LA SERNA Y SANTANDER, Charles-Antoine De (1752-1813) -- Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque. Brussels: [privately printed], 1803. 4 volumes. -- [With:] Antoine-Augustin RENOUARD. Prix des livres de la bibliothèque de M. de La Serna Santander, de Bruxelles. [Paris, 1809].
Together 5 volumes, 8o (200 x 123 mm). 2 plates, and 5 engraved folding plates of watermarks. Contemporary speckled calf, spines gilt with red and green morocco lettering pieces (some spine labels missing, dried, rubbing to spine and edges). Provenance: Silvester Douglas, Baron Glengervie (1743-1823, bookplate); Walter Arthur Copinger (1847-1910, bibliographer, bookplate); E.P. Goldschmidt (shelfmark on lower paste-down).
The privately printed catalogue, in its most complete state, consisting of 6,444 + 93 lots, of the vast library, the largest in the Low Countries, of La Serna, bibliographer, incunabulist and "conservateur" at the Brussels Library. He had formed it jointly with his uncle, Don Simon de Santander San Juan, a secretary to the King of Spain and a book collector residing in Brussels who had sold his first, not very extensive, library by auction in that city in 1767, forming a second, infinitely richer, library, with his nephew who had joined him from Spain in about 1772. After his death in 1791, La Serna, decided to sell it en bloc, and for this purpose in 1792 had a catalogue printed, consisting of four volumes, and bearing the name of Don Simon. After it remained unsold, La Serna reissued these four volumes in 1803, but this time under his own name and with the numerous additional leaves or cancels; in Vol. IV the duplicate pp. 157-170 contain corrections and 92 additional items, pp. 261-266 provide a "Supplèment de la table des auteurs." He also added a fifth volume, very often missing, containing four pieces: "Observations sur les filigranes;" "Mèmoir sur le premier usage des signatures;" "Préface latine sur la vraie collection des canons de St. Isidore," and two letters, one by Koch, the other by La Serna. This time, the original 1792 catalogue, expanded in 1803, appeared to have achieved its original purpose: a buyer was found in Brussels, but he became insolvent, and La Serna regained possession of his library. It was finally acquired by A.A. Renouard for 60,000 frs and sold by him at auction in 1809, without issuing a new catalogue, but employing La Serna's 1803 five-volume catalogue, of which copies could be obtained for 12 frs. The "Liste des Prix" appears to be very rare. In the few remaining years of his life, La Serna apparently embarked upon forming another library, but with modest results; it was auctioned after his death in Brussels; the 1,376 lots included scientific instruments. Blogie I, col. 40 (the 1792 issue only).