastery (Kyriss shop 23, Schwenke-Sammlung Blattwerk 351 and Granatapfel 112a), and the Nuremberg "Laubstab" shop (Schwenke-Sammlung Einhorn 29 and Hirsch 20). VERY RARE: according to American Book Prices Current only one other copy sold at auction in the past 45 years. BMC II, 403; BSB-Ink F-250; GW 10270; Goff R-150.
Contacts
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
FRANCISCUS DE RETZA. c.1343-1427.  Comestorium vitiorum.  Nuremberg: [Johann Sensenschmidt and Heinrich Kefer for Heinrich Rummel, 14]70.
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