FROM YELLOW STAR TO FULL EMANCIPATION, 1602-1859: SUPERB COLLECTION OF ORIGINAL ITALIAN GOVERNMENTAL DECREES
(JUDAICA—ITALIAN). Collection of seven printed governmental decrees regarding the Jews of Modena, Italy, 1602-1859. Modena, Italy: various publishers, 1602-1859. Various sizes, broadside (the largest measures 17 by 23 inches) to octavo. $15,000.
Superb collection of official governmental decrees charting the history of the Jewish community of Modena, in north-central Italy, from the stigma of wearing a yellow mark in 1602, to the grant of full emancipation in 1859.
Items #4 and #5 illustrate how quickly the fortunes of the Jewish community could change. After helping the carbonari in their successful coup against the Duke, the Jews were granted full equal rights in a decree issued February, 1831. Just one month later, however, after the Duke had been restored to power, the government published a decree reenacting all former restrictions and imposing a fine against the Jews-presumably to punish them for having helped with the coup.
This superb collection includes, in chronological order:
1. Grida Sopra Gli Ebrei… [Decree enforcing all Jewish males and females from age nine to wear a yellow mark on their hat or clothing. Jews cannot hire non-Jewish servants. Despite these restrictions, non-Jews are not to vilify Jews]. Modena: July 28th, 1602. Small folio, single leaf printed on recto. Woodcut official crest; woodcut initial.
2. Decretum Super Usuris Hebraeorum Foeneratorum totius Status Celsitdinis Suae… [Decree regulating collateral on defaulted loans in the hands of Jewish bankers and money-lenders]. Modena: Juliani Cassiani, 1635. Octavo, two disbound leaves, four printed pages. Woodcut official crest on first page.
3. Notificazione Sopra I Pegni Rubati nel Banco del già Abram Rouighi Ebrao… [Decree regarding a controversy among the heirs of Abraham Rovigo involving liability for collateral securities stolen from the deceased]. Modena: Andrea Cassiani, September 22, 1654. Folio, single leaf printed on recto. Woodcut official crest; woodcut historiated initial.
4. Il Dittatore della Città e Provincia di Modena… [Decree granting full equal rights to the Jews of Modena following a successful coup against the Duke]. Modena: Stamperia del Governo Provvisorio, February 20, 1831. Broadside, printed on recto.
5. Francesco IV. Per la Grazia di Dio. Duca di Modena, Reggio, Mirandola, Massa e Carrara… [Decree retracting the grant of equal rights to the Jews and re-enacting all former restrictions upon the reinstatement of the toppled Duke and a fine imposed on the Jews of Modena]. Modena: Eredi Soliani Tipografi Reali, March 22, 1831. Broadside, printed on recto. Woodcut official crest of the Duke Francesco IV.
6. Il Ministro Dell’Interno… [Decree of the Ministry of the Interior permitting Jews to pay a fine to be excused from the Military Draft]. Modena: Eredi Soliani Tipografi Reali, November 26, 1851. Broadside, printed on recto. Woodcut official governmental seal.
7. Il Minicipio per Provvedimento Straordinario Decreta… [“Full Emancipation” decree, annulling all restrictions and granting Jews full equal rights of citizenship]. Modena: June 13, 1859. Broadside, printed on recto.
A few of the larger broadsides show faint fold lines and light foxing. Item #2 with small stain affecting both leaves; item #7 with three tiny holes at center of document. Overall, however, a superb collection of official documents in extraordinary condition. Rare.