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A: Soncino, Lombardia, Italy, B: Spain

Gershom Soncino Sells the First Copy of His First Book

12/19/1488 to 12/29/1488
<p>The autograph bill of sale in Hebrew signed by Gershom Soncino in the Library of Congress copy of Soncino's Sefer Mitzvot Gadol by Moses ben Jacob de Coucy.</p>

The autograph bill of sale in Hebrew signed by Gershom Soncino in the Library of Congress copy of Soncino's Sefer Mitzvot Gadol by Moses ben Jacob de Coucy.

On December 19, 1488 printer Gershom ben Moses Soncino, in Soncino, Italy, issued his first book, the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol by Moses ben Jacob de Coucy.

On the end flyleaf of a copy in The Library of Congress there is an autograph bill of sale in Hebrew signed by Gershom Soncino translated as:

" 'Gershom, the son of Moshe Soncino (of blessed memory), Printer,' and issued to one Moshe ben Shmuel Diena, stipulating that the buyer might not resell the volume for a period of two years. The bill of sale is dated 'the 25th day of Tevet, (5)249 [ = December 29, 1488, here in the city of Soncino' ten days after the printed date of publication.'

Arthur Z. Schwarz, who first brought this to the attention of the scholarly world, suggested that this volume may well be one of the first, if not the first off the press. The colophon date is the day of the 'completion of the work,' i.e. the printing. Some days may have passed before it was ready for distribution. Soncino's signature is his only Hebrew autograph to have survived" (Jewish Virtual Library.org, accessed 12-10-2008, includes images).

ISTC no. im00866240

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