Twice a year, the Leiden antiquarian bookseller Burgersdijk and Niermans hold a book auction – the one coming up shortly is on 19th-20th May 2009.

Flicking idly through the listings, I noticed that going for (what seems to me a very reasonable) 300-ish euros is a 1608 printed edition of the 365 letters of the philosopher / astronomer Celio Calcagnini of Ferrara (1479-1541) – his Epistolarum criticarum & familiar. There’s more on Calcagnini here and his claim to have preempted Copernicus (Thorndike even discusses him [Vol V], so he can’t be all bad). He gets a brief Wikipedia mention, and was a major influence on Rabelais (of all people). Hmmm… if I was filthy rich, this book is exactly the kind of historical frippery I’d fritter away my hard-earned money on. I might even go up to 310 euros, you never know. 🙂

(Note that a copy of the Basel 1544 edition of his letters (Opera Aliquot) is also on sale on the Internet, though 12,500USD isn’t quite such a bargain. Conrad Gessner once had a copy of it, too.)

Calcagnini wrote on many subjects: on the significantly cheaper end of the scale (i.e. free), there’s an online scan of his 1534 book “De imitatione eruditorum quorundam libelli quam eruditissimi puta” here and another of his books here, both courtesy of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. There’s a 2006 paper on Calcagnini by Jan Papy: and he merits a good page-and-a-half in the 2003 book Contemporaries of Erasmus (yes, he knew and corresponded with Erasmus too), which you can see on Google Books.

Alternatively, if you haven’t yet been inspired to make a mad impr0mptu telephone bid, you might possibly be more tempted to splurge an an early printed set of Libavius’ works (including Paracelsian and Rosicrucian controversies in the appendix), a B&N snip at an estimated 3800 euros! As always, your choice…

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