American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

ANS Library Exhibit

Opening: October 23, 2009

First Impressions: Artistic Title Pages in Numismatic Literature.

From the early numismatic literature of the 16th century, title pages increasingly accompanied many of the great numismatic publications. A title-page contains essential information about the contents and creation of the book and is an assumed inclusion in modern times. However, the first printed books of the 15th century did not have title pages. Instead, the text would begin on the first page, and the book would have to be identified by the initial words. As title pages began to appear more frequently, and as the first page encountered when opening the book, it comes as no surprise that the basic information about title, author, publisher etc. was embellished with fantastic artistic representations. Oftentimes, the illustrations depict scenes that are relevant to the contents of the book or printer’s devices that might be repeated at other points throughout the work.

While especially popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, the practice of adding a frontispiece was gradually abandoned into the 19th century. A frontispiece is an illustration facing or preceding the title-page and often included an abbreviated version of the title. This exhibit will take a look at some of these elaborately designed title pages and frontispieces that appeared in many books from the 16th century to the 19th century.

Goltzius, Hubert (1526 - 1583).
De re numaria antiqua, opera quae extant universa (5 volumes).
Antwerp, 1708.

Other items in this exhibition include:

Bude, Guillaume (Budaeus), (1467 - 1540).
De Asse et partibus euis. Paris: Jose Bade, 1516?

Gaetanis, Petro Antonio, (18th century) Museum Mazzuchellianum, seu numismata virorum doctrina praestantium, quae apud J. Mariam Comitem Mazzuchellum, brixiae servantur a Petro Antonio de comitibus Gaetanis, brixiano Presbytero, et patritio Romano. [2 volumes in folio]. Venice : Antonii Zatta, 1761-1763.

Volume 1

Volume 2

Sestini, Domenico, (1750 - 1832).
Museo Sestiniano o sia collezione di monete antiche fatta per onesta occupazione da Don Adelelmo Sestini Eremita di Camaldoli. Ms. Ed.: 1784.

Darier, Hugues. Tableau du titre, poids et valeur, des differentes monnaies d'or et d'argent, qui circulent dans le commerce, avec empreintes. Geneva, 1807.