As a rare books cataloger, I have learned to trust my predecessors. (Or, as one of my instructors in the art of bibliography put it, to cheat.) The notes they have left about an item are usually correct; the habit of checking for such indications has spared me many times from reinventing the wheel. But every now and then I do have to play wheelwright: updating old conclusions with new research, remedying oversights, correcting errors.
And occasionally — very, very occasionally — I find something everyone else has missed.
According to its shelf-list card, Folio GC5 H7480R 522d in the Penn Libraries German Culture Class Collection contains two items:
An edict describing measures, financial and other, to meet the threat of the Turks, given at Coblenz in 1522(?) … With this is a 14-line broadside … designed to accompany this or a similar proclamation, and announcing a meeting of the Reichstag in 1523.
The University of Pennsylvania purchased these items in 1955 from a Dutch antiquarian bookseller, A.L. van Gendt. Their accession record notes that they were acquired with a set of sixteenth-century broadsides, primarily decrees of the Holy Roman Empire. The shelf-list card quotes the accession record’s description of the 1522 edict verbatim, suggesting that the identification came from van Gendt. He, in turn, may have been following a German note penciled at the foot of the document’s first page:
Beschlüsse … der Reichsstände zu Coblenz zur Abwendung der Türken- u. Franzosengefahr! Ca. 1522 [i.e. Decisions … of the estates at Koblenz for averting the threat of the Turks and the French! Ca. 1522]
Since this item is otherwise undated, it seems likely that the impetus to assign it to the early sixteenth century comes from its association with the 14-line broadside publicizing the diet at Nuremberg in 1523.
Unfortunately for van Gendt’s bottom line, however, the two are unrelated.