Only edition of a tidy, small-format Währungsrechner, which provides extensive tables that allowed German merchants operating in both domestic and foreign marketplaces to convert the Florentine florin—the base currency for more that 150 European dominions for two and half centuries—into German marks, and vice versa. Use of the converter is explained rather summarily in German on the first page; merchants of the period would surely have known how to employ this "ready reckoner" without referring to the instructions. The tables are ordered according to the amount to be converted, with each column representing a shift in the decimal, and each group of rows delineating fractional currencies. Published in Nuremberg by Friedrich Peypus about 1520, around the time that Hungarian and African gold was being supplanted by New World bullion. The work appeared without a title page or imprint information, and bears witness today as both an early computational work, and as a snapshot of a volatile macroeconomy at the height of the Protestant Reformation. We are unaware of any similar works from this period, excepting an English work from the same year which bears conversion tables for Spanish and Portuguese currencies, and Giovanni Mariani's Rasonato de mercantia, a converter which appeared in 1535. Ours is a good exemplar, with compelling and variable provenance, preserved in contemporary gilt-stamped and blind-rolled calf over wooden boards. VD16 and USTC find three copies, in German and Austrian libraries; no others located.
Title: Zum ersten disz puchlein | merck also/ an eym yeden blat sein zwo li= | niẽ/ Jn der erstẽ finstu die marck zů rechẽ võ | einer marck piß auff tzehẽ/ võ tzehẽ piß auff | hũdert/ vnd von hũdert piß auff funffhun | dert marck/ also kanstu suchẽ vñ rechen tau||sent marck/ vñ mehr/ Auff der ander seyte vñ | linien finstu von eynẽ pfenning piß auff iij […]
Nuremberg: Freidrich Peypus, 1520.
Octavo, 160 x 110 x 35 mm (binding), 157 x 108 x 31 mm (text block). A-T8, V12 (Q2 blank except for two vertical rules on verso; Q3 blank);  ff. Period blind-rolled and gilt-stamped calf over limewood boards. Extremities worn; gilding largely worn away; caps renewed; minor mends to covers; some epidemûres; small loss to spine exposing sewing and double-core support; hinges reinforced with old paper; remains of brass clasps and catchplates. Interior: A sound, clean copy with minor spotting passim.
Unidentified 17th- or 18th-century woodcut bookplate to upper pastedown illustrating a Moor in a shield bearing a palm frond (this is very likely a reference to the Tucher von Simmelsdorf trading dynasty); bookplate of Lukas Friedrich Behaim von Schwarzbach (1587-1648) to recto of A1 (dated by Warnecke to 16—?, and by Berlepsch to 1635). Behaim was from a long line of Nuremberg merchants, and acted as church procurator from 1643-1648. Our book was once in the collection of Paul C. Martin, and sold in 2006 at Hartung & Hartung, lot 375 (this lot number penciled to upper pastedown). Book ticket of Erwin Tomash to upper pastedown. Tomash was one of the founders of the Charles Babbage Institute, and formed the largest library of books on the history of computing, much of which was dispersed at Sotheby's in 2018, including our book. A few modern cataloguers' penciled notations to endpapers. Acquired by W. S. Cotter from Bruce McKittrick Rare Books in July 2022.
VD16 Z637; USTC 707793; Warnecke 1473 (Behaim bookplate).