At Auction: Recently Revealed Books Rescued from 1969 Flood Date Back to 16th Century

National Book Auctions has been engaged to sell a trove of important theological and historical texts dating back to the sixteenth century that were rescued from a flooding church in Akron, Ohio in 1969. The volumes were saved from the deluge by the church's minister and have gone unseen by the public for the past past five decades.

Dan Cole, Operations Director for National Book Auctions, arrived in Akron in the company van not knowing what to expect. "All we knew beforehand was that the minister had carried off as much as he could as the church was filling up with water. When I got inside the house, there were close to a hundred boxes along rows and rows of shelves, all basically untouched since the day of the flood. It still wasn't clear what condition the contents were in-whether the water had already gotten to them."

Explains Founder and CEO David Hall, "It wasn't until we got the books back to the auction gallery that the real archaeological work began. We were pleased to discover that the collection was on the whole very well-preserved and contained some very scarce and early titles. It is a real honor to bring this kind of material out of the dark and into the light again after so long. Discoveries like this are what make our jobs so rewarding."

The first session of the consignment, offered at the auction house's Freeville, New York saleroom and simulcast via Invaluable on January 7, 2017 realized over $27,000. The top lot was George Leo Haydock's "The Holy Bible Translated From the Latin Vulgate", published in two illustrated volumes in 1812 and 1815, which fetched $2,250. 

Other titles of note included William Cave's "Antiquitates Apostolicae", published as a full-leather folio in 1676; the complete 24-volume "Encyclopedia Londonensis" dating from the early 19th century and lavishly illustrated with over 1,000 engraved plates; and a scarce first edition of "Le Vite Degli Imperatori Romani"-Antonio Ciccarelli's 1590 biographical history of the Roman Emperors. 

Further religious and secular material from this fascinating collection will be offered on January 22, 2017. They include Hachette's "La Devotion a la Divine Providence"; James Fennimore Cooper's "The Two Admirals"; and Digby's "The Broad Stone of Honour".

National Book Auctions is a specialist auction house focusing almost exclusively on rare and collectible books and ephemera since the 1990s. Its sister company, Worth Auctions, handles a broad variety of personal property including fine art, furnishings, jewelry, coins, and more. For more information, contact mail@nationalbookauctions.com or mail@worthauctions.com.

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