Legenda Aurea to be Auctioned at Ketterer Kunst Rare Books Sale

. October 22, 2011 . 0 Comments

The only known copy of an early German edition of the ”Legenda aurea“ will be auctioned at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg on 21/22 November, 2011. A copy in this completeness of the richly illustrated edition of the two volume work can neither be found in commerce nor in the relevant bibliographies.

The then extremely popular book by Jacobus de Voragine provides information mainly on the lives of saints. The Dominican monk and later archbishop of Genoa originally wrote the work in 182 tractates, which he organized according to the church year. The purpose of the book was to provide reflection on occasion of important church holidays as well as uplifting reading matter. With an estimate of EUR 25.000, the unique book heads the incunabula section.

Estimated at EUR 24.000, the Biblia germanica inferior is just slightly below this top mark. The famous Lubeck bible by Steffen Arndes counts among the most renowned German 15th century woodcut works.

Besides Maria Sibylla Merian’s magnificently illustrated book about ”Surinamsche Insekten“ (Surinamese Insects) from 1730 (estimate: EUR 40.000), another top lot in the auction is George Catlin’s ”North American Indian Portfolio“. The rare first issue of the first edition is considered to be the one in finest coloring, as it was executed under Catlin’s supervision. The description of original Indian life, which will be called up with an estimate of EUR 50.000, is a unique contemporary document of highest rarity.

Other lots that will make for great excitement in the auction room will be the famous gallery work by Giovanni Volpato with illustrations of Raphael’s wall decorations in the loggias of the Vatican, as well as a richly illuminated and complete Book of Hours made in Paris around 1460. Both books will be offered with estimates of EUR 20.000 each.

Whereas the section of old prints holds an early and extremely rare illustrated edition of Martin Luther’s ”Deudsch Catechismus“ (estimate: EUR 12.000) in store, the section of natural science is led by an increased Latin edition of the ”Cosmographia“ by Philipp Apian. This edition of his main work contains the text ”De astrolabo catholico liber“ by Gemma Frisius which had not been published before. It will also enter the race with an estimate of EUR 12.000.

In context of the first auction in the new facility of Ketterer Kunst on Holstenwall 5, two large collections of around 1000 children books will be called up in 400 lots (see separate press release) as well as a small collection of around 25 expressionist magazines (among them: ”Aktion“, ”Kräfte“, “Rote Erde“, “Der Sturm“) which were published between 1910 and 1930.

Definitely worthwhile mentioning is a collection of more than 100 books by Prague authors. Among them is the work ”Ein Hungerkünstler“ (A Hunger Artist) by Franz Kafka from 1924. It will be called up with an estimate of EUR 1.800.

Preview in Hamburg, Holstenwall 5
09 – 11 November, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
14 – 18 November, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
20 November, by appointment

Auction in Hamburg, Holstenwall 5
21 November as of 10 a.m. – Maritime and North German Art
21 / 22 November as of 11 a.m. – Rare Books – Main Auction
21 November as of 5 p.m. – Rare Books – Evening Auction
22 November as of 10 a.m. – Special Auction Children Books

Since it was founded in 1954, Ketterer Kunst has been firmly established in the front ranks of auction houses dealing in art and rare books, with its headquarters in Munich and a branch in Hamburg. Gallery rooms in Berlin as well as representatives in Heidelberg and Krefeld have contributed substantially to the company’s success. Ketterer Kunst has further rounded off its portfolio with the prestigious Ernest Rathenau Verlag, New York/Munich. In addition, exhibitions, special theme and charity auctions as well as online auctions are regular events at Ketterer Kunst.

Image: Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda aurea sanctorum, German, 2 vols., Winter- und Sommerteil, Augsburg, J. Bämler 1477, estimate EUR 25.0

Category: Antiques

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