Auctions | July 9, 2015

Illuminated Manuscript Over Six Centuries Old Sells for £186,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions

Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

Wednesday 8th July 2015

Ely House, 37 Dover Street, London

Sale Total £706,837

77 Lots sold

100 Lots offered

77% Sold by lot

Dr Timothy Bolton commented after the sale: “We’re delighted with today’s result and our growing department is eager to build on these foundations. Bidding from both the room and the internet was notably energetic, and proved the market in fragments and leaves to be as strong as that for illuminated and decorated books.”

Auction Highlights

The cover lot, an opulent and glittering prayerbook from fourteenth-century Metz, sold for £186,000 to a European private collector [pre-sale estimate £40,000-60,000 Lot 95]

A pocket gradual of the thirteenth-century, still in its original binding after seven centuries, sold for £32,240 [pre-sale estimate £12,000-18,000 Lot 85]

A sermon collection made in northern France c. 1400, and illuminated by artists who also worked for the grand bibliophiles King Charles V, the Duc de Berry and other members of the French royal family, and still in a late medieval binding, exceeded its high estimate and sold for £26,040 [pre-sale estimate £15,000-20,000 Lot 88]

A bifolium from a fifteenth-century manuscript in the breathtakingly rare Glagolitic Croatian script, reused on the binding of a seventeenth-century printed book, was bought by a private collector for £28,520 [pre-sale estimate £8,000-12,000 Lot 35]

Other notable fragments and leaves included a first century BC. or AD. papyrus diploma in Latin, the rarest language of the papyri, which sold for £9,920 [pre-sale estimate £8,000-12,000 Lot 7], a small scrap of a sixth-century Italian codex, which was the earliest witness to Augustine's commentaries on the Gospel of John, which made £19,840 [pre-sale estimate £20,000-30,000 Lot 8], a leaf from an early ninth-century copy of parts of the Old Testament which made £18,600 [pre-sale estimate £15,000-20,000 Lot 10], and an exceptionally rare eleventh-century relic list from Merseburg, which made £9,920 [pre-sale estimate £8,000-12,000 Lot 14].