4 vols, 4to, pp. viii, 268, xii (index), with 5 folding tables; [ii], [4 dedication], iii-vi, 355, [1 blank]; xxiv, 380, with 1 plate; , xxxvi, , 284; title to vol. I mounted on stub and with damp stain to lower inner corner, last two leaves of vol. II loose, browned; a good copy in 18th-century half calf over speckled paper boards, gilt spine labels, marbled endpapers; corners very neatly repaired.
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Della decima e di varie altre gravezze imposte dal comune di Firenze, della moneta e della mercatura de’ Fiorentini fino al secolo XVI (vol. 3: la pratica della mercatura scritta da Francesco Balducci Pegolotti e copiata da un codice manoscritto esistente in Firenze nella Biblioteca Riccardiana; vol. 4: la pratica della mercatura scritta da Giovanni di Antonio da Uzzano nel 1442).
First edition, scarce on the market, of a highly important work in the history of economics and world trade. Pagnini (1714-89) worked in the financial department of the Tuscan government and published translations of several of Locke’s works. The Della decima is his most important work, giving ‘a history of that tax [tithes] and the trade of the ancient Florentines, with a digression on the value of gold and silver, and on the rate of prices of commodities in the 14th and 15th centuries compared with those of the 18th century. This work is still of use in the study of prices’ (Palgrave III, p. 53).
To give his readers a better understanding of medieval trade, Pagnini published here for the first time the Practica della mercatura of the 14th-century Florentine merchant Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, taken from a manuscript in the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence. The Practica ‘describes some of the chief trade routes of the 14th century, and many of the principal markets then known to Italian merchants; the imports and exports of various important commercial regions; the business customs prevalent in each of those regions, and the comparative value of the leading moneys, weights and measures’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The trade routes described by Pegolotti include that from Azov to Peking and from the Sicilian coast to Tabriz. His work also encompasses Black Sea ports, 14th-century methods of packing goods and of assaying gold and silver, the city of London, and English and Scottish monasteries rich in wool. The Della decima further includes the first printing of Giovanni da Uzzano’s 15th-century merchant’s manual which covers not only commerce but also navigation.
Einaudi 4256; Goldsmiths’ 10065; Higgs 3535; Kress, Italian Economic Literature I no. 338; Sraffa 4470.
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