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  • Timbuktu family library Qur'an to make $60,000 at Swann
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • familylibraryQur'anTimbuktu

Timbuktu family library Qur'an to make $60,000 at Swann

An almost complete copy of the Qur'an from the Yattara Family Library of Timbuktu is to lead a sale of African-American manuscripts at Swann Auction Galleries in New York.

The sale is set to take place on March 23-25, with the book valued at $40,000-60,000.

Yattara Quran swann
The Yattara Qur'an dates to the 17th or 18th century

This copy of the Qur'an was copied from Arabic sometime around the 17th or 18th century and is written in West African script.

Timbuktu is famous for its libraries. The remote outpost on the edge of the Sahara became one of the greatest seats of learning in Africa during the 16th century.  

Swann comments: "The widely held theory that sub-Saharan Africans had no written language, and therefore no recorded history was a perfect rationale for slavery.

"For a couple of centuries, theologians and apologists for the slave-trade exploited this argument."

A rare tintype photograph of a Klu Klux Klansman in black robes taken during the 1860s is valued at $30,000-40,000.

Commonly the Klan are shown in white robes, however this uniform was only universally adopted after it reformed in the 1920s.

Prior to that, there were a number of design variations between local branches - with the intention being to terrify onlookers. This is shown in the present example, with its skull and crossbones motif.

Swann describes it as "one of the earliest, if not the earliest such image known". 

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • familylibraryQur'anTimbuktu