The first history of the world - the 15th century Fasciculus Temporum - is expected to draw huge attention from collectors at a San Francisco auction tomorrow (June 21).
The magnificent manuscript was produced by the German monk and historian Werner Rolevinck, circa 1471. Providing a complete history of the world from creation to Pope Sixtus IV, it is the most important of the 50 or so titles that Rolevinck created during his lifetime.
The book was first printed in 1474 and was met with massive success upon its release. 30 or more editions of the work were published before Rolevinck's death in 1502, making him one of the best-selling authors of his day.
That said, Rolevinck had very little competition. The Fasciculus Temporum was the second work published by any living author, pre-dated only by Robertus Valturius' De re militaria in 1472. The item at auction is one of 13 known manuscript copies of the work and remains the only one in private hands. It is also one of just seven manuscripts that pre-date the printed book.
Comprising 30 vellum leaves written in Latin, the manuscript is presented in "grand format", meaning it is much larger than the other existing copies. This characteristic is only found in pre-publication manuscripts.
The interior of the book boasts three miniature paintings of the Holy Trinity, which stand in contrast to the basic woodcut illustrations found in the printed book. Bound in a 17th century calf cover and decorated with gilt tooling, the spectacular work is expected to bring between $100,000 and $150,000 in tomorrow's sale.
The rare manuscript market has enjoyed a great spell of success at auction recently, with items such as this Richard III signed document seeing a dramatic increase of 628.3%.
We currently have a very exciting selection of rare manuscripts on offer to collectors, which perfectly capture some of the most important people and events in history. This personal divorce plea from Henry VIII to Pope Julius II marks the beginning of the Reformation in England.