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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 51, December 16, 2007, Article 5

DWIGHT MANLEY DONATES WORLD’S FIRST ILLUSTRATED NUMISMATIC BOOK TO ANA

[The press release was issued by the American Numismatic
Association on Wednesday. -Editor]

A rare, 490-year old original copy of the first illustrated,
printed numismatic book, Illustrium Imagines (“Images of the
Illustrious”), has been donated to the American Numismatic
Association by well-known collector, sports agent and real
estate developer, Dwight N. Manley, of Newport Beach, California.
The book was printed in 1517 in Rome, Italy, and contains 204
ornate woodcut illustrations from ancient Roman coins and
medallions.

Manley purchased it for $8,050 in the November 1, 2007, rare
Book auction conducted by George Frederick Kolbe of Crestline,
California. In the catalog, Kolbe described the book as “...
Of unparalleled importance, being only the second numismatic
Book ever published, and the first printed book substantially
Illustrating coins and medals ... A handsome publication, truly
one of the greatest landmarks in the history of numismatic
literature.”

“This generous gift is unquestionably one of the most treasured
volumes in any numismatic library collection,” said ANA Acting
Executive Director Ken Hallenbeck. “This becomes the oldest
numismatic book in the world’s largest numismatic lending library.
It is a terrific addition to the ANA’s Dwight N. Manley Library.”
In 2003, the ANA Library was named in honor of Manley when he
gratefully donated $250,000 to the Association as way of saying
“thank you” for the $400 scholarship he received as a teenager
in 1980 to attend an ANA Summer Seminar session.

“This book needs to be available to scholars. There are fine
reproductions that have been produced in recent years, and one
already is in the ANA Library, but there is no substitute for
viewing and studying the real thing. When I saw an original
edition was available, I immediately thought about buying it
and donating it to the ANA,” Manley said.

“The book represents the beginnings of the science of numismatics,”
said Douglas Mudd, curator of the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum.
“Andrea Fulvio took the first steps towards making numismatic
information available to scholars and collectors by linking
information about ancient coins and medals to illustrations of
the pieces. This connection to the ancient world of Greece and
Rome was a key component of the Renaissance. In the process
Fulvio also managed to create a new collecting area — that of
numismatic
literature!”

Illustrium Imagines was written by Fulvio and the illustrations
are attributed to Ugo da Carpi of Venice, Italy, an acquaintance
of preeminent Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The 204 white-on-
black woodcuts show medallion-like portraits of Roman rulers
within elaborately drawn borders. The 120 leaves of the book
were rebound apparently in the 1700s with a spine lettered
in gilt.

“The suburb, expressive woodcut portraits were based on the
ancient Roman coins and medals in the collection of Jacopo
Mazzocchi, the book’s printer,” Kolbe explained.  The book
will be displayed in a special ANA Library exhibit during
Summer Seminar 2008, June 21 – July 4. The first-known printed
numismatic book, De Asse et Partibus Eius, a scientific study
of Roman metrology and coinage written by Guillaume Budé in
1514, did not contain illustrations.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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