November 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Sixteenth-Century Prayer Book Surprises at Auction

M30105-1k copy.jpgThe top lot--and big surprise--at Swann Galleries' auction of prints and drawings last week was this late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century manuscript prayer book with hand-colored engravings, after or attributed to Albrecht Dürer and Heinrich Aldegrever. The auction estimate of $3,000-5,000 was blown out of the water by a dealer who finally won it for $100,000 (including premium). The book contains twenty engravings pasted onto vellum pages, each vibrantly decorated in watercolor and gouache--but the buyer must have seen something beyond its beauty...?

Image Courtesy of Swann Galleries.