The Pinto Collection


Time goes by. Sometimes screening a pile of books a day. Some days just staring at the pictures on my computer. Wondering about the importance of detail, as when studying comparative literature, where even part of a sentence could unveil a clue.
The Lisbon books do not disappoint. They appeal to me because I can read them. I can read the preliminary leaves in which the role of the inquisition and religion is illustrated beyond any doubt. I can feel the age in which they were written and published. If I were only looking for traces of use I would be disappointed: hardly any traces of use in the traditional sense. Does that matter? Researchers hope to find traces of use that will modify perception. Maybe it is also comforting to leaf through a book that clearly has been read, but has no annotations to prove it. Not a pristine copy, but thumbed pages.
And yet...
To remove the unasuming protective box and to find this on a binding is a thrill.


Diego de Mendoça, Guerra de Granada. En Lisboa: Por Giraldo de la Viña. Año 1627. U.v.A. call number OTM: O 63-6465.


It seems serendipity struck on 18th November 2010 when, upon opening a box at Special Collections, I found the binding with the coat of arms already shown above. 


A quick search on internet revealed the similarity to the coat of arms of the Pinto family, which also has five crescent moons. However, which family member was the bibliophile? The U.v.A description does not give further details. My query on this blog was answered by an Italian reader who enclosed a link to the Italian/Napoletan Pinto's with a coat of arms with the same five crescents. Meanwhile I was thinking in the direction of the most famous Pinto on the internet, being the 68th Grandmaster of the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John Knights of Malta, the Portuguese Manuel Pinto de Fonseca (1681-1773). And indeed it was long thought the armorial bindings were his. It wasn't until last week that further clues regarding the provenance came to me through K.G. According to Storm van Leeuwen 2006 the bindings are from the book collection of the Portuguese/Jewish Aaron Joseph de Pinto (1710-1758) from Amsterdam.  

A lucky find which merits further research. Back to library and archive.
Serendipity with a birthday feeling. 

J. Storm van Leeuwen, Dutch Decorated Bookbinding in the Eighteenth Century. 't Goy/Houten: Hes & De Graaf, 2006. 4 vols. 


An then there were three.



KG put me on track of the catalogue of the 1785 sale of the library of Aron de Pinto. The catalogue was included in a project initiated by the late Professor Bert van Selm of the Amsterdam and Leiden universities, after his death the project was continued by H.W. Kooiker and E. Hofland. The project involved the building of a database of sixteenth and seventeenth century auction catalogues published within the bounderies of the Dutch Republic 1599-1800. Auction catologues of Dutch private libraries, publishers' stocks, booksellers' stocks and anonymous collections. Some 3500 auction catalogues were located and microfilmed, in addition to which were added 600 publishers' and booksellers' lists and stock catalogues, catalogues of private libraries and booksellers' lending libraries. In short a virtual goldmine of information for historical research. 

H.W. de Kooker & E. Hofland (eds.), Book Sales Catalogues of the Dutch Republic, 1599-1800. Leiden: Inter Documentation Company, 1990-...  Cat. 2987. Mf 4585-4586.

Although unfortunately not annotated, the 1785 Pinto catalogue reads like a detective story. 

Pinto 0001

Catalogus van een extra-fraaye en uitmuntende Verzameling van Nederduytsche, Fransche en Spaansche Boeken... Alles in veele Jaaren by een verzameld en Nagelaten by Wylen den Heere Aron van Joseph de Pinto... Te Amsterdam: By Jan Willem Smit, 1785. 


An then there were four, and more to come...



Seven more Pinto bindings, all for sale at Antiquariaat Forum B.V., to which bookdealer I owe many thanks for allowing me to scrutinize and photograph the books. Interesting later provenances but hélas...not an annotation to be found in any of the books. Not the best of photographs, but aren't they a pretty picture?



So now the grand total is 11 of the 2625 items listed in the 1785 auction catalogue. Now if that isn't daunting I don't know what is! 

Time to re-evaluate my goals. 

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