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PERTSCH, Wilhelm.

Die Arabischen Handschriften der Herzoglichen Bibliothek Zu Gotha.

Auf Befehl Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Ernst II von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha verzeichnet.

Gotha: Friedrich Andreas Perthes, 1878-92 Stock Code: 94282
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First editions. Uncommon in complete state, WorldCat shows perhaps fewer than 20 sets completing worldwide; Library Hub lists just two: SOAS and Glasgow, the Oxford set lacking the much later fifth volume; no other copies traced at auction.

The five volumes comprise the catalogue of the extraordinary collection of Arabic manuscripts at the ducal library at Gotha, most of which were originally purchased on behalf of Augustus, duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg by the German Orientalist Urlich Jaspar Seetzen (1767-1811) during his residence and travels in Constantinople, Aleppo, Damascus, Jerusalem and Cairo. The compiler Wilhelm Pertsch (1832-1899) had studied oriental languages in Berlin and Tübingen, with a nine-month Studienreise taking in Paris, London and Oxford. He began work at the ducal library at Schloss Friedenstein in 1855, the start of nearly 25 years spent working with the more than 3,000 Oriental manuscripts in the library, which eventually resulted in the five volumes offered here, as well as another three covering the Persian and Turkish collections.

Pertsch was also responsible for listing the Persian and Turkish manuscripts in the Prussian State Library in Berlin. In 1879 he was appointed chief librarian at Gotha and in 1883 made director of the scientific works at Friedenstein; he was also made an honorary member of the Berlin, Leipzig and Göttingen Academies of Science. Pertsch's reputation rests upon his exemplary catalogues of the oriental manuscripts at Gotha and Berlin. This important collection remains intact at the Forschungsbibliothek Burg Friedenstein.

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5 volumes, octavo (231 x 150 mm). Near-contemporary black half morocco, marbled boards, title gilt to spines, edges sprinkled, turquoise endpapers, original wrappers bound in.


German and Arabic text.


From the library of British Arabist and colonial agent Col. S. B. Miles (1838-1914), with printed bookplates noting his widow's bequest of the collection to Bath Public Library in 1920, and associated manuscript shelf-marks and blind-stamps as usual. Light shelf wear, pale browning, occasional small blind stamps, a scatter of foxing fore-edge, front and back only, a very good set.


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