DU BOIS, Guillaume, Cardinal (1656-1723) -- Bibliotheca Duboisiana ou Catalogue de la bibliothèque de feu ... Cardinal Du Bois, recueillé ci devant par Monsieur l'Abbé Bignon. The Hague: Jean Swart & Pierre de Hondt, 27 August, 1725.
4 volumes, 8o (170 x 105 mm). Contemporary Dutch vellum (sides slightly bowing).
PRICED in a contemporary hand. With its almost 30,000 lots this was the largest sale ever held in any country up to 1725, a record not broken until the Thott Sale, Copenhagen, 1789-1795, and the Heber sales of the 1830s; the sale lasted from 27 August to 18 October, 1725. This extraordinary library was the creation of the Abbé Jean-Paul Bignon (1662-1743), for many years secretary of the Académie des Sciences. When, in 1718, he was appointed Bibliothécaire du Roi, a position he occupied until 1741, he sold his library of reputedly 50,000 volumes obviously in order to avoid conflict of interest; the buyer was the financier John Law (1671-1729), of "Mississippi Scheme" fame who, in turn, sold it for 50,000 livres to Cardinal Du Bois, the immensely rich but ill-famed first minister under the reign of Louis XV (his misdeeds may have been exaggerated by the Duc de Saint-Simon who hated him). This sale has been stated to have taken place in 1723, but it cannot have been later than December, 1720, when Law secretly left France after the Mississippi Bubble had burst. After Du Bois's death, the library was sold for 65,000 livres to 'the booksellers of Paris' who immediately sold it to one "Guiton," who, in turn, sent it to The Hague for auction. Gustave Brunet, in "Fantaisies Bibliographiques," 1864, has an interesting essay on "La Bibliotèque du Cardinal Dubois," listing some of its principal treasures. - This copy of the catalogue is outstanding for having all prices realized of the 29,922 lots. Hoefer; DBF; Guigard I, pp. 238 & 270/1; Olivier 870; Taylor, p.239; Blogie IV, col 10. (4)