Dwight Manley Donates World’s First Illustrated Numismatic Book to ANA

December 12, 2007 By ekr

Dwight Manley Donates World’s First Illustrated Numismatic Book to ANA 

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) — A rare, 490-year old original copy of the first illustrated, printed numismatic book, Illustrium Imagines (“Images of the Illustrious”), has been donated to the American Numismatic Association by well-known collector, sports agent and real estate developer, Dwight N. 

Manley, of Newport Beach, California. The book was printed in 1517 in Rome, Italy, and contains 204 ornate woodcut illustrations from ancient Roman coins and medallions. 

Manley purchased it for $8,050 in the November 1, 2007, rare book auction conducted by George Frederick Kolbe of Crestline, California. In the catalog, Kolbe described the book as “… of unparalleled importance, being only the second numismatic book ever published, and the first printed book substantially illustrating coins and medals … A handsome publication, truly one of the greatest landmarks in the history of numismatic literature.” 

“This generous gift is unquestionably one of the most treasured volumes in any numismatic library collection,” said ANA Acting Executive Director Ken Hallenbeck. “This becomes the oldest numismatic book in the world’s largest numismatic lending library. It is a terrific addition to the ANA’s Dwight N. Manley Library.” 

In 2003, the ANA Library was named in honor of Manley when he gratefully donated $250,000 to the Association as way of saying “thank you” for the $400 scholarship he received as a teenager in 1980 to attend an ANA Summer Seminar session. 

“The entire hobby continues to benefit from Dwight’s magnanimous generosity. His extraordinary donation of an original edition of the world’s very first illustrated coin book now becomes one of the distinctive works in the library named after him. The ANA is grateful for his years of loyal support,” said ANA President Barry Stuppler. 

“This book needs to be available to scholars. There are fine reproductions that have been produced in recent years, and one already is in the ANA Library, but there is no substitute for viewing and studying the real thing. When I saw an original edition was available, I immediately thought about buying it and donating it to the ANA,” Manley said. 

“The book represents the beginnings of the science of numismatics,” said Douglas Mudd, curator of the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum. “Andrea Fulvio took the first steps towards making numismatic information available to scholars and collectors by linking information about ancient coins and medals to illustrations of the pieces. This connection to the ancient world of Greece and Rome was a key component of the Renaissance. In the process Fulvio also managed to create a new collecting area — that of numismatic literature!” 

Illustrium Imagines was written by Fulvio and the illustrations are attributed to Ugo da Carpi of Venice, Italy, an acquaintance of preeminent Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The 204 white-on-black woodcuts show medallion-like portraits of Roman rulers within elaborately drawn borders. The 120 leaves of the book were rebound apparently in the 1700s with a spine lettered in gilt. 

“The suburb, expressive woodcut portraits were based on the ancient Roman coins and medals in the collection of Jacopo Mazzocchi, the book’s printer,” Kolbe explained. 

The book will be displayed in a special ANA Library exhibit during Summer Seminar 2008, June 21 – July 4. 

The first-known printed numismatic book, De Asse et Partibus Eius, a scientific study of Roman metrology and coinage written by Guillaume Budé in 1514, did not contain illustrations. 

For high-resolution images, contact RyAnne Scott at 719-482-9821 or scott@money.org. 

Originally Release Date: December 12, 2007
ANA Contacts: Phone: 719-482-9864
                            Email: pr@money.org
Return to top