Medallic Celebrations of a Non-event In the History of Printing 8 items
The most important historical source for Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of European printing is the Cologne Cronica of 1499. Based on the recollections of Cologne’s first printer, Ulrich Zel, it dated the discovery of typography to 1440 and the printing of the first book to 1450. Although Zel’s dates are about fifteen years too early, his description of the book’s large Gothic typeface put eighteenth-century scholars on the right path to discover which of the numerous unsigned, undated fifteenth-century Bible editions was the long-forgotten Gutenberg Bible. Following the mistaken attribution in the Cologne Cronica citing 1440 as the invention of typography, various cities celebrated the 'three hundredth anniversary of printing' in 1740 with the issue of medals. In the case of Haarlem, they celebrated Laurens Coster, their local claimant to the title of the inventor of printing on a series of medals by different engravers. Henry Morris, the publisher of the Bird & Bull Press, was a lifelong collector of medals relating to printing and publishing. After closing the press in 2013, he expressed a wish to keep the collection intact and offered it to Princeton, where it was purchased in 2015 with funds from the Graphic Arts Collection and the Numismatic Collection.