Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana. Part 2

Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana. Part 2

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1054. Benjamin Franklin Imprints | A pair of Benjamin Franklin's rarest imprints.

Benjamin Franklin Imprints | A pair of Benjamin Franklin's rarest imprints

Lot Closed

July 21, 05:44 PM GMT


80,000 - 120,000 USD

Lot Details


Benjamin Franklin Imprints

[Conrad Beissel.] Vorspiel der Neuen-Welt welches sich in der letzten Abendroethe als ein paradisischer Lichtes-Glantz unter den Kindern gottes hervor gethan. In liebes, lobes, leidens, krafft und erfahrungs Liedern abgebildet, die gedrückte, gebückte und creutz-tragende Kirche auf Erden. Philadelphia: Gedruckt bey Benjamin Francklin, in der Marck-strass, 1732 (bound with:) [Conrad Beissel.] Jacobs Kampff- und Ritter-Platz allwo der nach seinem Ursprung sich sehnende Geist der im Sophiam verliebten Seele mit Gott um den neuen Namen gerungen, und den Sieg davon getragen. Entworffen in unterschidlichen Glaubens- u. Leidens-Liedern u. erfahrungs vollen Austruckungen des Gemuths … Verleget von einem Liebhaber der Wahrheit die im Verborgenen wohnt. Philadelphia: Gedruckt bey B.F., 1736

Together 2 works in one volume, pot 8vo (151 x 90 mm, second work slightly shorter). Both texts in double columns with vertical rule, occasional typographic headpieces and ornaments; a very little scattered soiling, chiefly marginal. Contemporary Ephrata sheep, covers with double blind-fillet frame, cordiform hinges and clasp catching on the front cover, plain endpapers, edges stained brown; worn and a bit restored, with losses to corners and head of spine.

Two of Benjamin Franklin's rarest imprints and among the earliest German-language books printed in the British Colonies, preserved in a contemporary Ephrata binding. 

Vorspiel der Neuen-Welt was the second of three hymnals Franklin printed for the Ephrata community, and it contains all but three of the sixty-five hymns from the 1730 Göttliche Liebes un Lobes gethöne and adds fifty-five new texts by Beissel, Michael Wellfare Martin Bremer, and others. Jacobs Kampff- und Ritter-Platz was essentially a supplement to Vorspiel, containing thirty-new hymns, mostly by Beissel, including one that runs to forty-three-stanzas. 

Conrad Beissel was born in Germany in 1691 and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1720. In 1732 he founded a semi-monastic Baptist community called the Camp of the Solitary at Ephrata, serving as the community's composer as well as its spiritual leader. 

Miller found four other examples (all in Pennsylvania) that, like the present set, contained the two works within a single binding: at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Franklin & Marshall, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and Penn State.

This is evidently the first copy of Vorspiel der Neuen-Welt to appear at auction for ninety-nine years (the Pennypacker copy was sold at the Anderson Galleries, 29 October 1923, lot 125), while it is almost a century and a quarter since a copy of Jacobs Kampff- und Ritter-Platz is recorded in the auction records (again the Pennypacker copy, this sold by Henkels in 1905). There is no record of a Sammelband of the two hymnals ever appearing at auction.


Miller 48, 118; ESTC W30969, W1238; Evans 3503, 3986; Hildeburn 452, 536; Campbell 46, 98