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left the press before the end of the fifteenth century.  All of

these cannot possibly be of interest, and many of them that are

"rare," are rare precisely because they are uninteresting.  They

have not been preserved because they were thought not worth

preserving.  This is a great cause of rarity; but we must not

hastily conclude that because a book found no favour in its own age,

therefore it has no claim on our attention.  A London bookseller

tells me that he bought the "remainder" of Keats's "Endymion" for

fourpence a copy!  The first edition of "Endymion" is now rare and

valued.  In trying to mend the binding of an old "Odyssey" lately, I

extracted from the vellum covers parts of two copies of a very

scarce and curious French dictionary of slang, "Le Jargon, ou

Langage de l'Argot Reforme."  This treatise may have been valueless,

almost, when it appeared, but now it is serviceable to the

philologist, and to all who care to try to interpret the slang

ballades of the poet Villon.  An old pamphlet, an old satire, may

hold the key to some historical problem, or throw light on the past

of manners and customs.  Still, of the earliest printed books,

collectors prefer such rare and beautiful ones as the oldest printed

Bibles:  German, English,--as Taverner's and the Bishop's,--or

Hebrew and Greek, or the first editions of the ancient classics,

which may contain the readings of MSS. now lost or destroyed.

Talking of early Bibles, let us admire the luck and prudence of a

certain Mr. Sandford.  He always longed for the first Hebrew Bible,

but would offer no fancy price, being convinced that the book would

one day fall in his way.  His foreboding was fulfilled, and he

picked up his treasure for ten shillings in a shop in the Strand.

The taste for incunabula, or very early printed books, slumbered in

the latter half of the sixteenth, and all the seventeenth century.

It revived with the third jubilee of printing in 1740, and since

then has refined itself, and only craves books very early, very

important, or works from the press of Caxton, the St. Albans

Schoolmaster, or other famous old artists.  Enough has been said to

show the beginner, always enthusiastic, that all old books are not

precious.  For further information, the "Biography and Typography of

William Caxton," by Mr. Blades (Trubner, London, 1877), may be

consulted with profit.

Following the categories into which M. Brunet classifies desirable

books in his invaluable manual, we now come to books printed on

vellum, and on peculiar papers.  At the origin of printing, examples

of many books, probably presentation copies, were printed on vellum.

There is a vellum copy of the celebrated Florentine first edition of

Homer; but it is truly sad to think that the twin volumes, Iliad and

Odyssey, have been separated, and pine in distant libraries.  Early

printed books on vellum often have beautifully illuminated capitals.

Dibdin mentions in "Bibliomania" (London, 1811), p. 90, that a M.

Van Praet was compiling a catalogue of works printed on vellum, and

had collected more than 2000 articles.  When hard things are said

about Henry VIII., let us remember that this monarch had a few

copies of his book against Luther printed on vellum.  The Duke of

Marlborough's library possessed twenty-five books on vellum, all

printed before 1496.  The chapter-house at Padua has a "Catullus" of

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