SEAMAN, Lazarus (d. 1675) -- William COOPER (d. 1688). Catalogus Variorum & Insignium Librorum Instructissimae Bibliothecae Clarissimi Doctissimique Viri Lazari Seaman, S.T.D. Quorum Auctio habebitur Londini in aedibus Defuncti in Area & Viculo Warwicensi, Octobris ultimo. London: E. Brewster and W. Cooper, 1676.
4o (235 x 180 mm). Collation: \kp\K2(2+1) (1r title, 1v blank, 2r-v To the Reader, 2+1r blank, 2+1v Index capitum); A-H h4, I-Z Aa-Bb2 Cc4 (catalogue). Eighteenth-century binding of marbled boards, vellum corners, modern calf spine with original green morocco lettering piece, (upper corners worn). Provenance: Andrew Gifford (engraved armorial bookplate), 1700-1784, baptist minister, numismatist, from 1757 assistant librarian in the newly founded British Museum, left his private library to -- Bristol, Baptist Academy -- Bristol Education Society (typographical booklabel, Sotheby's 16 March 1971, lot 383).
THE EXTREMELY RARE FIRST ENGLISH AUCTION CATALOGUE. "It hath not been usual here in England to make Sale of Books by way of Auction, or who will give most for them: But it having been practised in other Countreys to the Advantage both of Buyers and Sellers; It was therefore conceived (for the Encouragement of Learning,) to publish the Sale of these Books this manner of way" (preface "To the Reader"). The idea of an auction had been suggested to Dr. Seaman's executors by Joseph Hill, a presbyterian minister, who because of the Anglo-Dutch War in 1673 had returned from Holland, where book auction catalogues were common practice by this date.
Seaman was a learned nonconformist, and Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, during the Commonwealth. FINE ASSOCIATION COPY, the paper fresh and unpressed. Andrew Gifford of the British Museum used the catalogue for reference and has written notes against a dozen entries, including one on rarity (they have been cut into by the binder's knife). On the title and on two blanks of the end he has calculated the number of volumes as 5609, plus 1029 tracts bound up with others. Munby and Coral list two dozen sales held by William Cooper, who apparently charged a flat rate of about £100 for producing and distributing auction catalogues. Breslauer and Folter 74; Munby and Coral p. 3; Pollard and Ehrman p. 234.