Auctions | August 28, 2020

Catawiki Launches Early Italian Printing Auction

Amsterdam — The first book was printed in Italy in 1465, only ten years after the Gutenberg Bible. It is natural then, that there are many fine, early volumes available from Italy. As Fine Books & Collections readers will be aware, an Incunabula is a book, broadside or pamphlet printed before 1501. For many collectors, these are the pinnacle of their collections, being the earliest printed items possible.

We are pleased to offer a range of early Italian books, beginning with the Biblia Latina from 1480, we have selected 9 incunables to share with you. These are followed by 14 books printed in the 16th century, finally, we chose a number of special items from the 17th and 18th centuries, to demonstrate the range of Italian printing in this period.

Courtesy of Catawiki

Constitutiones Clementinae (1483).

As a highlight, one of the particularly attractive items is the Constitutiones Clementinae printed in 1483. This beautiful example was owned by Pope Pius VI, and bears his coat of arms to the front board. In addition to illuminated red and blue drop Caps throughout, this copy has a wonderful hand painted border to the frontis page. Poor Piux VI was Pope from 1775.  Having made his opposition to the French Revolution known, it was perhaps inevitable that the Papal States would be invaded by Napoleon, and that he would be deposed. He died a prisoner in France in 1799.  

You can find this particular lot here

We have been working to make our auctions more accessible in recent months, and part of this is an experiment with video.  Seeing a whole video of the lot, complete with pages turning gives a far more complete impression of what the winning bidder will receive.   

You can find our You-Tube link here: Italian Incunable videos

The auction will be online starting Friday 28 August 2020 at 10:00 UTC | closing Thursday 10th September 2020 at 18:01 UTC and will be visible at the following link:

Marc Harrison, category manager Books, Manuscripts & Cartography at Catawiki: “For me, books connect you with history. There is a particularly strong connection to the Constitutiones. I can imagine Pius VI sat in the Vatican, studying Clementine’s work.  What better way to own a piece of history?”