“the earliest appearance of lending laws published by the oldest chartered bank in the world”: Scarce first edition of Riforma Et Giunta Alle Leggi Di S. Georgio; the lending laws of one of the oldest and historically significant chartered banks in the world
Riforma Et Giunta Alle Leggi Di S. Georgio.
Item Number: 92542
In Genoua: Pergli Heredi di Geronimo Bartoli, 1593 .
Exceptionally rare first edition of the original lending laws of one of the most powerful bank of the of the fifteenth century and on of the oldest chartered banks in the world, the Bank of Saint George in the Republic of Genoa. Quarto, bound in marbled boards, woodcut title vignette depicting Saint George slaying the dragon, woodcut initials, headpieces and tailpieces. In near fine condition with light toning. Scarce and desirable with only one example appearing at auction in the last 80 years, not in the British Library and OCLC lists only one other copy.
Founded in 1407 to consolidate the public debt which had escalated due to the war with Venice, The Bank of Saint George was one of the oldest chartered banks in the world. Headquartered in the Palazzo San Giorgio, the bank was established by a number of prominent Genoese families including the Houses of Grimaldi & Serra. The Bank lent considerable sums of money to many rulers throughout Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, gaining widespread influence. Ferdinand and Isabella maintained accounts there, as did Christopher Columbus. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote in book VIII, chapter XXIX of Istorie Fiorentine: "This establishment presents an instance of what in all the republics, either described or imagined by philosophers, has never been thought of; exhibiting within the same community, and among the same citizens, liberty and tyranny, integrity and corruption, justice and injustice; for this establishment preserves in the city many ancient and venerable customs; and should it happen (as in time it easily may) that the San Giorgio should have possession of the whole city, the republic will become more distinguished than that of Venice." In the seventeenth century the Bank became heavily involved in maritime trade, and for a time competed with such concerns as the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company. After Napoleon invaded Italy, he suppressed independent banks, and this led to the Bank's closure in 1805.