Hamburg book auction achieves £1.2m

An antiquarian from Saxony had to fight off several other bidders both on the floor and phone, but he is now the proud owner of a rare Speculum Humanae Salvationis from the 15th century. The lot required a bid of €46,000 (US$70,000) - well over the top estimate of €37,000.

It was one of the two biggest sellers at Ketterer Kunst's auction which we reported on last week.

Latin texts printed in the 15th century were much in demand. A manuscript: Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum printed in 1475 encouraged much interest from around the world, but nowhere more than France.

Finally one Frenchman outbid another to take the book back to France. The work, originally expected to sell for as little as €14,000 finally required €27,600 ($41,300).

Nonius Marcellus Jenson Nicolas Latin
De Proprietate Latini Sermonis
(Click to see inside)

Likewise, a printed version of De Proprietate Latini Sermonis , originally created by Latin grammarian and lexicographer Nonius Marcellus in the 3rd or 4th century AD, caused excitement. The famous printer Nicolas Jenson created this copy in the mid 15th century.

The work nearly doubled its estimate of €18,000 to sell for €33,600 ($50,300).

The highest priced text as expected was Weinmann's botanical text Phytanthoza-Iconographia. The four volume set sold at close to its top estimate at €56,400 ($84,500).

The sale is a good example of the strength of high end works in the rare books market. "Consistency and quality are values that are in demand now more than ever." commented auctioneer Robert Ketterer.

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