San Francisco: The Book Club of California [Printed by The Grabhorn Press], 1926. Angelo, Valenti. Limited Edition. Full Vellum. No. 5 of 250 copies, folio size, 39 pp. Near Fine. Item #18102202
Chosen as one of the Fifty Books of the Year, it was also awarded the gold medal by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. While scholars today are still debating whether Vespucci actually made four voyages or only two, and some even debate whether Vespucci or someone else wrote some/all of the letters attributed to him, no one can doubt the importance of his letters; they brought news of the newly discovered continents of North and South America to the European public and the discovery was generally known throughout Europe within a few years of their publication (N.B., some of the above info from Wikipedia). The text of this volume follows a translation of the original Italian edition published by Pietro Pacini di Pascia at Florence in 1505 or 1506 (Grabhorn Press Bibliography, p. 47).
This was the first book illustrated by Valenti Angelo for the Grabhorn Press, a partnership that would continue for many years and produce some of the Grabhorn Press's loveliest books. Angelo (1897-1982), a highly-regarded designer, illuminator, and decorator of books over a career that spanned decades, did much of his early work for the Grabhorn Press and the Book Club of California. He also printed his own books in extremely limited editions under the imprints of "The Golden Cross Press" and "The Press of Valenti Angelo".
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full limp vellum, black lettering on the spine, tasteful Ex-Libris plate on the front pastedown of Eugene and Mildred Prince (residents of San Francisco per the Ancestry web site during this time), hand-coloured map on the title page, headpiece, tailpiece with printer's device and five decorative initials adapted from contemporary sources by Valenti Angelo; folio size (12" by 8.75"), pagination: (i-x), (1)-28, colophon (29), type Italian Old Style, paper Van Gelder, 250 copies were printed, this being no. 5; original sale price was $14.00.
___CONDITION: Overall near fine, with a strong, square text block, solid hinges, perfectly straight corners with no rubbing, the interior is clean and bright, and other than the bookplate noted above is entirely free of prior owner markings. As noted in the Grabhorn bibliography, this was the first book printed by the Grabhorns which was bound in full vellum, which was purchased at a local tannery; the vellum was improperly seasoned, so some of the bindings have buckled over the years - this volume has that buckling, and the vellum has naturally darkened over time; there is also a very small (less than one-half inch) split to the vellum in the middle of the rear joint and some light rubbing at the head and tail of the spine. Lacking the publisher's slipcase.
___CITATIONS: Grabhorn Bibliography no. 85, BCC 100 no. 26, "Valenti Angelo Author-Illustrator-Printer" p. 39.
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