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Anton Koberger.


The printer Anton Koberger (c. 1440/1445 - 3 October 1513) owned one of the largest publishing houses in Europe and was one of the most prominent names in the cultural history of the incunabular era.
Anton Koberger was born to an established Nuremberg family of bakers, and makes his first appearance in 1464 in the Nuremberg list of citizens. In 1470 he married Ursula Ingram and after her death he remarried another member of the Nuremberg patriciate, Margarete Holzschuher, in 1491. In all he fathered twenty-five children, of whom thirteen survived to adulthood.
He established his press in Nuremberg in 1472 and quickly became one of the most prolific printers in the business, outstripping Schoeffer of Mainz by 1480.
He produced about 200 works by 1500, including the most famous illustrated work of the era, the "Nuremberg Chronicle."

In the year 1471 he ceased goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher. He quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, absorbing his rivals over the years to become a large capitalist enterprise, with twenty-four presses in operation, printing numerous works simultaneously and employing at its height 100 workers: printers, typesetters, typefounders, illuminators, and the like.
Constantly improving his business prospects, he sent out traveling agents and established links with booksellers all over Western Europe, including Venice, Europe's other great centre of printing, Milan, Paris, Lyon, Vienna and Budapest. At the supply end, he obtained two papermills.

In addition to a number of beautifully printed Bibles, he published philosophical and theological works on as many as 24 presses under his own supervision; although most Koberger books have Nuremberg imprints, he had books printed for him at several other locations, and he had sales outlets from Paris and Lyon to Budapest and Warsaw. As a wholesaler, this "king of booksellers" handled all the major scientific works of the period and dominated the book trade in Europe.

Koberger printed over 200 titles of incunabula, including 15 different copies of the Latin Bible. It is said that his only business blunder was when he turned down Martin Lutherís request to become Lutherís publisher.

It is interesting to note Anton Koberger lived, respectively, five and eight houses down from Hartmann Schedel, Sebald Schreyer and Michael Wohlgemut's workshop on the very same street. Koberger was the godfather of Albrecht DŁrer, whose family also lived on the same street. His printing house survived his death only until 1526, and the family continued as goldsmiths and jewelers.

Liber Chronicarum
Schedel The Liber Chronicarum was commissioned by two wealthy Nuremberg merchants and brothers in law, Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermaister. They contracted Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519) and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (c.1460-1494) to make the woodcuts for the book and to draw up layouts showing the setting of the type and the placement of the woodcuts.
The illustrations were in fact the catalyst for the project. The two engravers approached Koberger with the idea for the Chronicle, and by securing sponsors persuaded him to undertake the printing. Some 2,000 copies were printed in Latin.
Read more about the Liber Chronicarum.



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