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AUCTION 20

Early New World Imprint

134. [MEXICAN INCUNABULUM]. Printed power of attorney form accomplished in manuscript and signed, from Miguel de Iturriaga to Antonio López de Erquiniso, dated at Puebla, 16 January 1562: [Recto commencing] ¶ Sepan quantos esta carta vieren como yo [first line of text] paraque por mi y en mi nombre podaya pedir y demandar auer recebir y cobrar [end line] quieran mi presencia o mas especial poder para Ostrosi vos doy este dicho poder para [verso, first line commencing] que ê vuestro lugar y ê minombre podays hazer et sostituyr este poder en vna per [last line] la clausula judicium sisti iudicatus con sus clausulas acostumbradas. [Mexico City: Juan Pablos de Brescia, ca. 1561]. Folio, [2] pp., gothic type, 35 lines of text. Except for marginal chipping and a few holes, none affecting text, very good.

     Szewczyk & Buffington, 39 Books and Broadsides Printed in America before the Bay Psalm Book: In Celebration of the 450th Anniversary of the Introduction of Printing in the New World #6 (another example of the present form). This form was printed with type employed by Juan Pablos de Brescia, an early printer in the Western Hemisphere, and probably printed by him prior to his death in the summer of 1561. However, the impression could have been made by Jerónima Gutiérrez, widow of Pablos, or by Pedro Ocharte, husband of María de Figueroa, his daughter. Because of Spanish and Mexican administrative and legal requirements, such formularies were probably a common form of job printing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Mexico. Unless the formulary became outdated, the form would have been useful for years after it was printed. Such ephemeral printing in Mexico is basically undocumented.

     Although printing did not start in British North America until 1639 in Cambridge, it had begun in Mexico a century earlier with Juan Cromberger, whose firm printed until 1547. He was succeeded by Pablos, who was then succeeded by his widow and sons. Among his more important works are the printings of Alonso de Molina’s 1555 Vocabulario and Maturino Gilberti’s 1558 Arte de lengua Michuaca, Thesoro espiritual en Lengua de Mechuaca and his 1559 Dialogo de la doctrina christiana, the last of which is admired for its fine printing and which Medina (Mexico, 36) declares, “es, sin duda, la obra capital de Juan Pablos.” He is best known, however, for Alfonso Molina’s celebrated 1555 Aqui comiença un vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana, one of the earliest and greatest American books, the first American dictionary, and the first dictionary of any Native American language (Nahuátl, or Aztec).

     Any Mexican incunabulum is rare and costly, and the present form affords an opportunity to obtain an early New World imprint for a reasonable sum. ($1,000-2,000)

Sold. Hammer: $1,700.00; Price Realized: $1,997.50

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