News | June 2, 2021

Aristotle Success at Ketterer Kunst

Courtesy of Ketterer Kunst

Aristotle, “Logica vetus” manuscript, Paris ca. 1250. Sold for €90,000 ($105,300)

Munich, Germany — With total proceeds of more than 1.4 million*, the Rare Books Auction at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg on May 31, 2021 yielded a very good result. The sales quota in the Evening Sale alone was at 85% and many of the objects on offer changed owners with excellent price increases. The evening‘s undisputed star was a 13th century vellum manuscript with texts on logic by Aristotle.

With the "Logica vetus" Aristotle did not only lay the foundations for higher education in all of medieval Europe, but also had an impact on methods and discussions in almost every other scientific discipline. In light of this it is little surprising that this extremely rare compilation of medieval texts was hotly contested by a number of proxy bids and online bidders, as well as by nearly half a dozen phone bidders from Denmark, Germany, England, France and the U. S. Their bidding zeal lifted the remarkable manuscript to a likewise remarkable result of €90,000* granted by a bidder from London.

"The result reflects the fact that manuscripts of this superb quality are extremely hard to find on the international auction market", says Christoph Calaminus, auctioneer and head of the department of Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg. Overall, he is very pleased with the auction: "It was a good auction with active national and international participation. The unusually strong online activities deliver proof of this as well as more than 30 five-digit results."

Three more French vellum manuscripts were further highlights: While the Barbeaux-Gradual was sold to a French phone bidder for a result of €62,500*, an online bidder won the Gospel of Mark for €40,000* against mainly phone competition from France and the USA, an illuminated Book of Hours from around 1450-70 found a new home in the U.S.A. for a result of €36,250* thus outperforming a number of proxy bids.

Almost a 23-fold, and thus the sharpest increase of all was realized by a one-of-a-kind collection of paper-cut-outs from the ownership of the poet Friedrich von Matthisson. Two albums with 74 large-size works by the renowned paper-cut artist Luise Dutenhofer were called up with an estimate of €1,200. The filigree and well-thought-out compositions combine real situations with allegorical and mythological accessories and had already won the hearts of many prior to the auction. Accordingly, the run was tremendous when bidders from Germany, Italy and Great Britain fought over the work. At the end of a thrilling bidding race a Bavarian collector carried the trophy home for a result of €27,500*.

A lot of attention also went to three volumes of Paul Westheim's acclaimed expressionistic edition "Die Schaffenden" with graphic works by, among others, Karl Hofer, Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmüller, Erich Heckel, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin, Ewald Mataré, Ernst Wilhelm Nay and Oskar Schlemmer. In this case an extremely persistent online bidder stood his grounds against a dozen proxy bids and seven tenacious competitors on the phones with a result of €33,750*.

Top 5
€90,000* Calling price: €44,000
No. 002: Aristotle Logica vetus, vellum manuscript, Paris around 1250

€62,500*  Calling price: €50,000
No. 008: Barbeaux-Graduale - Northern France around 1280-1290

€40,000*  Calling price: €22,000
No. 004: Gospel of Mark - with Glossa ordinaria. Italy around 1180

€36,250* Calling price: €26,000
No. 009: Book of Hours - France ca. 1450-1470

€33,750* Calling price: €17,000
No. 011: Jacobus de Theramo - Consolatio peccatorum: das Buch Belial gen., Straßbourg

€33,750* Calling price: €4,000
No. 065: Paul Westheim - "Die Schaffenden", Berlin 1929-1932

Unsold lots will be available in the post-auction sale until June 28.
* The result is the hammer price + 25 percent