Descriptions of another ten books are now available on the project website:
- Quintilianus, Marcus Fabius: Institutiones oratoriae Venice: Peregrinus de Pasqualibus, Bononiensis, 18 Aug. 1494
- Thomas Aquinas: Super quarto libro Sententiarum Venice: Bonetus Locatellus, for Octavianus Scotus, 23 May 1497
- Nicolaus de Hanapis: Distinctiones exemplorum Veteris et Novi Testamenti Memmingen: Albrecht Kunne, 1485
- Mela, Pomponius: Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 18 July 1482
- Aesopus: Aesopus moralisatus [Latin] [Cologne: Heinrich Quentell], 21 Oct. 1487
- Apuleius Madaurensis, Lucius: Opera Rome: In domo Petri de Maximis [Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz], 28 Feb. 1469
- Lucanus, Marcus Annaeus: Pharsalia Venice: Guerinus, 14 May 1477
- Homerus: Batrachomyomachia [Latin] [Venice: Printer of Datus, 'Elegantiolae' (H 5969*), ca. 1475]
- Johannes Chrysostomus: De reparatione lapsi [Cologne: Ulrich Zel, between 1467 and 1472]
- Solinus, Gaius Julius: Polyhistor, sive De mirabilibus mundi Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 1473
The copy of the works of Apuleius (otherwise known as The Golden Ass – the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety), contains some very nice evidence of book prices very close to the year of publication.
A German bibliophile, Petrus Mitte de Caprariis (d. 1479) from Memmingen in Bavaria, has written below the colophon on the final printed page “Hu[n]c libru[m] rome emj ad reponen[dum] in libraria mea in Me[m]mi[n]gen et o[mn]ib[us] [com]putatis p[ro] eo dedj – 4or flor[enos] Ren[enses] F. P(?) de Caprariis.” i.e. “I Petrus de Caprariis purchased this book in Rome for my library and including all expenses I paid 4 Rhenish florins” – that is, the cost including rubrication and binding, not just the printed sheets of the book.
The Apuleius, along with other books from the library of Caprariis, was later in the possession of the Benedictines of S. Maria in Irsee, Bavaria – within a few miles of Memmingen. Later, it formed part of the library of Robert & Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford (the Harleian Library). All the Harleian printed books were purchased by Thomas Osborne, a London bookseller and this volume appears as item 5356 in Osborne’s Catalogus bibliothecae Harleianae, with Osborne’s price “£5-5-0” in pencil on the front flyleaf. It then went to France to become part of the library of Louis XV’s secretary, Louis Jean Gaignat, and returned to England in 1769 – purchased by William Hunter for 215 livres 1 sou at the sale of Gaignat’s library in Paris.
This is therefore a rare example of our not only being able to trace a large part of this book’s provenance, but also of the price(s) it sold for at different points in its history. Remember that if you are interested in the economics of book collecting, you can use our book prices index to find the purchase prices of the incunabula (when we have been able to find them …).