Publisher Information: Paris: Thomas Jolly, 1666.
Raveneau, Jacques (d. ca. 1683). Traité des inscriptions en faux et reconnoissances d’escritures & signatures par comparaison & autrement. 12mo. , 215pp. 2 engraved plates, folding printed leaf after p. 124. Paris: Thomas Jolly, 1666. 152 x 84 mm. Mottled calf, gilt spine ca. 1666, hinges cracked, extremities and corners worn. Minor foxing but very good. Former owner’s note on the verso of the front free endpaper.
First Edition of the first book on the detection of forged documents, with the imprint dated 1666 and privilege dated 8 April 1666. The Bibliothèque nationale de France has a unique copy of Raveneau’s work with title-page dated 1665. According to Anne Sauvy, Livres saisis à Paris entre 1678 and 1701 (1972) No. 19, the 1665 edition bears a privilege dated July 1665. In that copy is a note indicating that this privilege was obtained improperly. Presumably Raveneau had to delay publication until he obtained an accepted privilege; the privilege in the 1666 edition is dated April 8, 1666. This 1666 edition includes a florid dedication to French magistrate Guillaume Ier de Lamoignon, marquis de Basville, who was first president of the Parliament of Paris. The dedication is prominently featured on the title page.
Raveneau, a professional calligrapher and scrivener, described here the various methods of counterfeiting documents and signatures, articulating the important legal principle that a signature should be considered false if it conforms too closely to a known example. The French authorities suppressed publication of the Traité, believing that the information it contained was as useful to forgers as it was to those detecting forgeries, and it is possible that Raveneau may have been imprisoned for writing the book
. The 1666 edition is very rare on the market. Further editions were published in Luxembourg in 1673, and in Paris (presumably after the ban had been lifted) in 1691. This copy contains an old inscription facing the title page, probably from the 19th century, that may be translated, “This book was prohibited for the reason that it gave forgers the means to falsify, fake or alter writings, and has become excessively rare.”Book Id: 42674