THE EARLIEST DICTIONARY DEVOTED TO BUSINESS ONLY

Idea mercaturae. Darinnen was von der Kauff-Leute Commercien, Credit und Glauben, Fallimenten oder Banckrotten, Wexeln und dessen Rechte, Protesten, Parêre, Rescontreën Kaufmans Messen, assecurationē, Buchhalten und bilanciren anzumercken und zubehalten, kürtz iedoch eigentlich beschrieben wird. Jungen und annoch ungeübten Kauffleuten zum nothwendigen Unterricht. In Frage und Antwort gestellet und herauß gegeben durch Martin Wagnern.

[Bremen, Erhardt Berger, 1661].

8vo, pp. 93, [1, blank]; small paper flaw to the fore-margin of one leaf, leaf edges a little toned, but a crisp, clean copy in contemporary vellum-backed marbled paper boards, ink title to the spine; a small, circular label with shelfmark to the upper board, with the label of the Fuerstlich Auerspergsche Fideicommisbibliothek zu Laybach to the front pastedown and the ownership inscription of Wolfgang Engelbert von Auersberg, dated 1663, to the title-page.

£6250

Approximately:
US $8350€7096

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First edition, very rare, of the first dictionary solely related to business.

The dictionary was conceived as a guide for young merchants. Recognising the want of a practical guide, the author (whose details beyond the name remain largely obscure) offers, in question-and-answer format, explanations of and advice about trade, commercial law, the goods market, the stock market, insurance, and bookkeeping, addressing questions such as ‘What is bankruptcy, what are its implications, and how does a merchant recover from it?’, and ‘What is commercial credit and where does it come from? How does it work?’ A well-planned, slim, portable yet thorough handbook, which – small and rare as it is – stands at the head of a fine genre that has remained successful to this day.

This is one of two printings of 1661; the other bears a Bremen imprint, by Erhardt Bergers, and comprises 78 pages; no priority has been established.

Humpert 309; VD17 12:157979U; J.M. Welch, and M.J. Merritt, International business dictionaries, in ‘Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship’ (1996), 2 (1), p. 43; Womack, R., Basic Business Dictionaries Compared, Rutgers University Community Repository, 2005. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3D21VXB. For the other issue, see Hoock, Ars Mercatoria II, W4.1.

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