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October 26, 2007

Printed by Antonio de Espinosa, Who Introduced Roman & Italic to America
“A Typographical Reformer of the First Order”

168. [MEXICAN INCUNABULUM]. Printed power of attorney form accomplished in manuscript and signed, from Tomás de Carvajal, resident of the Valley of Atrisco, to Juan de Medina, to collect payment for a horse, in Acapetluaca, 3 May 1569. [First line recto] para que por mi y en mi nombre podayas pedir y demandar auer recebir y cobrar [last line recto] vuestro lugar y en mi nombre podays hazer y sossituyr este poder en vna persona [first line verso] o procurador dos o mas con el mismo poder y los reuocar que quan cumplido y [last line verso] derecho so la clausula judicum sisti judicatum solui cõ sus clausulas acostubradas. [Mexico City: Antonio de Espinosa, before 30 April 1569]. Folio (sheet size: 30.5 x 21.3 cm; recto imprint area: 17 x 13.5 cm; verso imprint area: 4 x 13.5 cm), [2] pp., roman type, 34 lines of text on recto, 8 lines of text on verso. Numbered “56” in contemporary ink at top right recto. Silked, minor chipping to edges, wormholes affecting a few letters and part of the manuscript inscription, water stain at lower right blank margin.

            Another example of the present form is noted by 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 #9).

            In 1550 Juan Pablos secured the services of Spaniard Antonio de Espinosa (d. 1578), who came to Mexico and worked for Pablos for three years as a typefounder, punch cutter, and skilled bookmaker. According to Medina, Espinosa was the first native Spaniard to print in Mexico, prior printers being from other parts of Europe. Thompson, Printing in Colonial Spanish America, pp. 22-23: “Espinosa was a typographical reformer of the first order. Espinosa did some truly distinguished work [and] used a large variety of types, much of which was undoubtedly cut and cast by himself.... The most famous work printed by Espinosa was the magnificent Missale Romanum of 1561 [which] some have called the handsomest book ever produced in America.” Prior to Espinosa’s arrival, Pablos was stuck in a rut of wholly unimaginative typography, but Espinosa changed all that by assisting Pablos in introducing the first Roman and italic types used in the New World (1554). In 1559, Espinosa returned to Spain and received royal permission to set up a press in competition with Pablos, thus breaking Pablos’ monopoly on printing in the Americas.  ($1,000-2,000)

Sold. Hammer: $1,400.00; Price Realized: $1,645.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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