STOSCH, Baron Philip von (1691-1757) -- Bibliotheca Stoschiana, sive catalogus selectissimorum librorum. Florence, 1759.
2 parts in one volume, 8o (178 x 118 mm). Contemporary half vellum, marbled paper sides, brown morocco lettering piece, uncut (a little worn). Provenance: Léon Dorez, Rome, 9 June 1891 (inscription on flyleaf); gift of E.W.G. Grieb, Christmas, 1988.
The fixed-price catalogue of the vast library of the Prussian Baron Philip von Stosch, who spent most of his life in Italy. Dorothy McKay Quinn described him as a "Collector, Bibliophile, Spy, Thief" (Catholic Historical Review, 27, 1941, p. 332ff, a xerox is added to this copy). He was an antique dealer, not above selling fakes, and paid by the British Government to spy on the Old Pretender in Rome. Robert Walpole called him "a man of the most infamous character in every respect" and "a dirty fellow," but dealt with him nonetheless. He left his possessions to a nephew, Wilhelm Münzell, who changed his name to Stosch and disposed of his uncle's collections. A sale catalogue was issued in Lucca, 1758, for the sale to take place in Florence, 16 January 1760, offering "nearly 8,000 lots" (Archer Taylor, citing the Newberry Library, ex Landau & Breslauer, copy). An "Index codicum manuscriptorum" (96 pp.), of 571 manuscripts was appended to a few copies, such as the Newberry Library copy (not mentioned by Taylor). These manuscripts were sold en bloc to the Vatican Library which, until 1876, was unaware of their having all been stolen from the Ottoboni bequest. The sale of the printed books never took place and was therefore not the first Italian book auction as has been asserted; their catalogue was re-issued, this time with printed prices, the books for sale at Stosch's house during February, 1760. The two catalogues are extremely rare: Ottino & Fumagalli (Nos. 4222 & 4223) quote them but had obviously never seen them, unaware of their importance. See Ceccareli (the 1758 catalogue); see Taylor, p.24, note.