liv, , 618 pp.; 2 p.l., 400 pp. Two vols. in one. Thick 4to, cont. speckled boards, excellently rebacked in antique calf, gilt, reusing the two red morocco lettering pieces on spine. Paris: G.F. de Bure, 1767.
A very rare large paper copy of the extremely uncommon auction catalogue of the first of three sales of duplicates from the library of the duc de la Vallière, who formed by the time of his death in 1780 the most important collection of books of the 18th century. La Vallière, born rich and richer still through several inheritances, began buying in a serious way at the sale of the comte d’Hoym in 1738. For more than forty years, he acquired MSS., books, and entire collections on an enormous scale, buying at every major sale in France (and even in London at the Askew sale in 1775). We know that in one single year — 1774 — La Valliêre bought more than 6000 books.
Such a pace of acquisition caused the Duc to have many duplicates and triplicates. This catalogue, which contains 5633 lots, contains duplicate books and MSS. (!). We see that La Valliêre was not above selling unique items: lots 5566-5633 are all precious early French MSS.
A fine copy, priced throughout in a contemporary hand.
❧ Guigard, II, pp. 294-95. Peignot, p. 128. Pollard & Ehrman, pp. 247 & 341 & no. 347. Taylor, Book Catalogues, p. 248-49.
Item ID: 2943