Hartmann Schedel's 'most richly illustrated' World Chronicle travels to $367,700

Ketter Kunst's rare and collectible books auction concluded earlier this week, showing more successes for the fascinating range of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographs and Maps they always offer.

A full 1,800 lots of everything from Bibles and incunabula to cookery books went under the hammer, but there was no doubting the most remarkable lot on offer:  Hartmann Schedel's World Chronicle is generally regarded as the most richly illustrated piece of incunabula in existence.

Schedel is a legend for collectors of early printed books, being one of the first cartographers to use the printing press - and his works represent a strong investment if you can look after them properly.

Hartmann Schedel World Chronicle
Macabre illustration from Hartmann Schedel's World Chronicle
(Click to enlarge)

These fascinating artistic woodcuts were primarily made by the German painter and engraver Pleydenwurff and his father M Wohlgemuth, who learned his trade working in the same workshop as the great Albrecht Dürer.

The lasting fame of the world history is based mainly on its opulent artistic style, with words and images complementing each other and making a thoughtful, balanced unit.

It includes the oldest printed map of Germany at the end: Hieronymus Muenzer's famous work along with a rich kaleidoscope of descriptions both of the material world (cities etcetera) and the uncanny, with some macabre illustrations.

Initially expected to sell for up to €50,000 ($71,000) the work provoked a frenzy of bidding in Hamburg and online, which the work finally selling for €268,400 ($367,708), underlining the ongoing strength of the rare books market for early as well as modern books.


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