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Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.

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Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.
Item Details
Description
Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.

Luca Pacioli, excerpted from the Summa de arithmetica, 1494

PACIOLI, Luca (c.1445-1517). Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis. Extracted from: Somma di arithmetica, geometria, proporzioni e proporzionalità. Venice: Paganinus de Paganinis, 10-20 November 1494.
The first printed treatise on double-entry bookkeeping, from Pacioli's great mathematical work—a text which has profoundly shaped our modern economic world. This fragment was saved from book-breakers in 1929 California by an accountant named Siegfried Gundelfinger, who recognized the especial importance of Tractatus XI and acquired those leaves together with some of the front matter of Pacioli's Summa de arithmetica. While that work addresses nearly all aspects of mathematical knowledge available to Renaissance thinkers, it is most famous for this treatise on double-entry bookkeeping, which is the first description in print of that practice. For this reason, Pacioli is known today as a sort of patron saint of accounting, in addition to his many other accomplishments.
Pacioli, who began his career as an abbaco teacher and private tutor, was intimately familiar with the practical world of accounting, ledger books, and economic arithmetic. His inclusion of business mathematics alongside geometry and algebra in the Summa elevated the concerns of the practical accountant to the intellectual level of the rest of the humanist curriculum, presented as part of the sum of mathematical learning and an essential part of human knowledge. Although double-entry bookkeeping had been known in Italy since at least the 13th century, the present treatise is the first description in print in any language, under the Latin title Particularis de computis et scripturis (“Details of Accounting and Recording”).
The treatise opens with the declaration that there are three necessities for a successful business: 1) cash or credit; 2) a good accountant; and 3) good internal control [“bello ordine”]. The accountant—who must be well-versed in mathematics—is responsible for the internal control of the books. If followed, Pacioli’s system allows for a businessman to “pursue profit lawfully” and achieve good results. He writes “without double entry, businessmen would not sleep easily at night. Their minds would keep them awake with worry about their business. To prevent this stress, I wrote this text.” Pacioli details not only the mathematics of accounting, but the practical issues of how many and what kinds of ledgers to use, so that a business owner can understand exactly what they have and what they need to succeed. He writes: “begin with the assumption that a businessman has a goal when he goes into business. That goal he pursues enthusiastically. That goal, and the goal of every businessman who intends to be successful, is to make a lawful and reasonable profit.”
The Summa emphasizes practices which are still basic to accounting: the importance of understanding inventory maintenance, cash versus capital, and using a uniform currency to keep accounts. Pacioli is also credited as the first author to describe the “rule of 72”—a method of calculating compound interest which continues to be part of the accounting curriculum today. Particularis de computis et scripturis was a powerfully simply but also serious work made to meet the demand of the burgeoning classes of businessmen, artists, artisans, and merchants in Renaissance Italy—and its influence still endures today. The larger work it is a part of, the encylopedic Summa, fetches six or even seven figures when it appears complete at auction; this is a chance to own the most salient and influential portion of Pacioli's iconic text. See BMC V 457; Goff L-315; Goldsmiths’ 5; ISTC il00315000; Smith, Rara Arithmetica, p. 54.
Super-chancery folio (300 x 217mm). 19 leaves, comprising: title page, preface, and summario, ff. 5; and Tractatus XI, ff. 197-210. Woodcut initial depicting Pacioli, a few other smaller initials and diagrams (first leaf window mounted with losses to text on reverse, second leaf with outer and lower margins extended, some dustsoiling and dampstaining around edges to some leaves). Modern vellum wrapper with manuscript title on front (some leaves loose from wrapper. Provenance: Siegfried Gundelfinger (1878-1954, Bavarian accountant who emigrated to Mill Valley, California; note on flyleaf describing its acquisition dated 15 March 1929).


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Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.

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Apr 25, 2022
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0007: Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.

Est. $15,000 - $25,000Starting Price $7,500
Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts
Apr 25, 2022 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 26%

Lot 0007 Details

Description
...
Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis.

Luca Pacioli, excerpted from the Summa de arithmetica, 1494

PACIOLI, Luca (c.1445-1517). Tractatus XI. Particularis de computis et scripturis. Extracted from: Somma di arithmetica, geometria, proporzioni e proporzionalità. Venice: Paganinus de Paganinis, 10-20 November 1494.
The first printed treatise on double-entry bookkeeping, from Pacioli's great mathematical work—a text which has profoundly shaped our modern economic world. This fragment was saved from book-breakers in 1929 California by an accountant named Siegfried Gundelfinger, who recognized the especial importance of Tractatus XI and acquired those leaves together with some of the front matter of Pacioli's Summa de arithmetica. While that work addresses nearly all aspects of mathematical knowledge available to Renaissance thinkers, it is most famous for this treatise on double-entry bookkeeping, which is the first description in print of that practice. For this reason, Pacioli is known today as a sort of patron saint of accounting, in addition to his many other accomplishments.
Pacioli, who began his career as an abbaco teacher and private tutor, was intimately familiar with the practical world of accounting, ledger books, and economic arithmetic. His inclusion of business mathematics alongside geometry and algebra in the Summa elevated the concerns of the practical accountant to the intellectual level of the rest of the humanist curriculum, presented as part of the sum of mathematical learning and an essential part of human knowledge. Although double-entry bookkeeping had been known in Italy since at least the 13th century, the present treatise is the first description in print in any language, under the Latin title Particularis de computis et scripturis (“Details of Accounting and Recording”).
The treatise opens with the declaration that there are three necessities for a successful business: 1) cash or credit; 2) a good accountant; and 3) good internal control [“bello ordine”]. The accountant—who must be well-versed in mathematics—is responsible for the internal control of the books. If followed, Pacioli’s system allows for a businessman to “pursue profit lawfully” and achieve good results. He writes “without double entry, businessmen would not sleep easily at night. Their minds would keep them awake with worry about their business. To prevent this stress, I wrote this text.” Pacioli details not only the mathematics of accounting, but the practical issues of how many and what kinds of ledgers to use, so that a business owner can understand exactly what they have and what they need to succeed. He writes: “begin with the assumption that a businessman has a goal when he goes into business. That goal he pursues enthusiastically. That goal, and the goal of every businessman who intends to be successful, is to make a lawful and reasonable profit.”
The Summa emphasizes practices which are still basic to accounting: the importance of understanding inventory maintenance, cash versus capital, and using a uniform currency to keep accounts. Pacioli is also credited as the first author to describe the “rule of 72”—a method of calculating compound interest which continues to be part of the accounting curriculum today. Particularis de computis et scripturis was a powerfully simply but also serious work made to meet the demand of the burgeoning classes of businessmen, artists, artisans, and merchants in Renaissance Italy—and its influence still endures today. The larger work it is a part of, the encylopedic Summa, fetches six or even seven figures when it appears complete at auction; this is a chance to own the most salient and influential portion of Pacioli's iconic text. See BMC V 457; Goff L-315; Goldsmiths’ 5; ISTC il00315000; Smith, Rara Arithmetica, p. 54.
Super-chancery folio (300 x 217mm). 19 leaves, comprising: title page, preface, and summario, ff. 5; and Tractatus XI, ff. 197-210. Woodcut initial depicting Pacioli, a few other smaller initials and diagrams (first leaf window mounted with losses to text on reverse, second leaf with outer and lower margins extended, some dustsoiling and dampstaining around edges to some leaves). Modern vellum wrapper with manuscript title on front (some leaves loose from wrapper. Provenance: Siegfried Gundelfinger (1878-1954, Bavarian accountant who emigrated to Mill Valley, California; note on flyleaf describing its acquisition dated 15 March 1929).


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