The 1598 Account Book of a Prominent Nuremberg Goldsmith at the Leipzig Spring Fair

Manuscript in German, written in ink in several clerical hands on paper, entitled “Laus Deo. Anno Christi 1598. Leibtziger Ostermarck Büchlein Sambt. [with the hallmark of Straub] Schüld unnd Gegen-Schüldt Register. Gott der Almechtige verleye seinen gotlichen Segen tzü Nützbarlicher verrichtung Unnd Einbringung der Schulden Amen” [trans.: “Praise God. Anno Christi 1598. Leipzig Easter Fair booklet including a register of debts and counter debts. May God the Almighty give his divine blessing to the advantageous performance and recovery of these debts. Amen”].

22 leaves (including some blanks or pages ruled in ink for entries). Agenda format (315 x 100 mm.), stitched as issued, uncut. [Nuremberg]: 1598.

A fascinating document, of a type that rarely survives: the manuscript account book for the spring 1598 Leipzig fair of Hans Straub I (or the Elder, 1541-1610), the prominent Nuremberg gold- and silversmith, alderman, and son-in-law of Wenzel Jamnitzer, the best-known German goldsmith of his time. The first leaf bears Straub’s hallmark (interwined initials “HS” over an arrow pointing upward within a plain shield & also containing the inscription “No. 72”). Our manuscript sheds important light on the business relations in the late 16th century between the Nuremberg goldsmiths and their trade at the Leipzig fairs.

Our account book is a list of sales, orders, and expenditures of Nuremberg goldsmith Hans Straub the Elder during the Leipzig Easter fair held in May 1598. While Straub is not expressly named, he can be identified by his hallmark on the first leaf. At the fair, trade was done in goblets, rings, knife-sheaths, cutlery, jewelry, gemstones, etc. Several business partners are named, including the Nuremberg goldsmiths Heinrich Hahn (Haan), David Lauer, and Paulus Koch. As an example of a transaction, we see that the council of Halle paid over 33 florins for a goblet.

In 1596, Straub was elected Alderman of the Artisans, the most elevated and honorable office to which a Nuremberg artisan could aspire. Straub retained this position until his death in 1610. In 1569, he married Anna, daughter of the famous goldsmith Wenzel Jamnitzer. On his father-in-law’s death in 1585, Straub inherited his casting molds, and used them extensively in his own creations. Despite his long period of activity, relatively few pieces made by Hans Straub have survived (see Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst 1541-1868, 2007, ed. by Karin Tebbe et al., Vol. I, p. 409).

In fine condition.

❧ The mark is similar to Marc Rosenberg, Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen, Frankfurt 1925, Vol. III, no. 3969.

Price: $19,500.00

Item ID: 6670