Catalogue 32
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Natural History


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GARCIA CAVALLERO, Joseph. Theorica y practica de la arte de Ensayar. Oro, Plata y Vellon rico. Danse Reglas para Ligar, Triligar, Alear. y Reducir Qualesquiera Cantidades de Oro, y Plata a la Ley del Reyno. Madrid, Agustin Fernandez, 1713.

8vo., (20) ff., 478 pp., (1) f., including 1 folded table and numerous tables in text. Bound in contemporary limp vellum, title written in a neat hand on spine. Light waterstain in gutter of first 4 quires; occasional spotting in margin of scattered leaves; final numbered page shaved at running title. Otherwise excellent.

$4,500

Very rare first and sole edition of this professional guide to assaying gold, silver and assorted precious metals by a practicing Madrid assayer, of interest for the international as well as mercantile history of Spain in the last years of her imperial period.


The work treats the physical properties of metals from different parts of the Spanish empire (New Mexico, Peru), general methods of determining weights and grades, the precise requirements for producing metals and alloys of different weights, and local differences in assaying terminology in different parts of Spain. For a practical handbook, the author has an unusually scholarly bent and discusses among Spanish authors the previous works of Juan de Arphe (whose tables are the basis for those given here), Roxas, Heras, Y Silva, and among Latin writers Agricola, Ercker, Libavius and others.

The NUC records a single copy, at Michigan. OCLC adds Oklahoma. We have also located a copy at the John Carter Brown Library.


* Palau 986,613; not in Goldsmiths?-Kress; not in Alden-Landis though clearly an Americanum.

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