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Specializing in Rare and Antiquarian Books on the Occult and more.

(Paleography) THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF WRITING in 4 Elephant Folio Volumes (London, 1902)

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(Paleography) THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF WRITING in 4 Elephant Folio Volumes (London, 1902)

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(Paleography) THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF WRITING in 4 Elephant Folio Volumes (London, 1902)

650.00

Williams, Henry Smith. Manuscripts, Inscriptions and Muniments: Oriental, Classical, Medieval and Modern, Described, Classified and Arranged, comprehending THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF WRITING. With more than two hundred facsimile reproductions in tone and color from the important languages of every age (4 volumes - Elephant Folio). London/New York: Merrill & Baker, 1902. 

First and only Edition. Four Large Volumes. Elephant Folio (21 inches by 14 inches). 4 hardcover folios with string ties containing individual folders of loose plates in the form of chapters. All folders are in large blue wrappers and list enclosed plate information to front with an introductory segment to inner panel. Each plate throughout the entire set is preceded by a separate full-sized explanation sheet (a few are double sided). ALL PLATES, EXPLANATION SHEETS, AND ERRATA SHEETS ARE PRESENT. Errata sheets are in many of the folders of the first volume only (tipped in to the rear inner panels). No further errata sheets were issued. The plates themselves are all on heavy card stock while the explanation sheets are on regular paper. The overall majority of the plates are in monotone or black and white, though there are many in full color, two color, and several with gold highlighting. It is unclear how many of these sets were issued but it is believed that the majority ended up in (and were intended for) libraries and other institutions. This set has no library marks of any kind. It has been kept in private hands. Condition: There are 3 plates that have a tiny tear or a very small corner crease to one edge of the margin. The rest of the plates are in immaculate condition. Three of the explanatory sheets have a tiny crease or a short closed tear along the edge. One has some darkening on a small area of the right edge of the sheet. Of the separate paper folders that house the plates and sheets, there are 4 which have a few splits to the spine ends, with one of these being fully detached. These 4 folders just happen to be the ones which contain the most plates/sheets. There is some light rubbing to the boards of the outer folios and a short scrape here and there. Many (but not all) of the original string ties are present but remain fragile. All in all this is a near fine set of this very unique, and highly ambitious publishing project. 

NOTE: This set of books is gigantic and extremely heavy. It weighs in at about 75 pounds in all. I am happy to ship this but please note that extra shipping charges will be required, and, it may take an extra couple of days to secure a box (or a coffin) large enough to contain it safely. It would need to be shipped via UPS Ground within the United States. If you are in the area and are interested, I can arrange a visit by appointment. Please bring a large wheelbarrow. Please inquire about international shipping costs before purchasing.

 

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I have included many photographs of this set which show the different types of plates but they still don’t do it justice. General descriptions of the contents of each folio are below and there are photos of the contents page of each folio above. 

Folio 1: Oriental Series, including Egyptian and Assyrian, and the story of the decipherment of these long-forgotten languages; the other scripts of Asia; and the Ancient Mexican writing of America. 

Folio 2: Classical Series, including the story of the probable origin and the development of the Greek and Latin scripts. 

Folio 3: Medieval Series, including Illuminated Books, Bible Manuscripts, and Historical Documents. 

Folio 4: Illuminated Manuscripts of the Orient, and Autograph Writings of Modern Times.