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The introduction of the printed book auction catalogue

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Book historians have generally seen the introduction of the printed book auction catalogue as an important event in the history of the book trade. Catalogues were already being printed in the Dutch Republic in about 1600 and the present article discusses the factors that favoured this remarkably early development. In section 2 the author surveys present knowledge of book auctions from classical antiquity up to the year 1598. In particular, he discusses sales of books in the estates of deceased persons in the Low Countries during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with particular reference to auctions in Leiden and The Hague in the last part of the sixteenth century. From the data assembled it emerges that the auctioning of books was certainly not first thought of in the Dutch Republic and that many auctions of property, including books, were held before 1599. In 1596 Louis (II) Elzevier was granted permission to hold book auctions in the Great Hall of the Binnenhof in The Hague, and in the hands of a bookseller it was possible for this form of trade to develop in the best possible way. In section 3 the author moves on to the earliest book sales with printed catalogues, namely the Marnix sale of 1599 and the Daniel van der Meulen sale of 4


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