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A: Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Christophorus Guyot Issues the Earliest Surviving Catalogue of a Book Auction

Handschrift Brussel p 37 38

A slightly irrelevant image, related to the collector of the library, Filips van Marnix, rather than the dispersal of his libraryl at auction. This section in "handschrift Brussel" is the first record of the Dutch national anthem, authorship of which is attributed to van Marnix. It is a collection of the work of Filips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde. He is referenced as "an excellent poet" on the right side of the page. Water color painting of three mounted swordsmen in cuirasses with pikes and red split pennants. Koninlijke Bibliotheek België hs. 15662.

The first book auctions with lot numbers and printed catalogues took place in Holland. The first book auction with a printed catalogue took place in Leiden in 1593, though no catalogue survives. The earliest surviving catalogue of a book auction was issued by Christophorus Guyot in Leiden: Catalogus Librorum Bibliothecae Nobilissimi Clarissimique viri piae memoriea D. Philippi Marnixii. The sale took place in the house of the widow of the owner of the library, Filips van Marnix, heer van Sint-Aldegonde, on July 6, 1599.

Marnix was a Dutch and Flemish writer and statesman and the probable author of the text of the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus.

"Less known to the general public is his work as a cryptographer. St. Aldegonde is considered to be the first Dutch cryptographer (cfr. The Codebreakers). For Stadholder William the Silent, he deciphered secret messages that were intercepted from the Spaniards. His interest in cryptography possibly shows in the Wilhelmus, where the first letters of the couplets form the name Willem van Nassov, i.e. William 'the Silent' of Nassau, the Prince of Orange, but such musical games -often far more intricate- were commonly practiced by polyphony composers since the Gothic period." 

Only two copies survive. Breslauer & Folter, Bibliography: Its History and Development (1984) no. 40.

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