A Paris, chez Laurent D’Houdry, 1697.
8vo [185 x 115 mm] of 80 pp., (2) bl. ll., (2) ll. 2 folding charts. Full gilt vellum, double frame of gilt fillets around the covers, fleur-de-lys at the corners, central gilt reserve bearing the date 1697 in gold, spine decorated with fleur-de-lys, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.
There were 12 almanacs in all, covering the years 1683 to 1699, which preceded the Royal Almanac published from 1700 to 1792. These first 17 years are absolutely rare, if not impossible to find.
“John Grand Carteret in his ‘Biographie des Almanachs Français’, published in 1896, cites only one copy for the year 1698 “Year 1698 with the arms of the Duke of Orleans. 20 F “.
Le Comte Godefroy de Montgrand was able to acquire nine of the 17 volumes published, only four of which were in period bindings, during two visits to Paris in 1855 and 1862. Here is what he wrote at the time:
“I bought from Mr Auguste Aubry, bookseller in Paris, rue Dauphine 16, during my second trip to the capital in 1855, the year of the first universal exhibition under the Empire, the two almanacs or calendars for the years 1697 and 1698, bound in white vellum by Capé, with the coat of arms of Mr Hope and coming from the sale of his library in the said year 1855. On the fourth of June 1862, on my sixth trip, I again bought from the said Mr Aubry, the seven others which I have in my possession, namely: 1684, 1687 and 1695, in the same binding as the first two. Still of the same provenance, plus the years 1690, 1692, 1693, 1694, in their original binding. The year 1692 with the arms of France on the boards. I paid for these nine volumes at the rate of fifteen francs each, that is one hundred and thirty five francs. M. Aubry offered to take them back from me a few days later. No doubt someone well-informed had offered him a much higher price, but I clearly refused.
“They are now worth twice as much, and much more even, these volumes have become of the utmost rarity, let us say better to be true, untraceable. They are the only ones I have known during my entire existence”.
(Note by M. Godefroy de Montgrand).
Grand-carteret describes these almanacs covering the years 1683 to 1699 as follows:
“On the title interlaced crowned fleurons. This title has received each year some modifications or, to say better, some increases in the summary. In addition to the calendar, it contains medical observations, the time to cut one’s hair and to purge, advice on agriculture, court vacations, the streets and residences of messengers and rovers, and the order of couriers.”
Precious and superb copy bound in gilt vellum decorated with fleur-de-lys with a central reserve in the center of the boards bearing the date 1697.
Handwritten ex libris and stamp on title leaf.